Thursday, 10 July 2008

twisting the facts

i went to the funeral of dianne yates' father today. it was simple and very nice. he was a fellow who had lived to 96 years old, and was obviously missed very much. it must be really painful to lose a parent, no matter how old they are. given that he died on saturday night, it was especially poor taste for the press reports this week about the offices she now holds.

some of the remarks are particularly spiteful, giving no recognition of an MPs long service in parliament and work on select committees that would have given her a high level of expertise. she knew enough about science to secure funding for the waikato innovation park, a project which has secured another $4 million of funding (in a partnership between central government and the hamilton city council) with the help of list MP sue moroney.

i find it hard to understand why all the nastiness around dianne's positions. no-one has been nasty about positions given to former PM the rt hon jim bolger. plenty of other ex MPs must sit on government appointed boards - i'm not going to go looking for them right now. and it's not surprising. our MPs pick up skills on the job, particularly when they have been responsible for ministerial portfolios or for chairing select committees. providing advocacy for issues also helps develop expertise, and dianne certainly did a lot of work around human reproductive technology and fetal alcohol syndrome.

i have to say that i'm also less than impressed by the latest ANZ cheif economist's report on "back-room" versus "front line" spending. as i've said many times before, these economists are not independent commentators, and given they work for organisations with foreign ownership, you really have to wonder whether they have our interests at heart. they are employed to serve the bank's interests, which means increasing the bank's profits.

i see that the bank workers union, finsec, are also less than impressed:

"It is no surprise ANZ National are attacking back office jobs in the public service given they are sending a good chunk of their own back office work to Bangalore. This is another attack from our wealthiest bank on the job security of New Zealand workers," said Finsec Campaigns Director Andrew Campbell.

and it seems that the analysis is not even accurate:

"However, in Mr Bagrie's analysis, defence spending, police, corrections and courts spending is "back-office" as are school property costs, special education front line services, Work and Income front line services, Child Youth and Family front line services, and IRD call centre staff. This type of spending alone accounts for more than $6 billion or over 60 per cent of all the departmental output spending which Mr Bagrie says is back-office...

"Mr Bagrie’s analysis ignores some pretty basic facts. He talks of the growth in departmental spending and yet totally ignores the effects of the shifts of the Health Funding Authority into the Ministry of Health and the Special Education Service into the Ministry of Education.

it would be nice to see some critical media analysis of this report, but i'm not holding my breath.

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