Treasury self-congratulations on ‘diversity’ indicative of its lost focus on objective excellence
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Treasury needs to stop prioritising political considerations over providing objective technical advice if it is to remain a respected leader in Wellington’s civil service says the Taxpayers’ Union. Responding to Treasury’s self-congratulatory media release on the agency winning an IPANZ award for its diversity programmes, Jordan Williams, the Union’s Executive Director said:
“Over successive years Treasury has had a focus on diversity, including an effort to be more ‘reflective’ of New Zealanders’ politics and values. This demonstrates a worrying change in the role as an objective advisor which hires the best and brightest boffins, not P.C quotas.”
“We often hear concern expressed in Wellington that Treasury advice is no longer purely technical and objective. It is letting politics get in the way of free and frank advice. Political value judgements should be left to Cabinet, and not be the priority of anyone sitting at number 1, The Terrace."
“The advice tendered to Cabinet following the Kaikoura earthquakes shows how the Treasury is now dropping the ball. Despite advising the Government for a decade that South Island Rail is an economic drag and should be closed, Treasury didn’t even put this up as an option in their paper to Ministers. Apparently not rebuilding the line wasn’t mentioned in advice because the Secretary deemed it not politically acceptable. Previous Secretaries would certainly not have thought that their job.”