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The National Business Review – October 15

MMP Research Project Probe - Kpmg To List Consultancy Arm - Cullen Names Heads To Roll - Opinion Poll: World Leaders - Editorial

A senior public servant is investigating why academics are being publicly funded for “independent” political research when they are leading a high-profile campaign to retain 120 MPs in Parliament. James Buwalda, chief executive of the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology, asked officials this week whether a Victoria University team breached its $1.1 million contract with the Public Good Science Fund to study the political impact of MMP. It follows the launch of a campaign last month by university academics opposing the citizens-initiated referendum aimed at cutting the number of MPs from 120 to 99.

KPMG International’s consulting arm has set next June for an initial public offering and the New Zealand practice is looking at selling its consultancy business to the floated company. KPMG says the other global Big Four accountancy firms will follow suit within the next 12 months in bids to match the strength of the merged PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Labour deputy leader, Michael Cullen, speaking at business function,
identified four leading public service chief executives he wants to see sacked. They are the head of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Mark Prebble, State Services commissioner Michael Wintringham, education secretary Howard Fancy and Commerce Ministry chief executive Paul Carpinter.

US President Bill Clinton has toppled Tony Blair from the top spot in a world leader popularity poll held following the US President’s successful Apec visit. The latest National Business Review-Compaq poll of world leaders’ favourability ratings found Clinton was rated favourably by 81% of people, up from 62% at the last poll in September 1998, held in the midst of the Monica Lewinsky revelations. When the same questions were asked about Prime Minister Jenny Shipley in July she scored only 39% favourability.

EDITORIAL: The parliamentary report on Inland Revenue is a small but important step toward making the monster we all love to hate accountable. Nobody likes paying taxes and if they were voluntary few would bother but, given the law says we must pay tax, the system should be as fair and transparent as possible. Quite clearly it has not been. The department has long been imbued with an antibusiness attitude, the product of poor training and a public service culture that equates enterprise with dishonesty.

For further information: Nevil Gibson, Editor-in-Chief Ph 0-9-307 1629 or email

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