Herald says Matthews must go

February 21st, 2009 at 10:33 am by David Farrar

The Herald editorial is to the point:

From the moment on Tuesday that the Auditor General delivered a report on the administration of parole, it has been obvious that the head of the Department must resign. Obvious, it seems, to everyone but him. ’ stated determination to stay at his post is untenable.

It does him no credit to insist he is staying to put things right. If he was capable of doing that he surely would have done so after the murder committed by a parolee, Graeme Burton, two years ago. That was not the first time the monitoring of parole has let the country down; it was just the last straw.

It is obvious he has had his chances and failed. But our employment law doesn’t allow you to sack a CEO just because they have failed at their job. The SSC will have to be careful.

If a departmental head does not know how to do the decent thing in these circumstances, public service standards are at a low ebb. The State Services Commission should not take any more of the 10 days given it to find who is responsible. It knows where the buck stops. So does Mr Matthews. He must go.

A very strong editorial that Matthews should reflect on.

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48 Responses to “Herald says Matthews must go”

  1. reid (16,111 comments) says:

    Yep, from his words last night on the TV news, he’s obviously never heard of Lean Six Sigma.

    Using that well-established process improvement framework, which involves tools like Poke Yoke (mistake-proofing), Load levelling etc etc etc etc; you can deal to all the issues he referred to.

    Newsflash Barry, resource issues are no excuse. Look at how one of the Health Boards (forget which one) improved their wait times etc using Lean, without changing their resourcing levels.

    A CEO that’s not aware of this framework, is frankly not worthy of the title.

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  2. poneke (280 comments) says:

    The poor old Herald, it is apoplectic that Barry Matthews has given the fingers to its predictions and demands that he quit.

    The Herald does not appoint our public service chiefs, thank god.

    As I have noted, Barry Matthews is one of the most decent and unassuming senior public servants I have met . He has among the toughest of all jobs because he has to run the department that incarcerates society’s criminals and which must eventually free most of them back into society despite the punitive rantings of the news media, talkback radio, the Blogosphere wingnuts and the Insensible Sentencing Trust. We are second only to the USA in our imprisonment rates as a result of this cacophony. Nothing Barry Matthews or his department does is ever painted in anything but the worst possible light.

    http://poneke.wordpress.com/2009/02/20/correct/

    [DPF: That may all be true but the Auditor-General's report is damning. He is running a Department that doesn't even follow its own policies and procedures - and not just occasionally - but most of the time. And not minor stuff, but the five most important procedures for keeping people safe. If a CEO can't be fired for that level of dysfunction, then there is no accountability at all]

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  3. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    Its simple really. – sit Barry down and tell him the real problem lays with him and the way he looked. Tell him he had become a sexual object then tell him everyones uncomfortable when he moved because of his breasts.

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  4. tvb (4,263 comments) says:

    He held a whole series of Press conferences to say he was hanging on. In reality what he was saying is I am going to make it expensive for you if I am forced out. The man has a whole series of public policy failures both in the Police and the Department of Corrections. His management of the parole system is so feeble that the parole board cannot realistically grant parole to anyone. Maybe that is what Matthews wants, who knows He made a comment that Judith Collins accepted his decision to say on, I doubt this is the case. She probably noted his decision without expressing a view either way. A situation has developed whereby Matthews is preventing the proper functioning of his Department and the constitutional relationship with the Government he serves has broken down. I think Judith is giving him enough rope to hang himself, and Friday’s series of media events has probably done that.

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  5. poneke (280 comments) says:

    the Auditor-General’s report is damning. He is running a Department that doesn’t even follow its own policies and procedures – and not just occasionally – but most of the time. And not minor stuff, but the five most important procedures for keeping people safe. If a CEO can’t be fired for that level of dysfunction, then there is no accountability at all

    I had personally thought he would resign, as that was the easy road to take. Staying on is the hard road. The department was utterly dysfunctional when he took it over in 2005 after six distinguished years as the police commissioner who cleaned up the corrupt Western Australia police. Matthews is no wimpish time-serving public servant, he is a man of iron with multiple degrees including an MBA and an LLB.

    He said yesterday when announcing his intention to stay on that parole issues had been significantly improved over the many months from those canvassed by the AG.

    He made a comment that Judith Collins accepted his decision to say on, I doubt this is the case.

    I actually saw her say this, and that she would work with him, on 3 News at 6pm last night.

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  6. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    Its going to be extremely hard for him to ever claim constructive dismissal by the minister as suggested by Clayton Cosgrove – given everything he’s said of his relationship with Collins

    “who cleaned up the corrupt Western Australia police.” pfft

    “In the last year of his previous job, commissioner of the Western Australia police, he was privately asked to resign by the state’s police minister.”
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10557868&pnum=0

    “he is a man of iron with multiple degrees including an MBA and an LLB.”

    He proves you can have all the qualifications under the sun – and still be useless

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  7. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,834 comments) says:

    Poneke, MBAs are two a penny and there are dozens of dils with LLBs running around the place. If he is so bloody good, why has his department not carried out the changes promised by him AFTER Graham Burton went on his killing spree?

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  8. maurieo (95 comments) says:

    A theme I have encountered within the public sector (we used to call them civil servants but they aren’t as civil as they used to be and I guess its not PC to label someone as a servant) is that they make the best of what they are given for the greater good. Rather than point out the inadequacy of the resources at their disposal or the poor standard of the material they are working with they carry on regardless and without comment, in doing this they become accountable and to quote Jane Goody become potential “escape goats”. The take on board the collective accountability of those above them.

    In this instance it would appear that one of the issues here is that Mr Matthews has to deal with is insufficient resources to meet the requirements. He has carried on without making sufficient noise about the resource problems that are largely beyond his controll. I suspect that this has been very good for those above him who have been able to present a front to the public that all is well. It would appear that the recent change in leadership has resulted in a change in attitude and clearly a change in perception as to the adequacy of Mr Matthews performance. I would suggest that Mr Matthews has not complained enough in a public way about the lack of resources he has to work with but then if he complained too much he would possibly get censured from an opposing direction. He has tried to keep a lid on things rather thean bring them to a head. I guess when you walk a tight rope it only takes a small change in the wind to topple you from your perch. Those who choose to walk the tight rope know that only to well.

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  9. Inventory2 (10,185 comments) says:

    Adolf Fiinkensein said “If he is so bloody good, why has his department not carried out the changes promised by him AFTER Graham Burton went on his killing spree?”

    Agree wholeheartedly Adolf. I went looking in Hansard for a praticular quote with regard to Matthews. but instead found this:

    http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/Debates/Debates/7/8/3/48HansD_20080722_00000840-Urgent-Debates-Ministerial-Inquiry-Death.htm

    It is the transcript of an urgent debate on 22 July 2008 following the release of the report into the death of Debbie Ashton. Ms Ashton was killed in a car crash when her car was hit by a car driven by Jonathan Barclay, career criminal. Nick Smith provides the details:

    “Let me recount the core facts of this tragic case. In December 2005 Jonathan Barclay was sentenced to 2½ years’ imprisonment for 24 drug, fraud, burglary, careless driving—he was disqualified from driving—escaping custody, and driving while disqualified offences. This man had an extensive criminal background going back more than 8 years. On 18 July 2006, just 7 months into his 2½ year sentence, he was released on parole with a new identity under the police witness protection programme. The law requires parolees to be seen by Department of Corrections staff within 3 days of release; that did not happen for over 3 months. Just 1 week after Mr Barclay was placed in Nelson he stole a motor vehicle, drove recklessly, and refused to stop for police.”

    But it is Simon Power who provides particularly salient information in these paragraphs:

    “In question time today, coincidentally, there was a series of questions from me to the Minister of Justice, who was standing in for the Minister of Corrections, on a repeat incident by the very individual who was responsible for young Liam Ashley’s death in 2006 having yet another attack on a prison guard in the back of a prison van. During question time I asked the Minister what we have learnt, when we were told these things were not going to go wrong again. We have spent $217,000 of taxpayers’ money to buy scores of waist restraints, and an incident has occurred that can only be described as eerily similar to the one that took Mr Ashley’s life some months prior to this incident.

    Then, when we look at the complicated series of mishaps that allowed Graeme Burton to be free and to take the life of Mr Kuchenbecker, we see more apologies, more hand-wringing, more concern being expressed, and rightly so. But here we are again, having the same conversation and the same debate about issues that have occurred yet again. A series of systemic blunders by departments and ministries in the justice sector have claimed the life of another young New Zealander. It has got to stop. Time and time again we see the police, the Department of Corrections, the Parole Board, and other such agencies rolling out apologies. I do not doubt they are heartfelt, I do not doubt they are genuine, but the fact that we keep hearing them tells us that these problems are not changing. We can alter the protocols, we can change the paperwork, we can change the way practices are carried out, but if the culture that exists in the justice sector is one of initial refusal to take responsibility where wrongs have occurred, these tragic incidents will not be removed from the political landscape.

    In many respects one almost has to feel sorry for the Department of Corrections official, Ms Casey. She has become the official apologiser for the Department of Corrections. She is wheeled out every time a blunder occurs, to attempt to explain where the department has got it wrong yet again. And likewise, how many times have we seen the faces of senior police officers on television in recent times undergoing a similar series of apologies?

    The thing I cannot understand about this particular incident is why, when in December 2007 the Minister received the report into this matter, it took so long for it to be released. It is said that sunlight is the best disinfectant when these types of issues arise, but I ask the Minister, the Hon David Parker, when he addresses the House following my contribution, to answer that basic question that no doubt the Ashton family would like to know the answer to, but on which I believe that Parliament, too, is owed an explanation, as to what the delay was between receiving the report in or about December 2007 and its final release to the public and to the family only this month.

    I acknowledge, as my colleague Nick Smith did, the approach taken by the Hon Annette King. In many respects it is typical of her—to get on with it, to grab the bull by the horns and try to get some answers. I also think that taking a trip to Nelson was a great sign of a certain level of humanity, and I acknowledge that contribution. The problem is that these issues, the culture, the way these departments and ministries continue to conduct their business, do not change, from incident to incident. Now is the time to change the culture of these organisations, once and for all. If we are standing here in another 6 months’ time, having the same conversations that we had over Liam Ashley’s death, the same conversations we had, more or less, over Mr Kuchenbecker’s death, outlining again in detail the failures, the mishaps, and the blunders of departments that have been contained in yet another investigation and report, then we will have failed.”

    This is a THIRD death, arguably directly attributable to the Corrections Department. And yet nothing changes, as evidenced by the A-G’s report released this week. Matthews kept his job last year on the basis that he would implement change. There is clear evidence that he hasn’t.

    Keeping Stock has devoted several posts to the Matthews/Corrections issue in recent days. Although we sense the danger of becoming labelled “single-issue nutters”, we believe that Matthews’ continued employment threatens the integrity of the Corrections Dept and the wider public service. The State Services Commission needs to act, and soon.

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  10. greenfly (1,059 comments) says:

    Poneke said:

    “He made a comment that Judith Collins accepted his decision to say on, I doubt this is the case.”

    I actually saw her say this, and that she would work with him, on 3 News at 6pm last night

    but, but, what about the “crushing”? We were promised a crushing by Crusher!! Why is she saying she’ll ‘work with him’ – that’s not crushing! Work with him!! Pinko.

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  11. Fox (202 comments) says:

    Who actually drafted current employment law in such a form, that it prevents malperforming CEO’s from being sacked? Isn’t it the National Party?….

    I think nearly all NZ workers who hold a job in the ‘real world’ ( = non-governmental sector) are subject to various consequences for poor job performance, including in the worst of cases; dismissal.

    I don’t see why it should be any different for the public sector, especially CEO’s who, given the outrageously exorberant salaries they receive, can surely afford to be held accountable for their work performance in some form or another, yes – including dismissal.

    So apart from this being a time for Matthews to reflect, perhaps the National Party would be well advised do some serious reflecting as well.
    And hopefully in the course of doing so, they will ask themselves some very pertinent questions;

    1. Why are highly paid government CEO’s enjoying an elevated status above ordinary working kiwis in current employment law?
    2. How is it that a CEO, who clearly isn’t performing his job functions adequately, can hold NZ taxpayers to ransom by threatening a lawsuit if justifiably dismissed?
    3. Isn’t it concerning that a Minister has such little control over such key area of his/her department; namely ensuring that the CEO and senior management are competent enough, and of a sufficiently high standard in order to carry out and implement the policies and procedures set out by Government?
    4. What kind of light does this shed on the state services commisioner, given that he was willing to express confidence in Matthews, and support his continued employment, despite having knowledge of the damning Auditor-General’s report?
    Also how does this saga reflect on the role of the state services commisioner in general, when dealing with governmental employment matters?

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  12. Chris2 (768 comments) says:

    I recall that about 10-12 years ago Matthews (as Deputy Police Commissioner) and four other cops involved in investigating Asian crime were invited to an Auckland Chinese Business function. There were about 200 Chinese businessmen present but the cops were the only white guests. Upon entering the function room everyone was given a ticket for an after-lunch prize draw.

    There were about six prizes and surprise surprise out of more 200 people present, three of the cops won prizes! Interestingly Matthews “won” the top prize, I think I recall it was a return trip to Hong Kong. It was obvious the draw was rigged and every Chinaman in the room knew it was and that it signalled that the cops could be “bought”. Now Matthews should have got up and re-donated his prize to some charity, but I understand he kept it.

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  13. peterwn (3,216 comments) says:

    Fox

    1. He is generally the same as any other worker. Govt. CEO’s are on term contracts which the employer is not obliged to ‘roll over.’ In this respect they are a bit worse off than most workers who are generally on indefinite contracts where dismissal can be for redundancy or ’cause’ only.

    2. If he ‘clearly’ is not performing his job functions adequately, he can be sacked. However he would be entitled to argue that he is performing satisfactorarily since his employer the SSC renewed his contract for a further term (which it was not obliged to do), presumably he has received satisfactory appraisals and presumably he is not under any employer (ie SSC) ‘warnings.’ Remember that Judith Collins is not his employer and in my opinion it would seem in any case that her knowledge of employment law and human resources skills are rather limited. If not then she is playing to the peanut gallery.

    3. Re Ministerial control. NZ does not have a politicised public service.

    4. It would all depend if an employment court would uphold a dismissal on the strength of the Auditor General’s report expecially when viewed in light of his recent employment history especiall continuing signals from the employer that his performance was satisfactory. The Commissioner has to operate within the realms of employment law.

    It all boils down to this – if the Government wants to sack any worker it must be prepared to show ’cause’ that will wash with an employment court. f an employee is performing staisfactorily on the usual criteria, but the employer has aspirational or attitudinal concerns, it must either be prepared to pay off the employee or risk being screwed over in the employment court.

    It is within the Government’s powers to enter into employment contracts with CEO’s that enable sacking on a whim, but candidates for the positions may either not bother applying, oe extract significantly higher salaries as an ‘insurance’ against dismissal without ’cause’. The current term contract system seems to be a reasonable trade-off between the protections ordinary worker and a sack on a whim regime.

    The question for Judith Collins is whether the benefit of being shot of Mr Matthews is worth the cost of buying out the balance of his contract. Mr Matthews is entitled to rely on his employment contract and if he considers he can get a better outcome by digging his heels in, this is his contractural right.

    Even with rank and file employees – think about this – if an employee gives notice, but retains the employer’s trust and confidence, the employee is often obliged to work out the notice, even if the employee is happy for pay to stop when he or she ceases work (eg the employee can start the new job immediately). If however the employee immediately loses the trust and confidence upon tendering a resignation (as frequently happens for sales or marketing positions) the employee is immediately sent packing and is paid up for the usual ‘notice’ period. The latter employee may thus collect two salaries for a few months. Grossly unfair is it not?

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  14. Inventory2 (10,185 comments) says:

    greenfly – you claim to be concerned about values, integrity etc, and then you post crap like:

    “but, but, what about the “crushing”? We were promised a crushing by Crusher!! Why is she saying she’ll ‘work with him’ – that’s not crushing! Work with him!! Pinko.”

    I realise you come here on a fishing expedition, hoping to snare a rightie or two, and I’ve risen to your bait today. You are trivialising a serious situation to make a petty, political point. As my post above demonstrates, Corrections is directly responsible for the deaths of three innocent New Zealanders – Liam Ashley, Karl Kuchenbecker and Debbie Ashton. Barry Matthews has repeatedly asserted that Corrections will make changes, yet the A-G’s report clearly shows that the changes aren’t being applied. And you know that Judith Collins can no more sack Matthews than I can ban you from Kiwiblog – both of which, of course, are highly desirable!

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  15. reid (16,111 comments) says:

    So Matthews is a former Deputy Police Commissioner? Well, that explains a lot, such as, what qualifications does he have to efficiently run a major enterprise?

    I wish the SSC would step away from the practice of appointing people to civil service jobs like a CEO position, when all they have to offer is a background in the industry sector. Sometimes CEOs don’t require such background, other times they do.

    I’d argue for example that in Defence and Foreign Affairs, you do. In jobs like MSD, Justice and Prisons, you don’t. A bit more lateral thinking when such appointments are being considered by the SSC, would not go amiss.

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  16. Brian Smaller (4,029 comments) says:

    But our employment law doesn’t allow you to sack a CEO just because they have failed at their job.

    Hard to see what could be a better reason to sack a CEO,or in fact any employee, thatn failing at their job.

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  17. PhilBest (5,120 comments) says:

    The failure is in inadequately linking the job to performance, in the original contract. How bad a job would a CEO of this department have to do before his removal would be a certainty?

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  18. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    maybe it’s not so much ‘crusher’ collins..

    ..as ‘folder’ collins..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  19. dad4justice (7,989 comments) says:

    Who really thought Judith could succeed against the old boys network? He has the dream job with the exorbitant salary and no accountability. Thankfully I don’t have “blood on my hands” Mr Matthews.

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  20. oob (194 comments) says:

    despite the punitive rantings of the news media, talkback radio, the Blogosphere wingnuts and the Insensible Sentencing Trust. We are second only to the USA in our imprisonment rates as a result of this cacophony.

    We have a high imprisonment rate because a significant proportion of the Polynesian and Maori communities simply will not be civilised, exacerbated by the P.C. mafia prohibiting discussion of the facts.

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  21. poneke (280 comments) says:

    So Matthews is a former Deputy Police Commissioner? Well, that explains a lot, such as, what qualifications does he have to efficiently run a major enterprise?

    Oh, just a few things like an MBA, an LLB and a diploma in criminology. Plus he was a police commissioner. Sounds fairly qualified to me. What do you propose as the qualifications for the head of corrections? His useless predecessor was a spin doctor from Treasury.

    Corrections is directly responsible for the deaths of three innocent New Zealanders – Liam Ashley

    Gosh, and for years I have laboured under the misapprehension that Liam’s parents were directly responsible, by demanding the judge send him to jail for taking their car without their permission.

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  22. reid (16,111 comments) says:

    Oh, just a few things like an MBA, an LLB and a diploma in criminology. Plus he was a police commissioner. Sounds fairly qualified to me. What do you propose as the qualifications for the head of corrections? His useless predecessor was a spin doctor from Treasury.

    Last time I looked an MBA doesn’t qualify you for squat, unless you want to join McKinsay or BCG as a “strategic advisor.” It’s what you do with the MBA lessons that makes you qualified. An LLB qualifies you as a lawyer, not an executive. Running the Police as a Commissioner or in any other capacity does not qualify you for running a civilian organisation. Both the Police and the military have very different command structures than civilian operations and their priorities are different.

    So for all these reasons Poneke, he still has no qualifications. As to what someone should have, a short list follows:
    – Proven ability to develop leadership in other executives and managers (Police doesn’t give you that, does it)
    – Process and strategic-management skills, such as the ability to allocate resources, understand markets, assess risk and so forth. (Didn’t do too well on INCIS, did he)
    – People skills (He may or may have those, I’d expect him to, police are often very good at that)
    – Adaptability and flexibility. (Hasn’t shown this in his approach that I’ve seen)
    – Ability to set direction, gain commitment, create alignment and face adaptive challenges. (Hasn’t shown this either)
    – Ability to plan succession (No idea)

    So IMO, Poneke, he has demonstrated very few qualities required.

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  23. The worm that turned (12 comments) says:

    Poneke:

    “Gosh, and for years I have laboured under the misapprehension that Liam’s parents were directly responsible”

    What a disgraceful comment.
    Shame on you.

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  24. dad4justice (7,989 comments) says:

    I really feel disgusted with your sewer comment about the deceased Liam Ashley. You are a sicko poneke!

    Been set upon by prisoners in van before poneke?

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  25. poneke (280 comments) says:

    Gosh, and for years I have laboured under the misapprehension that Liam’s parents were directly responsible, by demanding the judge send him to jail for taking their car without their permission.

    What a disgraceful comment.
    Shame on you.

    Please tell me what is inaccurate about my factual statement about why Liam was in that prison van.

    He didn’t ask to be in it. His parents demanded that the judge send him to jail. That is how he came to be in that van — a lovely teenage boy sent to his death in a van full of violent criminals.

    What a shocking waste of a young life.

    But hey, I bet you don’t feel the same way about that other shocking waste of a young life. You sewer rats were all over the blogosphere and talkback celebrating it. You know who I mean.

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  26. Manolo (13,517 comments) says:

    I saw Matthews being interviewed by Paul Henry on TV. The Correction boss came across as a bumbling executive out of touch with the realities of his department.

    In voicing his reluctance to resign Matthews has shown his complete lack of dignity. This incompetent fool must be sacked.

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  27. reid (16,111 comments) says:

    There’s a nexus of responsibility you’re ignoring, poneke.

    That’s the point.

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  28. The worm that turned (12 comments) says:

    Well done Poneke you’ve convinced me.

    Liam’s parents should face manslaughter charges..

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  29. poneke (280 comments) says:

    Well done Poneke you’ve convinced me. Liam’s parents should face manslaughter charges..

    Such “humour.” You sick bastard.

    Liam’s parents have to live with this tragedy every day to the end of their days.

    While you sewer rats celebrate the killing of Pihema Cameron.

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  30. Inventory2 (10,185 comments) says:

    poneke said “Please tell me what is inaccurate about my factual statement about why Liam was in that prison van.

    He didn’t ask to be in it. His parents demanded that the judge send him to jail. That is how he came to be in that van — a lovely teenage boy sent to his death in a van full of violent criminals.

    What a shocking waste of a young life.”

    While your comment is factual Poneke, it is equally deplorable. Liam Ashley’s parents wanted him to learn a short, sharp lesson about consequences – something which today’s youth seems blissfully unaware of. They were not to know that Corrections and Chubb Security would fail, jointly and separately to follow established procedures on two counts – their handling of Liam, and their handling of Charlie George Baker, Liam’s assailant. It’s all here:

    http://www.corrections.govt.nz/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/240259/liam-john-ashley-investigation-report.pdf

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  31. poneke (280 comments) says:

    While your comment is factual Poneke, it is equally deplorable. Liam Ashley’s parents wanted him to learn a short, sharp lesson about consequences – something which today’s youth seems blissfully unaware of.

    Pihema Cameron was also dealt a “short, sharp lesson” and like Liam, also died from it.

    You sewer rats celebrate Pihema’s death but blame everyone but those responsible for Liam’s.

    To me they are both equally deplorable and tragic deaths. I weep for the parents of both young boys, who are probably wracked with guilt for the way their sons died.

    I have three children around the age of Liam and Pihema and they are very aware of the hypocrisy surrounding all this. Unlike the bloodlust of the sewer, my children have never and will never be dealt the “short, sharp lesson” you so laud.

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  32. Inventory2 (10,185 comments) says:

    I’m not applauding anything about the Cameron case Poneke – it was a tragedy for BOTH the families involved. For the record, I believe that the jury’s verdictt was the right one – rejecting the both Crown’s submission that Emery had muderous intent, and the defence that Emery was acting in self-defence. Given Emery’s lack of previous, and the unlikelihood of reoffending, I believe the sentence was adequate.

    Kudos to you for caring about your own children so much though. I trust that you have instilled in them a sense of values that doesn’t require them to get drunk and/or stoned to function, and to wilfully damage other peoples’ property to “express their identity”. My youngest has just left home for university, and has a life of unlimited potential ahead of her. It’s a REAL tragedy for New Zealand that more of our children aren’t in that situation.

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  33. big bruv (13,572 comments) says:

    Oh look!, the trolley bus chaser has moved on from defending the indefensible (Barry Matthews) and has decided to take cheap shots at Liam Ashley’s parents in an effort to divert readers from the monumental thrashing he was taking over Matthews.

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  34. poneke (280 comments) says:

    Given Emery’s lack of previous, and the unlikelihood of reoffending, I believe the sentence was adequate.

    I also have no issue with the verdict or the sentence. My issue is with the championing of Pihema’s killing by the VRWC and the rest of the Laura Norder brigade. I find that sickening.

    Kudos to you for caring about your own children so much though. I trust that you have instilled in them a sense of values that doesn’t require them to get drunk and/or stoned to function, and to wilfully damage other peoples’ property to “express their identity”.

    Good god, you know nothing about my hard-working, high achieving, law-abiding children.

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  35. greenfly (1,059 comments) says:

    Inventory2 said:
    ” And you know that Judith Collins can no more sack Matthews than I can ban you from Kiwiblog..”
    and I agree entirely with you on that Iv2, but the original ‘pesentation’ given by “Crusher’ would have us and the rest of the country believe otherwise. Who was it after all, named her ‘crusher’? A perception is being created for Collins, Hide, Key and others, of decisiveness, strength and action, but it is spin. My tiny contribution here is to point it out when I see it.

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  36. greenfly (1,059 comments) says:

    btw – I’m seeing it a lot.

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  37. Earsling (15 comments) says:

    Poneke,master of matters regarding Wellington Public Transport,perhaps should confine himself to this rather peculiar love affair,because quite plainly when it comes to matters that require a degree of common humanity he reveals himself to be little more than a mean spirited and particularly nasty bastard. His completely uncalled for comments regarding Liam Ashley’s parents being,in effect somehow responsible for his death whilst in a prison van,is however,completely in character with his ultra liberal habit of blame shifting so frequently employed to bolster a plainly indefensible argument.Barry Matthews may well be a nice guy who did well at university,was a top cop etc etc. The facts however remain that his performance has been weighed and measured by the Auditor General ,and found to be seriously wanting.That Mr Matthews has enjoyed a hitherto outstanding career in the Police should be all the more reason why he should be able to realise that the jig is up.

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  38. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “My issue is with the championing of Pihema’s killing by the VRWC and the rest of the Laura Norder brigade. I find that sickening.”

    I haven’t actually seen any “championing” of Pihema’s killing by the VRWC. Could you give an example or two??

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  39. slijmbal (1,226 comments) says:

    If Matthews was as good as the average civil master then he would be carefully armour plating his derriere.

    This involves documenting the failings but at the same time attributing them to matters such as:

    - factors outside the departments control
    - insufficient resource
    - changes in the law
    - changes in outcomes
    - insufficient $
    - underpaid staff
    - inexperienced staff
    - bad luck (but it’s usual stated as statistically unusual events)
    - an implementation process still in progress

    Strangely enough I’ve never seen a report saying management is not up to it

    I’ve seen it before – maybe he wasn’t smart enough to do that, which implies he’s not capable enough for the job.

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  40. Christopher (425 comments) says:

    he is a man of iron with multiple degrees including an MBA and an LLB

    An LLB is hardly a golden recommendation!

    Juesus fucking christ, I wouldn’t trust any of the twats in my law classes with a fucking pet budgie, let alone the management of the corrections department!

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  41. John Ansell (874 comments) says:

    Words are words, and promises are promises. The only thing that counts is RESULTS.

    Matthews’ results were abysmal.

    He should take his MBA and his LLB, and no doubt his obscene golden handshake courtesy of you and me, and leave the stage. It’s not about him, it’s about us. Keeping us safe.

    If Matthews really is a good guy Poneke (and he certainly didn’t look like one blithering to Paul Henry), he should realise the game’s up and hand the job to someone who understands what it means to be accountable.

    If he continues to be a drain on you and me, then we have our answer: he is not a good guy.

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  42. dave (986 comments) says:

    I couldn’t care less if Matthews has an MBA. Let’s see him masterfully administer a business, other wise it may as well be a master of bugger all for all the difference it makes.

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  43. Fox (202 comments) says:

    peterwn, in response:

    1)What you’ve said is not entirely true. I refer back to the case of another notorious CEO; Christine Rankin. She was successfully able to seek compensation due to the decision taken not to roll her contract over, after it had ended as per agreed terms. To me this indicates a serious flaw in the current employment law.
    I also certainly can’t recall any cases in the private sector where one has been successful in claiming compensation under similar circumstances.

    2) I agree that Judith Collins isn’t an expert when it comes to employment law. However, when the Auditor General releases such a damning report, it doesn’t take an expert to figure out that Matthews was underperforming! The fact that the SSC didn’t even give him so much as a warning, even in light of the report’s findings, just proves that the SSC is way out of bounds on this one, and certainly shouldn’t be able to serve as a defense for Matthews.

    3) Your third point made me chuckle. In order to be able to state: ” NZ does not have a politicised public service”, you really must have been away with the fairies. There is a lot I can say on this one, but instead I’ll just drop a few names and leave you to figure out the rest: Madeleine Setchell ,Peter Doone, Rajen Prasad.
    If public service really isn’t politicised, Judith Collins wouldn’t have bothered making those scathing comments on the corrections department (implicitly targeting Matthews in the process). So it seems ministers are well aware that such comments can influence the decisions the SSC makes. If that’s not politicised, what is?
    In reality the SSC serves to create the PERCEPTION of an independant public service, rather than actually create one.
    So why not do away with all the nonsensical charades, and let ministers have direct input in employment matters regarding CEO’s and senior management? I’m sure it would save a lot of time and money.
    At least when the Ministers screw up on their employment decisions, they can be held accountable. Sadly the same can’t be said for the SSC. To that extent, it’s hard to view the politicization of the public service as a negative thing….

    4) IMO what the problem boils down to is this: Matthews is KNOWN to have ignored set policies and procedures. The department for which he is responsible has just been slammed by the Auditor General. The consequences of his department’s failings have been evident for all of us to see (sadly such are the characteristics of Corrections Department screwups – they end up as horrifying tales on the 6 o’clock news..) Yet despite all this he still stands a good chance of walking out of an employment court with a very sizable compensation payment. This doesn’t show the current term-contract system to be a reasonable tradeoff between worker protection and sack on a whim regime at all. I’d say it’s way out of kilter.

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  44. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    “I weep for the parents of both young boys, who are probably wracked with guilt for the way their sons died.”

    No – actually, after allowing him to drug fuck and piss numb his brain every night whilst he was alive, Pihemas mother is quite happy to blame everyone else now he’s dead
    – His father – well who knows?

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  45. jackp (668 comments) says:

    Very disappointing that Collins announced she will work with Mathews. I know Edgar Hoover, the FBI director, never got fired because he had too much on everyone in Washington. Perhaps Mathews has something on Collins. Whatever the reason, Collins should be asking for his head. Three hundred plus thousand a year wasted of taxpayers money and the lives of innocent people shattered because of “I have no blood on my hands” Mathews.

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  46. tvb (4,263 comments) says:

    Matthews is starting to form a pattern. The dogged determination to stay on suggests a person of very poor character. I trust the SSC will look into what gifts Matthews has accepted, go through his expense claims very carefully, look at the amount of money he has spent on his office and car. I think we know his type, it stands out like dogs balls.

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  47. Melanie R (17 comments) says:

    I think he is refusing to leave because he knows he will not find another job at this level in the public or private sector with his track record. He may be a decent guy but from what I have read about his time in NSW he was very ineffective.
    I can’t understand why people in his position can’t be performance managed out of their job.
    If having an MBA & LLB qualifies someone to manage (sounds reasonable) but under resourcing means poor results then isn’t that is when the MBA is meant to ‘kick in’? Shouldn’t Matthews qualifications/expertise mean that he should be able to find a way to improve things anyway?

    If things aren’t going well in my job- well I will troubleshoot and try and fix things. If I can, then fine. But if my boss refuses to give me the tools to do my job then I would leave. Getting nowhere is a waste of time. So Matthews should either have already been pushing for more funding or asking for help, if he knew things were not changing.

    Basically I would like the same rules applied to him as would apply to me as an average working Kiwi. At this point I think I could do a better job than him.

    I think the parole board should be scrapped and Rudy Guiliani should be flown over to sort out Corrections and then Auck City Council/ARC/NSCC.

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  48. John Ansell (874 comments) says:

    “But if my boss refuses to give me the tools to do my job then I would leave.”

    Me too, Melanie.

    The alternative is to hang around and get blamed for the inevitable cockups. Matthews chose the latter course. He can hardly complain.

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