Trevor agrees with me

December 15th, 2011 at 6:53 pm by David Farrar

In April I blogged:

This means you could have a cabinet of 12. The Speaker looks after Parliament, and one Minister per major agency. One could have associate ministers outside cabinet who get delegated some of the specialist areas within an overall portfolio.

Yesterday blogged:

New Zealand has a ridiculous number of Ministers for a country our size.

It had got slightly worse under MMP but this government has taken it beyond absurd with 80% of the non National confidence and supply partner members bought off with a Ministerial post, and the final one on a promise of getting one during the term.

It would have been nice to have Trevor speak up when he had influence. I’ve long said we should have a smaller . It was in fact Helen Clark who increased the size of the Executive to 28. Key has just maintained it at that size.

I spent three years as a whip which included cabinet committee experience in the 1980s and the nine years as a Minister in the Clark government.

I saw lots of weak, and some frankly useless Ministers. Most, but not all, were in the second half of the rankings. They often caused more work than they added value. There was an enormous amount of time wasted explaining what was either obvious or buried in papers that if they had been read hadn’t been understood.

Trevor should name names! :-)

I tend to divide Ministers up into three camps – leaders, administrators and bumblers.

The ideal Minister leads their portfolio and ministry. They impose the Government’s policy agenda on the ministry, listen to officials but do not always follow their advice. The number of “leader” Ministers in a Ministry does tend to be rarely more than a dozen.

Hence why I’d restructure the into 12 super-ministries as advocated in my linked post. That way each super-ministry is likely to have a “leader” Minister who will apply strategic leadership to the portfolios within. Also there are probably only a dozen great CEOs in the , so you get benefits at the CEO level also. Finally it reduces Cabinet from 20 to 12, which makes it a more effective decision making body.

The “administrator” Minister is probably the most common type of Minister. Unlike Trevor I would not call them useless. Their problem is more they just do what their officials tell them to. They do not apply external political judgement to issues, and hence as Trevor alludes to they need rescuing from time to time.

If there were just 12 Ministers in total, I think the paperwork would be too much. It is not that Ministers are not busy. Hence I’d have all full portfolios held by one of 12 Cabinet Ministers but maybe still have say eight Associate Ministers outside Cabinet who get delegated specific areas. This makes them a good training ground for becoming a full Minister, but still reduces the Ministry by eight or so.

I think we don’t need more than ten or a dozen Ministers. They should all be in Cabinet. And to trial talent we should use three or four Under Secretaries who report directly to the relevant Minister.

We broadly agree, but I’d call the Under-Secretaries Associate Ministers. Maybe could do it like the UK – Secretaries of State are full Ministers in Cabinet and Ministers of State are Ministers outside Cabinet.

It will be interesting if any of Trevor’s former Ministerial colleagues agree with his description of them as useless.  To spare the competent ones, he should name those he meant!

More importantly, he should lobby David Shearer to announce a policy to reduce the Ministry from 28 to 12 Ministers. That would be hugely popular.

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27 Responses to “Trevor agrees with me”

  1. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,903 comments) says:

    More bloody nonsense about ‘too many ministers’ per capita.

    When you count up the State Gummint ministers is the US and Australia and add them to the federal numbers, I suggest you will find they both have more cabinet ministers per capita than we do.

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  2. big bruv (13,888 comments) says:

    Right. Lets start with the bumblers.

    Tolly. For not dealing to the scum teachers union….OUT
    Wilkinson. For being bloody hopeless…OUT
    Smith. For being a climate change idiot…OUT
    Bennett. For doing nothing about the thousand of benefit bludgers last time around….OUT

    That’s four I can think of without going into detail.

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  3. pollywog (1,153 comments) says:

    English. For being a serial rorter…OUT
    Brownlee. For failing to oversee safety at Pike River…OUT
    Key. For being a lying scumbag…OUT

    theres another 3

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  4. Johnboy (16,551 comments) says:

    Perhaps the new Ministers should breathe through their noses for the next three years?

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  5. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    A committee of 20 could run the country , the other 100 odd can fuck off.

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  6. Johnboy (16,551 comments) says:

    In that case surely one Fuhrer could do the deed and nineteen more could fuck off. :)

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  7. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    A benign dictatorship has major attraction JB, you just need an efficient civil service, which is where it would all fall down

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  8. Bevan (3,924 comments) says:

    English. For being a serial rorter…OUT
    Brownlee. For failing to oversee safety at Pike River…OUT
    Key. For being a lying scumbag…OUT

    theres another 3

    So what your saying there is that no Labour politician should ever be a minister of any sort…

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  9. Johnboy (16,551 comments) says:

    Not if Arnold and Sir Humphrey ran it PEB. :)

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  10. Scott Chris (6,137 comments) says:

    How many ministers you have is one thing, but how qualified they are to do the job is another.

    They should all be made to sit an exam to assess their IQ and depth of knowledge in their preferred field.

    If you don’t pass, you don’t get the portfolio.

    Just like teachers, politicians should be measured.

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  11. Johnboy (16,551 comments) says:

    As should blog commentators! :)

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  12. gravedodger (1,566 comments) says:

    We have a Parliament of 120 plus overhang for a population less than greater Melbourne .
    That leaves a government with over 60 wannabes who all think they are a lot more important than they actually are.
    Giving as many as possible of them a title is part of managing the herd
    Cut the Parliament size then the executive will shrink to reflect it.

    Cut out the croc tears Trev you were an integral part of the great rort that you and your ilk inflicted on us for most of your working life .

    Please don’t have a road to Damascus epiphany now its far too fu*king late, Just Fu*k off and let some younger brains replace you and your troughing mates.
    They just might have a better idea of the job and the resources needed to do it, possibly not, but its the only hope as you are a proven failure.

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  13. Elaycee (4,392 comments) says:

    “In that case surely one Fuhrer could do the deed and nineteen more could fuck off. ”

    Wash your mouth out, Johnboy. Next thing, you’ll be suggesting we send a “Hulun Come Home’ note to the UN.

    Ewwww…..

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  14. pollywog (1,153 comments) says:

    So what your saying there is that no Labour politician should ever be a minister of any sort…

    not at all.

    Cunliffe would own the finance portfolio which English looks to pawn off and blame anyone but himself for how shit he is at it and for how much his policies have fucked over the country.

    but wait, theres more…

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  15. Johnboy (16,551 comments) says:

    “Cunliffe would own the finance portfolio which English looks to pawn off and blame anyone but himself for how shit he is at it and how much his policies have fucked over the country.”

    What a fine command of the English language you have Pollywog.

    It really is a true pleasure to meet such an eloquent native that has received the benefit of British culture. :)

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  16. pollywog (1,153 comments) says:

    oooh grammar troll is being grammatical and attempting sarcasm to boot…

    how cute.

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  17. Johnboy (16,551 comments) says:

    Nonsense old chap. I was merely congratulating you on your fine command of the colonial oppressors tongue.

    You really are a fine example of what a little education can do for a race of savages.

    Thank God for the British Empire what! :)

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  18. pollywog (1,153 comments) says:

    JB…

    alu e ai sou kae lou alelo

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  19. Johnboy (16,551 comments) says:

    Unlike your people Polly I never have developed the taste for it. :) :)

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  20. tvb (4,421 comments) says:

    The real work in a Government is done by about 6 or so Ministers. This includes the Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister. Not all departments are in an active phase so it is acceptable to have an administrator type keeping a lid on things. But once a Minister has run out of ideas and is merely implementing a civil service agenda it is time to move that Minister on and give someone else a go.

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  21. pollywog (1,153 comments) says:

    surprising JB considering your head is firmly wedged up your arse.

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  22. Cactus Kate (551 comments) says:

    Trevor agrees with you David.
    Time to change your mind.

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  23. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    Bit rich of Trevor to be bringing others’ competence into question after the train-wreck he oversaw while planning Labour’s campaign strategy. Apart from winning a bike race what will be his glowing monument to society? It won’t be any stadiums for a start.

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  24. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    Bit rich of Trevor to be bringing others’ competence into question after the train-wreck he oversaw while planning Labour’s campaign strategy. Apart from winning a bike race what will be his lasting monument to society?

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  25. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    sorry teh edit came through too

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  26. Manolo (13,767 comments) says:

    As unpalatable is to admit it, but the thug Mallard is right about the excessive number of ministers.
    So much for Labour lite, the party of smaller government. Tui ad.

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  27. lofty (1,310 comments) says:

    I am with monkey man on this, Mallard is in no position to critisise anyone at all ever.

    Jeezeus look at the master strategist at work over the last few months…..FAIL….

    When the going gets tough…who ya gunna call??……Not Trevor thats for sure.

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