Fail

NZ First MP did a release stating:

New Zealand First is accusing the Government of making changes to legislation to give the Prime Minister John Key complete dictatorship over the State Services commissioner.

Associate Finance spokesperson Andrew Williams says clause 6 (j) in the and Public Finance Reform Bill states that the commissioner must ‘exercise such other functions with respect to administration and management of the Public Service as the Prime Minister from time to time directs’. 

“This clause gives the Prime Minister complete power to dictate to the State Services Commissioner what he wants to see happen.

“It establishes a very dangerous precedent in a Westminster democracy, and is not unlike regimes of the Cold War era.

“With this Bill effectively providing for the unbridled whims of Dictator Key the National Government will continue to run the State Services sector into the ground,” says Mr Williams.

Note the hysterical language about dictatorships and the like. Even if Williams was correct in his assertion, the hysterical language is ridiculous.

The proposed new section 6(j) is:

For the purpose of carrying out the Commissioner’s role, the principal functions of the Commissioner are to … exercise such other functions with respect to the administration and management of the Public Service as the Prime Minister from time to time directs (not being functions conferred by this Act or any other Act on a chief executive other than the Commissioner).

Now let us look at the current State Sector Act 1988. It also has a section 6(j) which states:

The principal functions of the Commissioner are … to exercise such other functions with respect to the administration and management of the Public Service as the Prime Minister from time to time directs (not being functions conferred by this Act or any other Act on a chief executive other than the Commissioner).

That is a massive fail. Williams failed to even check the current law. And if you are going to accuse the Prime Minister of becoming a dictator, well an even bigger fail.

There’s really no excuse for such sloppiness.  Based on Williams press release, and the fact this clause has existed since 1988, I can only conclude that New Zealand has been a cold war dictatorship for the last 24 years, and we never noticed.

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