The Goulter Report

Former Auckland Airport CEO John Goulter has just had tabled in the House his review of how Parliament operates. This is done every three years. He proposes some radical changes.

The report is 121 pages and online here.

I have been a long-term proponent of either merging some of the parliamentary agencies together, or at least having common support areas such as in IT, HR, Security, Buildings etc. The Goukter Report makes some excellent recommendations in this area.

It was interesting to learn that there are 152 OOP offices – 104 for 69 electorate MPs, 45 for 52 List MPs and three which are shared. The report focuses a lot of improving their quality and resources, and tieing them into the main campus more.

The review also finds huge staff turnover in the parliamentary party offices (where I used to work). It was 55% on 03/04, 33% in 04/05 and 63% in 05/06.

Recommendations include:

* That security responsibility for Parliament be outsourced from The Parliamentary Service to the New Zealand Aviation Security Service. I just hope that doesn’t mean plastic knives at Bellamys!

* Enhanced support for the Information Systems and Technology Group to allow them to take on a leadership role for the campus (they are very under resourced)

* That a market review of the services and products as supplied by the caterers to Parliament be undertaken. (Bellamys is canned in the review for its quality, range service and pricing – first time visitors are always disappointed by how mundane it is)

* That MPs funding be increased with Leaders funding going from $50K + $57,176/non exec MP to $100K + $64,320 per MP, whips/research from $20K to $22K per MP, Elect MP support from $59,500 to $64,260 and List MP support from $37,900 to $40,932.

* This would see each party’s total funding change as follows:
– National up 11.0% from $6.24m to $6.93m
– Labour (incl Field) up 10.6% from $5.04m to $5.58m
– Maori Party up 17.7% from $0.60m to $0.70m
– ACT up 25.2% from $0.30m to $0.38m
– NZ First up 16.0% from $0.80m to $0.93m
– United Future up 22.6% from $0.36m to $0.44m
– Greens up 16.6% from $0.74m to $0.86m
– Progressive up 43.8% from $0.13m to $0.19m

* To improve the quality of the OOP offices, and also not to call them OOP offices anymore!

* Providing IT support to OOP offices (they are left to their own devices currently)

* To provide a third OOP staff member to Electorate MPs with an electorate larger than 20,000 sq kms.

* Trial 0800 free calling to OOP offices which cross toll areas

* To have the Parliamentary Service reformed to have a customer focus and and a Chief Executive with an advisory board for governance.

I hope Parliament looks seriously at implementing the recommendations. There is considerable room for improvement. Having said that there are some world class services provided by the Parliamentary Library, the Clerk’s office is often the model of professionalism and the security staff are great.

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