100 more diplomats

Winston Peters has had a $621 million increase for MFAT funding, over five years which will deliver 100 more diplomats.

Now this is a quirk of MMP. Ministers from parties not in Government can demand any amount of extra money from the Finance Minister, with the implicit threat of walking if they do not get it. This is no special skill.

We saw similiar last budget with a huge increase in funding for NZ Aid. But is an increase in quantity the same as an increase in quality? Well the Auditor-General reported that there were significant problems with how NZ Aid accounted in the field for its funding.

Now where does some of the funding go:

An increase in trade policy capacity, overseas and in Wellington, to push towards trade negotiations with key markets such as Korea, Japan, the United States, India and Mexico.

So Winston has managed to get more funding for trade policy staff, so he can then campaign against the trade agreements they negotiate. Is that not just a bit perverse?

Congratulations must go to MFAT though for taming their Minister so sucessfully. Ministries will forgive any manner of sins in a Minister so long as they bring home the bacon for them.

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