Robertson on Treasury

The Herald reports:

Three non-executive directors have been appointed to the Treasury’s board, but Labour is continuing to question the reason for the board’s existence.

Treasury Secretary John Whitehead, who announced the governance board last month, said it would include private and community representatives to provide advice.

Mr Whitehead would be able to veto the board’s advice.

He said he would continue to answer to the State Services Commission and Finance Minister.

I think this is a good initiative. It may stop Treasury getting too insular, and provide some external views on how Treasury are doing.

Labour’s state services spokesman Grant Robertson said the board challenged the neutrality of the public service and public service bosses’ responsibility to ministers.

With various working groups, purchase advisers, a review of public sector advice and now a board for the Treasury, the Government was fundamentally changing the nature of the public sector, he said.

“This board looks designed to lock in place the economic thinking of the current Government.

Oh what tosh. I should remind people that Mr Whitehead was appointed to his role in 2003 under a Labour Government, and incidentally one of his former jobs was Deputy Director of the Labour Parliamentary Research Unit.

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