Mallard says too many Ministers

Max Rashbrooke blogs:

New Zealand has too many Cabinet ministers and too many government agencies – but more departmental mergers is not the solution, Labour MP Trevor Mallard said at a joint lecture for the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies and the Institute of Public Administration New Zealand.

Mallard, a former Minister of Education and State Services Minister, said New Zealand’s government was too fragmented, with “Crown entities for Africa” and agencies like Work and Income New Zealand that were “a body with no brain”.

Too many ministerial positions had also been created to tie caucus into Cabinet, he said, and most of the “talent” in a Cabinet was in the top half. Under Helen Clark, the Cabinet committee of the 10 most senior ministers “worked extremely well … Those ministers were much more likely to have read – which is a good start – and understand – which is even better – the papers they were being asked to consider.”

The “ideal” Cabinet, Mallard said, would have 10 members and 5-6 positions outside Cabinet “with training wheels attached”. However, he admitted this was not a popular view among those ranked 8-20 in his own party.

I agree with Trevor Mallard in terms of size of Cabinet and the Executive. I’d have 12 Cabinet Ministers and say eight outside Cabinet. The 12 Ministers would each be in charge of a cluster of portfolios.

Ideally you would amalgamate as many entities as possible so there was one agency per cluster, with a top class Chief Executive.

I blogged in 2011, a possible structure for a future state sector. So a Cabinet would be:

  1. Prime Minister (DPMC, SSC)
  2. Minister of Finance (Treasury)
  3. Minister of Economic Development (MAF, MOBIE, Fisheries, MORST, Transport)
  4. Minister of Social Policy (Pacific Island Affairs, MSD, CYF, Youth Development, Community Sector, Senior Citizens, Families, Women’s Affairs, TPK_
  5. Minister of Health (Health)
  6. Minister of Education (Education, ERO, TEC)
  7. Minister of Internal Security (Crown Law, Corrections, SIS, Justice, SFO, Police)
  8. Minister for the Environment (Environment, EPA, Conservation, Biosecurity)
  9. Minister of  External Relations & Security (GCSB, Defence, MFAT,  NZDF)
  10. Minister of Incomes (IRD, WINZ)
  11. Minister of Culture (Culture & Heritage, Broadcasting, Nat Lib, Archives, NZ on Air)
  12. Minister of Administrative Affairs (DIA, LINZ, Building & Housing, Customs, Stats)

Also the Speaker would be the responsible Minister for a Department of Parliament which includes the Parliamentary Service, Ministerial Services, Office of the Clerk and Parliament Counsel Office.

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