Ministers should be more respectful of Treasury staff

The Herald reports:

Treasury has painted an improving picture of the beleaguered convention centre project.

Yesterday it released a performance report on major Government projects throughout New Zealand, including four of the city’s anchor projects.

The convention centre has moved from a red rating to a much-improved amber delivery confidence rating from its previous report.

But Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration Gerry Brownlee was yesterday scathing of the Treasury analysis, in spite of the improved report, saying it was done by people who “fluff about the place pontificating”.

He said he had little respect for the reports or their analysis.

“It is a rating system Treasury do for themselves,” he said.

Mr Brownlee has blasted previous Treasury reports as “disrespectful”, calling a November report on anchor projects “utter tripe”.

I think these comments are inappropriate.

It is fine for Ministers to disagree with advice and say things like “Treasury are looking at the project through a narrow set of parameters and I think when you look at the overall project it is fine”.

But this comes close to a personal attack on the staff who produced the report, and Gerry also goes over the top in attacking the reports as somethign Treasury do for themselves. Treasury do these reports because their Minister and/or the Cabinet decided they should be produced. It is not something they are producing as some sort of rogue agency.

As I said at the beginning, it is fine to disagree with advice and analysis, but Ministers should not shoot the messengers.

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