The purge the civil service desperately requires – how Jacinda masters a hostile public service


After 9 years of National, our public service has become a highly politicised and increasingly ideologically damaged entity which threatens to stop any progressive change that the new Government may want to enable.

Highly politicised because public servants have manipulated rules to provide their political masters with information they shouldn’t be able to access, (Winston’s pension over payment being the most recent example), and increasingly ideological because almost the entire welfare state is geared towards punishing beneficiaries rather than helping them.

If the new Government want to force their agenda through, they must begin by radically purging previous political appointees. There are thousands of positions that now need filling on various Quangos throughout the country and Labour needs to start immediately there to ensure their eyes and their ears are sitting on Boards to ensure policy implementation isn’t being stymied by right wing Public Servants.

Now would be a good time to sit down with the PSA to see if they are genuine in improvement of public service values rather than protecting their members jobs. If such a partnership is possible, Labour could use that relationship to force the State sector bosses to change ideological direction, but Labour could also force change by supporting socially progressive NGOs critical of social policy to critique the welfare agencies.

Setting up a whistle blower 0800 number so that public servants can dob in their managers and bosses who are ignoring their public service obligations would also be a good means of forcing change.

Passing new policy is one thing, having a right wing public service implement it is another.


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  1. I suppose you mean such advisors and ‘experts’ like Dr Bratt at MSD:

    “When I read the statements I thought them unlikely to be true, so I looked for their source, the position statement, and checked the referenced study, which shows them to be without foundation. Presumably the authors and repeaters have found them believable, for example Dr David Bratt, Principal Health Advisor, Ministry of Social Development, New Zealand, said at the Welfare Working Group Forum, that the figures come from Australia, but that he knows that figures would show exactly the same thing happens here.”

    “The incorrect statements about the chance of ever getting back to work are being presented to general practitioners (GPs) continuing medical education conferences in the context certifying people as unfit for work, together with statements like the ‘benefit’ is “an addictive debilitating drug with significant adverse effects to both the patient and their family (whānau)”. They are being presented to GPs in the context of assisting patients to safely stay at work or return to work early. These appear to be encouraging GPs to assess injured and unwell patients as having capacity for work and not issuing medical certificates for work incapacity. This could result in the cessation of welfare benefits or injury compensation. When these patients lack the capacity to work, they could experience increased financial hardship.”

    It has gone a bit silent on this expert, who was quoted frequently, when the benefit reforms were being prepared in 2010 to 2013, also at least indirectly by Paula Bennett:

  2. Great stuff yes a lot of the Public Service bosses need to go. I am tired of having to sit through a system where it tells me that assistance could not be given because it is already at its limit and it does not even cover the rent, taking all the income and nothing left for food, power and water.

    Benefit sanctions also need to go and forcing of mothers to work when they have young children to look after, these children need a parent at home to ensure they are look after and go to school. Maybe with a change the youth crime rate will drop.

  3. Great stuff.
    It is time that the welfare system does become what it is called. It is time for some of the public servants to go and do something else. Most of the ones that I have encountered makes me wonder why they have taken up that line of work because they don’t have the knowledge to deal with peoples problems.
    I know of one case where a case manager asked a young lady what is it like to have mental disorder. Of course they young lady just cried I encourage her to lay a complaint but she was afraid they will take her money away , and so she did nothing.
    Working at a welfare office takes a lot and you have to have the knowledge of how to deal with all sorts of problems, and when to ask senior for help and managers that are not so up themselves. Most of workers forget what they are there for and that is to HELP THOSE THAT NEED IT.

  4. I worked in housing policy for three years under a National Government and I can tell you that some of the policy managers put in place were unashamedly and openly biased towards National. They were also as thick as big shit. I think low level policy analysts and advisors need to be empowered to challenge their managers without fear of retribution. I felt fearful to even mention that I belonged to the union. Under this new government we must turn this around. The incompetent and biased public service managers must either go, or an environment must be created where they are quickly exposed.

    I went to the private sector as a consultant because I just couldn’t take the public sector environment any more. However, under our new Government, I am very tempted to return.

  5. You are right Martyn It is probably a total relief to those who are ethical, but that phone hotline would be great. A cull is needed and suitable replacements.

  6. While I was looking for a job, I experienced what I can only call a very sad and shocking surprise. I applied for a job with the Minister of Business Industry and Employment only to find that they were not doing their own employment and recruitment. They had engaged a private recruitment company, a company which seemed both incompetent and dishonest, advertising jobs which they then said were decided before the interview process. I recently received
    an email from that company claiming that they had had a great and profitable year. For goodness sake, if the ministry of employment can’t handle their own employment work the leadership of that ministry needs to go.

  7. Incompetents recruit Incompetents
    Let Truth be the Standard.

    The National Government which has disgraced itself massively over the past nine years, was incompetent.

    For instance – it brought in hundreds of thousands of foreign immigrants but provided absolutely nil infrastructure to accommodate them. But cynically pushed Kiwis out of Housing into impossible Rental conditions.

    Being incompetent, the Government naturally employed incompetent unskilled managers with a bias towards Key and English into Government positions.

    The slothful low IQ worshippers of English must be removed as quick as possible.

    Also so called experts within our Universities must be absolutely recruited on the basis of nil bias and proof of such. Any breach of bias must result in dismissal.

    Likewise TV, Radio and News media who dribble on with falsehood and bias must be taken to court. Any Government funding must be immediately removed from those so called news outlets. Similarly, any blog who likewise posts false information.

    The same standards shall apply to the Police. No Bias. No Falsehood.

    NZ must establish Law that makes false news and bias a crime. A costly crime. Laid on the individual who broadcasts it or writes it – and on the Corporation who released it – and on all of the shareholders who passively endorsed it.

    Let NZ lead the way back to TRUTH !

  8. Urgency is needed to instigate a whistle blower number and the setting up of a permanent inquiry dealing with any evidence or reports of political bias in the public service.

    The new govt must act quickly before its members and also the members of the public service and its contract agencies are spurred into doing more damage and making change harder.

    New blood must be infused into out sick and dying public service.

    The PSA has sponsored several publicly accessible meeting about the deteriorating ethic and loss of loyal stalwarts who fostered public good.

    The anger of staff and despair of many was painful to observe. Rampant corruption and behind closed door decisions circumvented proper function of public office.

    john key is back in the nest of vipers and soon to be CEO of ANZ.

    He worked for the snakes all along

  9. Yes martyn,

    RNZ still has many Natinal Party cling-ons inside our public broadcasting sercvice as since the eklection all presenters have a ‘synical ring toweards Jacinda as most news broadcasters are pumping out anti Labour policies still, so the whole industry under public ownership needs a purge of “biased anti labour media presenters be fired.

    Suzie furguson, Kathryn Ryan, and other recent “helecoptered in presenters need to be fired as they often bad mouth any other partyy but send glowing reports of national.
    On RNZ this moring I liked this;

    I thought Sir Digby Jones was great.

    The incomming new Minister of Broadcasting must take the word Steven joyce put behind RNZ (National) out of the broadcasting platform as Political parties names should not be advertised on a Public radio netwok.

  10. I’m very much looking forward to seeing the back of annoying Judith Collins appointee Dame Susan Devoy.

    Bye Susan – don’t let the door hit you on the arse on the way out.

    • devoy – glaring example.

      Also peter gluckman has stifled scientific opinion with his political rants across scientific areas well beyond his understanding. Another key puppet.

  11. To be honest, there will be very little in the way of any ‘purge’, as the public sector is supposed to be neutral and meant to keep their eyes on operating the system, under the existing law.

    Any actions where it may seem to be a ‘purge’ will be damned by many, and the media will make a feast of it also, thus reflecting badly on any government.

    National was smart in putting into place some people as advisors and as senior appointees, by having them promoted or hired into their jobs, using the already almost corporate style government department system.

    That is perhaps where Labour failed between 1999 and 2008, to restore the public service to something that looks more like a public service should truly look like and operate like.

    Before then, changes were made under National, to outsource services, to abolish some, to semi privatise and fully privatise some operations. And they went about doing the same, yes more of it, once they were back in power from 2008 onward.

    And many working in the public service are also National voters, believe it or not, particularly those in management and supervisory roles. They build teams that can work with them, so what the PSA, hardly a ‘left’ leaning union, can do, is very limited.

  12. They could purge a lot of the executive level by just dropping their ridiculous salaries down – most of the psychopathic, bullying incompetents would just bugger off

    The tip-line would also be a fantastic tool too.

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