A time must come when this election becomes as simple as the decision shareholders make when their company is failing while competitors are thriving.
Damaging managers can be brilliant at managing "shareholder relations". They win communicator prizes. If the management team gang up effectively, even the directors will not know for years how bad they are. But finally shareholders get sick of excuses and promises for the future. They sack ‘the devil they know’ when the bottom line can’t be ignored.
Labour has been outstanding at political management. Political journalists admire those self-preservation skills, and may assume that they signify similar skill in management. Labour’s dearth of constructive management ability has also been masked by hiring thousands of extra staff. In some areas despite the extras and despite spending 40% more overall, less is now acheived than before (e.g. health and education).
In business the lack of skill is uncovered in the end. The boss who lacks experience and simple business management skills is eventually uncovered by competitive failure.
Headlines from the last three days’ newspapers suggest the day must be getting close when Labour’s management weakness can no longer be masked by their political management skills..
Can’t sail, can’t fly, can’t fight as a verdict on 9 years management of Defence is devastating.
Kiwis get half the pay of Aussies in the same jobs has the same message.
Reporting on SOE’s ‘lacks transparency’ is a pathetic headline for a damning report of utter incompetence in managing the Crown’s businesses. Mark Weldon describes the disclosed return on state businesses as "an absolutely disgraceful performance". The Select Committee says mildly that the government does not know how it is performing because performance and public accountability were not considered relevant or important.
More pithily the DomPost quotes a research analyst saying the private sector could not do a worse job than CCMAU "even if we were drunk in charge". That is most unlikely to be the fault of the CCMAU officials. It will be a reflection of what they were asked to do (or more importantly not to do).
Wellingtonians reminded of our health service disadvantage by the DomPost (we wait twice as long as Aucklanders for heart operations) will not be comforted by Thursday’s Herald editorial (though it explains why we’re being flown to Australia rather than Auckland) Five years after an "efficiency reorganisation" of public cardiac services Auckland is getting 20% less done than before.
"This week, the Auckland District Health received a report that ought to put health officials to shame. The number of cardiovascular operations in Auckland has declined by a fifth in the five years since the move from Green Lane."
Businesses do get mesmerising leaders who lead into decline and failure. With careful information management, and schmoozing of their boards they often postpone being sacked until everyone outside their business can’t believe they are still in charge. Eventually they get oblivion.
Unfortunately MMP may preserve Labour’s poltical managers from oblivion. No doubt they’ll spend the next few years firing criticism at their successors, and being rehabilitated by their media mates.
The same journalists who’ve seen no evil for 9 years (barring what they see as a few minor slips and bad luck) will serve up every fault in National’s management as a headline catastrophe.
That’s the future. In the meantime this government must go for straightforward incompetence.