Saturday, November 17, 2012

Silly MBIE

What’s the point of the new Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment? What sense is there in squeezing together the disparate organisations of Building & Housing, Science and Innovation, Health & Safety, Employment Relations, Immigration, and Economic Development into one ‘super’ ministry?

Joyce says that, “the new Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment will help the Government’s business growth agenda by implementing integrated policies to build a more competitive and internationally-focused economy”, but if we want joined up policy across government and industry sectors, let’s create a central policy think tank that can operate across government and sectors, like the private think tanks do; let’s not unify the operational arms of disparate organisations to make a super organisation – that’s just plain dumb.

Joyce says that, “at present when businesses engage with government they work with multiple government agencies, which takes away valuable time, as well as incurring unnecessary duplication of effort.” But this is rubbish. New Zealand has the greatest ease of doing business of anywhere in the world. The idea that we don’t, and that this needs to be corrected, is a myth, a straw man that Joyce has erected as another excuse to proceed with his damaging pet project.

We all know that big, diverse organisations don’t work well; while small, lean organisations do. The private sector does poorly when it lumps together diverse corporations, and so does the public sector. MBIE isn’t a giant oil company, multi-national food product producer or media conglomerate, it doesn’t have the commonality of business that these large organisations need to succeed. MBIE should not be; the diverse organisations that comprise it should stay separate, and in fact should separate further to be leaner, more efficient organisations highly specialised in their fields of operation.

Joyce’s idea that MBIE will be, “a single focused business-facing government ministry,” is ludicrous - it’s not desirable to have such a single focus even for economic development, let alone science, innovation, health, safety, immigration and employment relations. The point of government is to enable the fulfilment of every member of society, and that isn’t achieved through focussing only on business.

And even if every organisation had a single, common, over-arching focus of fulfilment without harm for everyone, that still wouldn’t require merging these organisations physically into a giant one. No, specialised, separate organisations work better, even, in fact especially, when they share a common purpose. In short, the MBIE merger is unnecessary, and what's worse, a lot of people are going to be hurt because of it – just what government shouldn’t be doing.

Quotes from:


Why Is Key Right & Wrong?

He’s right because he believes everyone wants to be completely individual and independent from the state, but he’s wrong, because he believes this can happen naturally within capitalism. It can’t. Capitalism doesn’t distribute incomes equitably. It requires a shared base income so that everyone has the opportunity to make their best contribution at every stage of their lives. This doesn’t require greater government, it requires greater income sharing. There's a difference.