I can’t say I was too surprised to read this Radio NZ article yesterday:
A Ministry-commissioned report last year by consulting firm The Institute of Economic Research found 21 of 60 pieces of advice to the transport minister and the Cabinet were communicated in a borderline or poor way.
While it noted the Ministry’s comprehensive technical knowledge, it said there had been lapses of judgement.
The Ministry is required to save almost $1 million a year and since the 2010/11 financial year the number of policy staff has dropped from 107 full time equivalent employees to 90.
Ministry spokesperson Gareth Chaplin says despite this they can improve their policy advice by working together.
The report cited one paper that seemed intent on embarrassing the transport minister by reminding him of officials’ advice from the distant past and his comments from two years ago. The report said this type of telling off makes officials look churlish.
Other reviewed papers were deemed pointless.
The Ministry’s ignorance of the impact of higher oil prices, their willful disregard for a seven year trend of near flat traffic volumes and the hatchet job they did on the City Rail Link business case make me very unsurprised to hear that there are concerns about the quality of MoT’s work.
You can listen to the accompanying radio piece here.