Being in Government is about making decisions that will help create progress and success for New Zealanders now and into the future.
It’s important for taxpayers to know that the decisions we make with their money deliver real results for New Zealanders.
That’s why, when we were in government, National introduced the Better Public Service (BPS) targets. These were about making sure that as a Government we could be transparently accountable for the decisions we made about spending – and the impact we made on New Zealanders’ lives.
The targets provided public servants with a clear focus on what they needed to do to improve lives and allowed us to see exactly what kind of difference the money we invested was making for real people.
The impact that the targets have had on our public service and on the lives of individual New Zealanders has been immense.
They have helped lead to measurable gains in everything from 60,000 fewer children in benefit-dependent households, a 31 per cent reduction in youth crime, and halving the proportion of 18-year-olds not achieving NCEA Level 2.
But despite all this, the new Government wants to get rid of them.
That is a recipe for dumb, lazy government.
It will mean less focus for public servants and less accountability for the Government. Taxpayers will no longer know whether their money is making a difference for New Zealanders.
It seems that all we can expect from this Government over the next few years is a fog of commissions, inquiries, reviews and working groups – in other words, a lot of bureaucratic bluster and not much change in the lives of those who desperately need it.
It’s hard to fathom why the Government wouldn’t want to have a clear target to reduce the number of children admitted to hospital with avoidable disease. Or to have a measureable aim of enrolling 90 per cent of women with a lead maternity carer by the end of their first trimester.
We know that Labour has always disliked the public accountability that goes with this strong focus on getting results and now they are leaping on the opportunity to scrap that accountability.
Instead, we are likely to see them shift to higher-level longer-term targets that don’t apply to anyone in particular and for which no in particular can be held accountable.