Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The game of "servants" and "masters"

So CYF workers were told the Minister of Social Development is their "master" and they are her "servants". Big deal. The minister is the 'servant' of the taxpayers but does anybody observe the implications of that? Like heck.

Consider the matter that is frustrating Annette King;

Ms King said there were wider problems of the Government blocking information and communication and said she was frustrated by poor responses to written questions and Official Information Act requests. She had also struggled to get permission to visit CYF offices.

I read the parliamentary questions, but I may as well not. The process is a total sham. Annette King can get no more information out of the Ministry of Social Development than can the general public. There is a constant refusal to answer questions and the asker is sent on a paper chase which goes like this; Refer to my reply 12345. Get to reply 12345 to be told to refer to reply 11345. Get to reply 11345 to be told that the information requested is only published quarterly and the asker should refer to fact sheets at the MSD website.

I have tried in vain via the Ombudsman to get answers to requests that were met previously. Trying to track certain trends has become near impossible.

It had been getting worse under Labour and has deteriorated further under National.

So there are two problems.

First, the current government cannot be properly held to account if they cannot be properly scrutinised. That is a corruption of open and democratic government.

Second, the players (including opposition MPs, their staff, ministry staff, staff at the office of the Ombudsman) are wasting their time and our money.

So you can now see what I mean about the relationship of servant and master being meaningless. We pay, but they say.

But I suppose as most people are National supporters they don't give a damn.

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