Tuesday, December 20, 2005

And I wonder, what's the point?

Last Thursday I attended the Roy McKenzie Annual Lecture given by Marcel Lauziere, Deputy CE of the Ministry of Social Development.
The subject - Strong Families.

Lauziere is a Canadian on a two-year leave of absence from the Canadian Council on Social Development. We seem fond of importing Canadians. I'm sure we'll have better luck this time than with John Davy (Maori TV CE who turned out to be a con-artist) and more recently Paula Tyler , CYF boss, who decided to return to Canada less than a year after taking the job and consuming tens of thousands in relocation expenses.

According to Roy McKenzie's Jan Pryor, who introduced Lauziere, he was somewhat uneasy about moving from an NGO to become a bureaucrat. I'm not sure why. His track record suggests he is simply making a temporary transition from lobbying for redistribution to administering it.

He might ordinarily work in the non-govt sector but his organisation is a left-wing lobby group. He is uppermost a statist prepared to make concessions to the voluntary sector. I was disappointed.

Why? Because his speech began with promise. He admitted the audience might be surprised that he chose to talk about the need for strong families if New Zealand is to compete globally. He described economic development as going hand-in-hand with social development; they form a "virtuous circle" he said. All well and good.

But when asked what a strong family is he reverted to the typical correctness shown by academics and government wallahs, studiously avoiding mention of two parents, marriage, or work.

His speciality appeared to be childcare. This would provide the key to strong families. He wants more universal services for children, more early intervention, more government investment in children.

Here's the thing. How are we going to have these high levels of state intervention, with the attendent costs, at the same time as the kind of economic growth we need to be truly globally competitive? To be able, in Lauziere's words, "...to attract and retain talent."

Empty words I'm afraid. Still, he's already half way through his contract. He's got nothing to prove and nothing to lose.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have only just read this - some time on from when Paula Tyler resigned to return to Canada. You do yourself no favours Lindsay by making uninformed statements. There were very good personal reasons why Paula Tyler resigned and it was a huge loss to NZ and our Child Protection services. Your slagging her off is uninformed and irresponsible.