Monday, February 21, 2005

Defending the indefensible

Tariana Turia steps up to defend Te Wananga o Aotearoa's indefensible practice of giving out jobs and contracts to the director's relatives. According to Turia, it's not nepotism, but "whanaungatanga" [kinship], and done because the relatives can be trusted to do the job. But while this is perfectly acceptable in private business, it is not acceptable in a government funded organisation - firstly, because there are rules on how contracts and tenders are let, which require that they be given to the best bidder (rather than the one who is a relative), and secondly because we expect public institutions to give jobs to people on merit, not blood-ties or cronyism. The latter in particular is the basis of our professional and neutral public service, and is a fundamental principle of public service organisations all around the world.

What Turia is really defending is the "right" of publicly appointed managers to turn a public organisation into a private fiefdom, and run it for their own benefit. And that is something we should not tolerate. This is not to discount the good that Te Wananga has done - boosting the rates of Maori tertiary training has been of immense benefit - but I don't see any reason why that good must come at the cost of nepotism and cronyism.


One has to wonder how she handles her own activities and her role as MP if she has that attitude.

Posted by Genius : 2/21/2005 10:47:00 AM