Thursday, May 25, 2006

A Lazy Minister

Hot on the heels of the MP who won't do his job comes the Minister who won't do theirs. Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia didn't bother seeking new funding for his department during pre-Budget negotiations. As a result, existing spending has been reallocated. The Maori party is livid, and rightly calling for Horomia's resignation, asking

If the Minister - and the Ministry - of Maori Affairs, have nothing at all that they think they can offer Maoridom, then why on earth do they exist?

And they've got a point. Parekura has the resources of the government at his disposal. And he's there to work out how to apply them to solve problems affecting Maori. If he can't think of a single way of doing this, then maybe its time for him to move on and make way for someone who can?

The irony is that it's not just the Maori Party calling for Parekura's resignation - it's National as well. That's right, the party which opposes "race-based" funding and which believes the only purpose of the Ministry of Maori Affairs is to wind itself up, and which more broadly is attacking government spending levels, is upset that a Minister didn't ask for more money. I thought that would be exactly the sort of "fiscal discipline" they'd be trying to encourage?


I think Te Puni Kokiri is basically an advisory body and doesn't spend much money directly. Horomia possibly considers that his team have adequate funds and money is better spent by frontline providers like the health and education ministries.

Cabinet Minsisters do have an overall responsibility you know - they aren't merely advocates for their departmental concerns.

Posted by Rich : 5/25/2006 09:58:00 AM

Having worked in TPK I can say that its staff do often refer to Horomia as 'a waste of space'.

That said, he mostly appears to be a great, big, squishy target on this one.

Had TPK been granted more money the Nats would have decried the 'allocation of race-based funding'.

Posted by Anonymous : 5/25/2006 11:37:00 AM

Rich wrote:
Cabinet Minsisters do have an overall responsibility you know - they aren't merely advocates for their departmental concerns.

Yes, Cabinet ministers also have a responsibility to front to select committees well-briefed, coherent and not have public temper tantrums when members have the gall to ask tough questions. I know Ministers don't like select committees as rule - especially now, when they're not reliably stacked with Government majorities.

Still, it would have been nice if someone had asked the responsible minister what exactly TPK is "well-resourced" to do. In English, not the torrent of incomprehensible 'Parekura-isms' we all know and love. I'm sure we'd all love to know, if the minister stopped thinking public accountability was beneath him.

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 5/26/2006 12:00:00 AM