Friday, December 28, 2012

Judith Collins' budget blowout

The Herald reports that the Police's Diplomatic Protection Squad overspent their budget by more than $1 million last year - 25% of its total. This is the second year in a row of significant overspending: in 2009 - 10, they overspent by $800,000. Normally I'd be taking this as strong evidence of lax financial control on the part of the police and demanding severed heads, except that as duty Minister Judith Collins points out, its demand-driven:

"I would point out too there was in fact a Rugby World Cup during that financial year, there were a tremendous amount of dignitaries coming and going from New Zealand and, frankly, I would expect that the police should be allowed to get on with their job," she said.

Of course, all of this extra demand should have been budgeted for. But it wasn't. The DPS budget for 2010 - 11, when it was expecting all that extra demand from the Unmentionable Sporting Event was the same as it was in 2009 - 10, when it wasn't: just a tad over $4 million. The blame then belongs to politicians, who failed to increase the budget to cope, despite knowing that there would be extra spending. The Police Minister at the time? Judith Collins, of course. No wonder she's not keen on scrutiny and bitching about "nitpicking" - otherwise the media might place the blame where it really belongs: on the penny-pinching miser who failed to provide the DPS with the resources they needed to do the job.