Thursday, June 27, 2019

An unreasonable arse-coverer

The State Services Commission has released its report into Treasury Secretary Gabriel Makhlouf's handling of treasury's budget security failure. And it is not good:

Outgoing Treasury secretary Gabriel Makhlouf was "clumsy", unreasonable and fell "well short" of expectations in his handling of the Budget data breach, a government report has found.


The Commission's report - released today - said Mr Makhlouf did not act reasonably in his use of the word "hacked" or his subsequent explanations to media.

That included the use of a "bolt analogy" in an interview with RNZ's Morning Report.

State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes said Mr Makhlouf should have publicly taken responsibility for the failure rather than focusing on the searchers of the website.

The full report is here. It finds that Makhlouf acted in good faith, despite being unreasonable, but also that he has some pretty weird beliefs about the government convention of budget secrecy being somehow binding on the rest of us. Because of this, Makhlouf and Treasury were "focused on the actions of the person or persons who had accessed the material, rather than on the deficiencies in their own systems" - which is pretty convenient if you're trying to avoid blame for a fuckup.

So what happens now? This is Makhlouf's last day, so there's no effective employment remedy against him. But hopefully the Irish will be looking at this report and considering whether they really want to employ an unreasonable arse-coverer, or whether they want someone who is more interested in the public interest (rather than their own).