Now For The 'Bad' News!
Thursday, August 15, 2019 at 1:07PM
Bill Barclay

In the space of one week, we have managed to accumulate five magnificent examples of how our public services (and Fonterra) can 'stuff-up' in a magnificent fashion, and accountability is somehow absent, excepting for the Chief Statistition who has taken her 'medicine,' and walked.

None of these are related, though they do, in common, indicate a disturbing lack of intelligence in our public services,  and famer-dominated Board. All of these reports are taken from various sources in both Newsroom, and the Herald  and are have been 'cross-checked.'

Prison Letters (Newsroom)

"Christchurch terror accused Brenton Tarrant has been exchanging letters with at least one member of a far-right message board from prison, where he is awaiting trial for the murder of 51 people.

The Department of Corrections has confessed Tarrant's letter should not have been allowed to leave the prison, while the Government has signalled it may crack down on the ability of prisoners like him to correspond with the outside world as a result.

Corrections chief executive Christine Stevenson said the letter should not have been able to leave the prison, and apologised for "the distress that this has caused to those impacted by the tragic events of 15 March".

Pastoral Leases (by David Williams)

"Criticised for years for mis-managing Crown pastoral lease farms, it was rapped over the knuckles by incoming minister Eugenie Sage for granting discretionary consents that allowed out-of-kilter intensive farming in some areas – including the fragile Mackenzie Basin – wrecking some areas with significant values. LINZ was seen as a soft touch on farmers, especially under a National-led Government.

LINZ, the agency responsible for managing more than 1.2 million hectares of Crown pastoral land through 167 leases, did no specific inspections for consent compliance, either itself or through contractors, for three straight financial years – between July 2015 and June 2018. Either side of those three years, it managed only 11 inspections in total.

Fonterra Board Failure by Patrick Smel;ie

"Fonterra's failure is most damningly a two decade record of failure by its board, supported throughout by compliant farmer-shareholders whose self-interest has prevented New Zealand's largest company from achieving its potential.

Created by politics with its own act of Parliament, Fonterra has always had one eye on Wellington and one hand tied behind its back thanks to farmer-shareholders' insistence that the primary measure of success be the annual milk price and a requirement to pick up any and all milk.

It is also becoming belatedly clear that two chairmen for most of Fonterra's existence since 2001 – Henry van der Heyden and the now-deceased John Wilson – acted as command-and-control executive chairs.

Evidence that can only be pieced together suggests they paid scant regard to governance norms that even the lowliest charity would ensure occurred: namely, strategic discussions and succession planning.

Former directors report there being no serious strategy sessions at board level under both chairs and no serious discussion of developing the next generation of directors and senior executives."

Police Lose Car (and Glocks!)

"Police in Gore are looking for a man who rammed two patrol cars before getting away on foot armed with the officers' pistols.

In a dramatic pursuit late last night, officers tried to stop a car shortly before midnight.

Instead of stopping for police, however, the driver rammed the patrol car before running off. A police officer chased after him - also on foot.

The man then circled back around, stolen the patrol vehicle, which had the keys left in it, and rammed another police car before abandoning the vehicle a short while later.

The Armed Offenders Squad was also called upon, as was a police helicopter.

Authorities said two police-issued Glock pistols were stolen.

Police say the man "remains at large".

Census ‘Stuff-up’ (Herald Editorial)

"It is in our view that the focus on online responses and overly optimistic view of 'Stay the course. The paper will come', led to insufficient action being taken at the appropriate time," they said.

The report also concluded:

• There was too much focus on the online work and not enough testing

• The design of the survey was feasible but the problem was how it was carried out

• The budget was big enough – but more funding was needed to cover risks for the change of approach

• Leadership lacked strategic direction and there was too much optimism.

• The field workforce was too small – only about 40 per cent of the size of that in 2013.

• There was not enough preparation for offline results – for example only 4800 bilingual packs were printed, making it difficult for Maori to engage.

• The costs and impact of the North Canterbury earthquake – which closed Statistics NZ's offices in November, 2016 – were underestimated.




Article originally appeared on BillBarcBlog (
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