No gain from unnecessary cuts to Government staff


They are called bureaucrats. To many people they are an unknown army working away in bland Government offices on tasks that might seem dull and mundane to many. However by the laws under which this country functions, those tasks have to be done and without which, many of the services and core functions of Government would simply grind to a halt.

I am talking here about several different categories of people in each company, each organization, each branch of government whose role is necessary to perform the tasks deemed necessary by the  companies, the organizations, the Government agencies/councils/ministry’s in order to comply with the law. I am talking about the accountants who handle the finances, the I.T., the laboratory technicians if one is working for anywhere that requires solid scientifically recorded data such as water quality samples, the Geographic Information System (G.I.S.) analysts who try to interpret data on a temporal and spatial scale, as well as the Human Resources and a host of others. All of these people are needed to ensure that a Government agency works effectively and that without them a significantly larger number of Government bodies will not perform the statutory requirements (i.e. ones required by the law).

Are bureaucrats perfect? Of course not, and some really are quite colourless people just interested in doing their job, collecting their pay and going home.  How many people actually bother to stop and check their facts before loosing off a barrage of verbal and written rockets, that are improperly aimed? My guess is not that many.

I suppose you could have called me a bureaucrat in 2008-2011, when I was working at Environment Canterbury. Unless you were one of my colleagues, a friend or a relative you would not have known about the reports I helped to write, the maps I helped to make, the time I spent in the field collecting data. You could not have known about the reasoning behind the tasks that I did. But they all had a purpose. Some were things like making sure Environment Canterbury had a register of all of it groundwater monitoring devices in the field. Others were mundane filing jobs.

If a Ministry comes up with report on a subject and it looks like it was written by a university student, have a look beyond the fact that the Ministry needs to have staff who can write properly. Have a look at how and why the Ministry in question managed to put out such a report. Is it properly staffed? Do the staff know what they are supposed to be doing and why? Are they being given adequate training and support? If the answer to any of those questions is no, perhaps those mass lay offs of planners and analysts was not such a smart idea after all.

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