Monday 10 June 2019

Hide the Decline

Back in April, Madison Reidy interviewed Treasury Secretary Gabriel Makhlouf about the 2017 Treasury Stakeholder survey. That interview didn't air until this morning; it's here

I'll do my best to transcribe the relevant bit here.
Makhlouf: Sometimes we haven't done a good enough job at engaging with stakeholders so they understand what we're doing and why we're doing it. I'd like to think that if we did that survey today, we'd get a better set of results.

Reidy: Shouldn't you be doing these measures again this year? You do it every two years.

Makhlouf: Oh we've done, umm, I don't know if we are going to do it again this year.

Reidy: Is that because you had such a poor performance last time that you're not going to measure it this time around?

Makhlouf: No it's because we're actually implementing a whole bunch of changes which we want once we've got to a particular point in our change program that we'll then want to assess how that's impacting so it's just a question of timing as to when we do it.

Reidy: It's all good and well to say to me that you know you think you've changed and that the perception of what the Treasury does and is is now better but wouldn't you want that in hard numbers?

Makhlouf: No no no I will do, I just said, I think it's just a question of time of when we do that.
I wonder whether that survey is yet underway. I was a respondent in prior years' iterations, and that would have been about this time of year. I expect RNZ will be following up to see whether the 2019 survey has yet been started.

The worries aren't Just Eric. I'm just the only one willing to have my name on it. Reidy followed up, as is eminently sensible.
Other top economists RNZ Business spoke to - who did not want to be named - shared the concern and frustration over Treasury's apparent weakened performance.
Independent think tanks are important.

Update: Reidy clarifies a bit further on Twitter, in response to criticism that she shouldn't have been talking to me because neoliberals, and that everyone else required anonymity.
The *all* seems significant.

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