Monday, 27 June 2022


Kate MacNamara reports on problems at the Productivity Commission:

The Productivity Commission delivered a new inquiry into immigration last month, at the same time that it is facing its own story of migration: an exodus. It involves a string of departures that have not yet been stemmed by an independent HR investigation and a slew of recommended remedies.

A distinct wave of resignations began in February last year, when two of the independent Crown entity's principal advisers left. In subsequent months they were followed out the door by six more staffers, including two lynchpin managers, each of whom had been directing one of the commission's two inquiries of the time. The eight departures in 2021 made up more than half the commission's 15 employees (the head count as of January 1, 2021, including one part-timer).

An HR review called late last year found problems at the commission including a troubled transition under the leadership of Ganesh Nana, who became chair on February 1, 2021. It also found an uneasy relationship between the new chair and many staff, especially senior ones. While efforts to improve staff retention are underway, at least four more employees have resigned from the commission in the first half of this year. Of the senior leadership team described in commission documents at this time last year, only one of the five remains.

It's well worth reading the whole thing. 

Kate picks up what I'd considered to be the most scathing part of the Review.

Under the heading "staff engagement with the Commissioners", the report found: "With two Commissioners being relatively new, a greater level of presence and interaction with staff, both formal and informal, would help build the relationship to support communication and the interchange of information and ideas. This is especially important for the Chair, with some staff having limited understanding of how he sees his role and what he brings, both as an economist and as a person."


I'd also received the Review by OIA. If you wanted to read the full report, I've put it up here. Not sure if ProdComm has it more widely available. 

I still remember when BERL was a swear-word in Treasury, for stuff like its report on alcohol costs...

MacNamara's piece is well worth the Herald subscription charge, if you want to learn more about the gutting of Wellington's institutions. 

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