By Wayne Brown
It's annual awards time. We have sports awards, business awards, music awards, Oscars etc and I know you are all waiting to see which government entity was most annoying to taxpayers and provided the worst value for their cost and in so doing pick up the 2017 Drongo Award.
As usual there was a crowded field peopled by thousands of bureaucrats busy wrecking our lives and passing more and more idiotic cost-causing rules, often hidden behind such motherhood and apple-pie words such as safety, health, consultation, inclusiveness, public well-being, governance etc.
Some of the usual finalists managed to get themselves out of the limelight this year. A good example being CYFS whose profile was lower than usual, probably as they improve to get ready for the new Ora Tamariki.
Others such as health did manage to spoil their improving records with some late DHB embarrassment such as Waikato's chairman failing to manage the CEO and Dunedin somehow reckoning that a new hospital is needed at $1.6 billion, only four times the cost of Auckland City Hospital that serves more than 10 times as many people.
There is a sub-branch of the awards for local government which is keenly sought after by all those councils who never deliver a building consent on time (and Northland is well represented here), plus those that poison their ratepayers who are foolish enough to drink the town water supply, but the winner of this section has to be Auckland City with 300 public relations and communication staff and several thousand on six-figure incomes as they work to support rich yachties and fill in the harbour.
In the main section it is interesting to note that the finalists are all proteges of our most over-rated politician, being Steven Joyce.
NZTA, the messenger of his beloved Roads of National Party Significance, made the finals by managing to squander $30 million, believe it or not on the application for a resource consent to build the East/West Highway through Auckland, a project that didn't last a single day under the new government, but the biggest showing in the finals for the Drongo came from the ludicrously titled Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the three things it was set up to prevent.
This Stalinist mega department formed by Steven Joyce for which the public think MBIE stands for Many Bureaucrats Interfering Everywhere contains truly shocking bureaucracies, in particular Building and Housing and NZ Petroleum and Minerals.
Recent announcements that the last Government was hiding the true size of the housing crisis was astoundingly met by claims from MBIE that they should have even more to do with fixing the problem.
Any builder will tell you that the proliferation of idiotic rules from the 800 drones in Building and Housing has caused not only increased costs but more importantly massive delays in processing of building consents as councils have been warned off any pragmatic common-sense decision making in favour of religiously kept box-ticking of the stupid stuff from MBIE whose reign of terror has now got the already timid building inspectorate totally scared of any decision making at all. Result - less houses, stalled regional economies, thanks MBIE.
All those greenies worried about mining needn't bother any protesting as NZP&M is doing the job for them. Ask any holder of a prospecting licence. They will tell you that the combination of totally inept Maori consultation coupled with their love of form filling and sending of huge fee accounts while preventing any access agreements to be put in place has done the job of stopping even looking for mining sites in its tracks. All this for only $250k per year for their senior staff.
So the winners of the Drongo awards go to MBIE with Building and Housing taking top honours from NZP&M.