I was not at all astonished to hear Treasury head honcho Gabriel Makhlouf trumpeting diversity.
Diversity has become the new thing among the Wellington and Auckland power elite. It's nice sounding, impossible to be against and demonstrates great virtue. You can be old, white, male, bureaucratic but blowing the diversity trumpet makes you the solution, not the problem.
The power elite have trumpeted sustainability. They have trumpeted partnership. And now it is diversity's turn.
Spare a thought for those still trying to float the partnership tub. That's now old and rusty and diversity is so much better, more powerful and more inclusive. Partnership is so last decade.
Of course, outside the power elite no one cares for diversity. We didn't care for sustainability and partnership either. We are too busy making this week's payroll.
We have children to feed and bills to pay.
We have 101 government departments telling us what to do. We must daily negotiate mountains of purposeless rules and regulations both vague and contradictory.
Makhlouf has no such concerns. The government takes his pay and expenses each week out of ours and from all that we spend.
He is on the taxpayer's tab, freed up to worry about the non-problems of diversity, sustainability and partnership. He doesn't need to get the concrete poured this week. Not for him the endless and mind-numbing safety drills on building sites.
Makhlouf perfectly captures the disconnect that exists between the power elite and everyone else. "Diversity of thought", "gender diversity and inclusion" and "adding "ethnicity to the mix" are all "close to his heart".
Us? We're too busy.
If Makhlouf was serious about "diversity of thought" he would start with himself. He would spend a season milking cows. He would sweep the factory floor. He would learn how hard government makes it to be in business and employ people.
He would work at McDonald's. He would learn customer service. He would spend months on a concrete gang. He would learn what it is to build and to produce.
His mind would be expanded and his thought diversified.
He would return to Treasury changed. He would have met his customers and those who pay his way. He would have seen what a horrid and grotesque waste our government is. He would understand why the productive and civilised care not a whit for bureaucratic prattling about diversity.
Makhlouf would realise that as Treasury's head honcho he could surely be productive. He could be peeling back the wasteful red tape, taking the axe to government waste, and allowing the people who pay his way, and vote for his bosses, to keep more of what they earn.
Makhlouf proves his case. There's a great need for diversity of thought. We need the thought of the taxpayers in government, not tax eaters.