Say anything slightly critical of Jacinda Ardern and you do so at your peril. The social media trolls, or at least those who live in the Labour cave, can't abide anything close to criticism of the woman anointed by Winston Peters just over a month ago and who, not surprisingly Donald Trump thought was Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's missus.

So with her obviously not in mind there have been a couple of decisions made by her subordinates over the past week that have, or will, dip into the taxpayers' pockets, raising a few eyebrows.

The first was the establishment of the Pike River Recovery Agency that'll be given the task of weighing up, based on the evidence it gathers, whether the mine's safe to re-enter. It'll be set up from January next year and the plan is, all things being equal, to enter the mine in March 2019.

It's a way of the Government shelving responsibility and moving out of the spotlight, although the man charged with making the final re-entry decision will be Andrew Little.


Essentially it doesn't advance the issue greatly from when National was running the shop, safety has always been the key. Why on earth they have to run the agency for three years at a cost of $23 million is a little difficult to fathom.

The other relatively costly announcement was the Tax Working Group headed by former Finance Minister Michael Cullen, the mentor of the man who appointed him, Grant Robertson.

Cullen's the only member of the group announced so far, the rest will be put in place before Santa Claus makes an appearance in this part of the world we're told.

Their recommendations will be ticked off by the very people who would, or should have been well equipped to do the job anyway, Treasury. So there'll be no cost in that.

But someone stands to make a fair whack of taxable income, given the budget for the group which will sit for around a year, has been put at $4m.

Jacinda Ardern can't get off without a mention though. She surely has to share the responsibility for the final decision, holding a Labour Party caucus meeting at a venue away from Parliament but in Wellington last Friday.

Parliament was in recess last week which means politicians had to fly to the capital from all over the country to meet for around three hours, which would have cost a heap.

With Parliament back in session tomorrow, why they couldn't have held their strategic planning meeting this coming Friday when they'd be in town anyway, is beyond comprehension.