Friday, February 24, 2012

Charter Consulates...

I see our government has just announced another round of cuts to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, this time targeting 305 staff and a projected fiscal saving of $20-25 million. We're also closing a number of European embassies (y'know, those in one of our major trading areas), and replacing consular assistance for overseas Kiwis with a call-center.
The next logical step is to follow in the footsteps of Empire by privatizing and outsourcing our foreign representation in a manner akin to the British East India Company. ACT's already proposed "Charter Schools" ... why not Charter Consulates.

These cuts are intended to save something like $20 million per annum. The question I'm asking myself is how much it's actually going to cost us fiscally or otherwise over the next few decades for these small-scale savings.
MFAT exists in part to do things like negotiating the trade contracts that help us add value to the Kiwi economy. That's why there's an "and Trade" in its name. Surely reducing the ministry's staff by about 22% is not going to make it more efficient at "bringing home the bacon".

Right-wing propagandist David Farrar is calling these cuts "arguably the most significant restructuring of a major public sector agency since the revolutionary reforms of the 1980s". With such vehement praise flowing from the hard right, I'm thus instinctively inclined to question why anyone would think them to be such a good idea.

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