We might have the first single party majority government in decades, but the government is always in coalition with its public service bureaucrats.
And the bureaucracy is under the pump with the Ardern administration’s ambitious reform agenda.
With the constant presence of Covid-19, the public service is working around the clock to an arduous task with brutal timeframes. The work programme has seen the Finance Minister call time on any new reforms. There is simply no capacity in the public service to take on more load.
Climate change is a big part of this. Speaking to a public sector audience in Wellington recently, Climate Change Commission Chair Rod Carr said to forget any plans of a holiday between now and the UN Climate Conference in Glasgow on 1 November. There’s so much work to do in a short space of time to coordinate and deliver on the Government’s response to the Commission’s first package of advice.
When it comes to the detail and delivery of reforms, the doing is done by public servants. Many of today’s haven’t yet experienced the sort of large-scale generational reform we’re seeing in health, resource management, water, local government and climate change.
So on the eve of Budget 2021, spare a thought for the Government’s permanent coalition partner – the unsung heroes responsible for realising and delivering on the hugely ambitious reform agenda.