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Tag Archives: Treasury

On V shaped recoveries, and where the Treasury’s deficit obsession will matter

I should perhaps go through some of the thinking that lay behind this Guardian articleabout not repeating austerity, because I fear there is a danger of worrying about the wrong thing. I have always been reasonably confident that we would not get an exact repeat of 2010, where the Chancellor says at the low point of a recession (i.e. before a recovery has begun) that we have to start cutting back spending because the deficit is too high. There are two reasons for that confidence. First, the...

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The budget fiasco

From the Inquiry's findings into the Treasury budget leak: 33. The Inquiry considers the senior leadership did not actively consider or promote a view of the Treasury’s appropriate obligations in relation to the production of Budget information. The organisation has faced ever increasing demands for greater volume and more complex Budget products. This resulted in: a. Managers and teams feeling they had no option but to deliver whatever was requested of them, irrespective of the impact on...

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Good advice, if they’ll take it

Treasury gets this absolutely right. You don't need feebate schemes for electric cars or emission standards for CO2, you just need carbon prices. MoT employees worked hard to convince Treasury that there was a rationale for extensive intervention in the light vehicle market through the use of a feebate scheme and the imposition of an emissions standard, which almost every other country has. Treasury officials repeatedly argued that such policies could be costly and would have a limited...

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Quote of the day: Draghi edition

ECB governor Mario Draghi raised concerns over the appointment of the new Central Bank governor, Gabriel Makhlouf, directly with the Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe, the Sunday Independent reports. The paper says the concerns centre on the fact Makhlouf has no experience working in a central bank and is not an economist. From the Irish Times. And is not an economist.Isn't it nice that there are central banks out there who think that expertise in monetary and macroeconomics is important...

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Treasury Episode IV: A New Hope

Episode 3 comes to a somewhat dark end. The State Services Commission that selected, appointed, and re-appointed Secretary Makhlouf damns his conduct in the budget hack during the press conference, but issues a more restrained report that finds the Secretary acted in good faith at all times, that his conduct was non-partisan, but that it was unreasonable in some statements made. In summary, I find that, in relation to Mr Makhlouf's written and oral media statements:a. Mr Makhlouf acted in...

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What else could he say?

Well, turns out I was at Makhlouf's farewell party, in a way. I'd been initially invited to the thing via a Treasury 'Save the Date', then uninvited for obvious reasons after I pointed out, again, the depth of deterioration at Treasury under Makhlouf's watch. The quality of policy advice has dropped substantially, as reported in Treasury's annual reports; the stakeholder surveys show declining confidence, and I think it's due to Secretary Makhlouf's administration having focused on...

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Due diligence and the Irish Central Bank

Barriers to exit are barriers to entry. If you're going to hire someone to a permanent position, you have to do a lot of due diligence. When I was on faculty at Canterbury, recruitment processes were very thorough as we appointed faculty to permanent positions - the norm in America is appointment to a limited-term position after which a faculty member may progress to tenure. So we tried to be careful. Mistakes could last for a very long time.This morning, Radio New Zealand reported that the...

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Hide the Decline

Back in April, Madison Reidy interviewed Treasury Secretary Gabriel Makhlouf about the 2017 Treasury Stakeholder survey. That interview didn't air until this morning; it's here.  I'll do my best to transcribe the relevant bit here. Makhlouf: Sometimes we haven't done a good enough job at engaging with stakeholders so they understand what we're doing and why we're doing it. I'd like to think that if we did that survey today, we'd get a better set of results.Reidy: Shouldn't you be doing...

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The long term rot

Over at The Spinoff, I go through the problems at Treasury I've been chronicling here for some time. Most of this will be familiar to loyal readers, but I do put a couple of new bits in. The Spinoff truncated a couple of bits for length ... I did go on for a while. The shorter form version is here; we have the full one over at our site.   If the Canterbury earthquakes taught us anything, it’s that the immediate response to a disaster is a very different thing from the rebuilding that has...

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Protecting the Privileged

Over at Newsroom ($), I wonder why we extend employment protections designed with vulnerable workers in mind to Chief Executives - and just what the heck does somebody have to do to be fired as a public sector Chief Executive. It used to be the case that the question of firing of public sector chiefs never even came up. Senior civil servants would themselves tender their resignations for catastrophic failures, and Ministers could accept or reject those resignations as appropriate.But when...

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