May 31, 2008

Should Parker Shoulder All The Blame?

A reader has suggested that we post a comment we made yesterday to this question from a reader


Hive Re Parker - the question is how has the Cabinet allowed itself to be led into so many policy disasters?Hodgson showed that climate change was a powder keg, surely after the 'burning cheque' there was huge incentive to watch this issue like a hawk?It's all very well to blame Parker, but he is still relatively junior. So who has been counselling him on his policy ambitions and watching the political impact?If no-one has, you can hardly blame him alone - the blame surely lies much further up. insider

Our answer

This has bothered us also. Part of the problem is that we have officials telling Government what they want to hear as opposed to the truth. The problem seems to be that Parker has been driving the officials to deliver a particular outcome and they have delivered. Trouble is they haven't properly considered the politics around likely outcomes. That is not their job, that is Parker's. The other problem is that this issue is incredibly complex. We are almost full time on it now so understand most of what is going on. But for Helen and Heather and Cullen this has until recently been just a fraction of what they do each day. Helen has sent Maarten Wevers in to find out what is going on and Cullen has involved himself more. They were a bit worried about Parker's handling of this issue but the Select Committee evidence panicked them. No one had told them the likely consequences.The other problem is that they put together a pack of yesmen (with a couple of yeswomen) in the form of the climate change leadership forum to advise government on the issue. So again the forum has been largely (with a couple of exceptions) been telling the government what it wants to hear. There is a huge disconnect between the forum and the select commitee evidence.We agree this is a systemic problem but Parker will be the fall guy. The whispering from level 9 has already begun. Just wait for the first powercut. Our guess is that Charles Chauvel [current chair of the F&E select committee handling the ETS issue] will get both energy and climate change portfolios in about 5 weeks.