"Idealogically driven, right-wing destruction of New Zealand's public service"
Christchurch has shown how vitally important back-room officials are, and puts the lie to the nonsense espoused by the National Party (keep the front-line troops, while hollowing out the back-room staff ).
This was bought home to me after the second earthquake. I was talking to my friend, about the six or seven helicopters almost immediately located to Hagley Park.
Clearly, there was Air Traffic Control operating.
Maybe there was even a refueling depot set up. (Is this helicopter fuel? Is this the correct helicopter fuel?)
Maybe even a technician was on hand, helicopters being what they are, with heavy demands on maintenance.
So, it’s not just about the people who aim the hoses or crawl through the rubble.
Intelligence and competence are needed by the back-room, as well as at the front line.
All are needed if the machine is going to work as a whole.
“How will the government’s response to the recession and the effects of Christchurch’s earthquake affect our ability, as a country, to deal with future disasters?
And will our public service have the resilience to cope?
If we allow government infrastructure to be run-down to the point of uselessness, because of under-funding, will we be able to properly respond to the next big disaster?
Is the shocking response by the incompetent Bush administration to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans about an incapacity to effectively respond because of the U S government’s “small government” ideology, and continuous cuts to the public sector?
Or will the eventual demise of an effective public sector in New Zealand be used as an excuse to move from tax-payer subsidised public service to subsidising the private sector to provide user-pays, for-profit services in prisons, schools and even emergency response services? (1)
We were able, as a nation, to respond as effectively as we did in Christchurch because the remnants of a strong public service have not yet been completely gutted.
Are tax cuts really worth not being ready for the next natural catastrophe?
(1) Katrina King, Plimmerton, Letters column, DominionPost, March 26th
Malcolm Yeates Jollyoldsalt@gmail.com