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NZ Budget ‘Hack’: Maklouf criticised – wet bus tickets not available


RNZ Checkpoint reports

On his last day at work, the outgoing Treasury secretary Gabriel Makhlouf has been slammed as clumsy and unreasonable in his handling of last month’s Budget breach. Deputy Political Editor Craig McCulloch reports

Slammed, but with no penalty – more like a flick on the wrist with a very wet bus ticket, but none were available.

I found the State Services Commission Report rather unconvincing, plus the terms of reference were narrow.

Let us remember Peter Hughes econonium at Maklouf’s recent offcial farewell as noted by Michael Reddell

And, of course, this was the same Peter Hughes who just two weeks ago at the gala farewell for Makhlouf, hosted by the Minister of Finance at the Beehive said

“Thank you from the people of New Zealand. Our country is a better place for your work.”

He said Makhlouf had brought “strong leadership and a great deal of personal integrity” to Treasury.

He had been “authentic and straight up” and had been calm and unflappable.

“I will certainly miss your calm authority,” Hughes said.

As I noted in a post at the time

In no conceivable universe (except perhaps some parallel one inhabited by SSC) could Makhlouf during that Budget episode be said to have displayed “calm and unflappable” leadership.  Had he done so, there’d have been no inquiry.

And the inquiry report demonstrates just how far from calm and unflappable Makhlouf’s conduct appears to have been, and how little “strong leadership” and “personal integrity” has been on display.    That gush, when Hughes must already have known much of what would be in the report –  a lot of it was in the media, some involved meetings he himself had attended –  seems both borderline dishonest, and if not then casting some doubt on the judgement of the State Services Commissioner himself.

Slammed, I do not think so and Makhlouf appears to be unrepentant and unaccepting of the report’s findings.


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