“Chris Hipkins’ reaction to the Wood affair – hiring more people and making more rules that won’t actually solve the problem – is a perfect case study in why government costs so much and achieves so little”, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“New rules in response to the Michael Wood saga will mean more bureaucracy and more bureaucrats, but it won’t solve any underlying problem.

“The issue in the Wood case wasn’t that the rules were inadequate, it was his personal failings.

“You can hire all the staff and make all the rules you like, but if Ministers aren’t able or willing to tell you what conflicts they have, or they don’t respond to repeated requests to manage them, nothing will change.

“Officials in the Cabinet Office and new transparency staff in Ministers’ offices don’t know what they don’t know. Under the old rules, it was up to Ministers to be open and transparent. Under the new rules, it will be up to Ministers to be open and transparent.

“Newshub reports:

‘The Cabinet Office will now be responsible for quarterly reports to the Prime Minister of any conflicts. There'll be a new escalation process if ministers refuse to engage or follow the advice of the Cabinet Office. The Prime Minister will conduct face-to-face annual reviews of conflicts with all ministers and each minister will have one person in their office nominated to be across their conflicts. At the start of every Cabinet meeting, there will be a conflict disclosure.’

“How did we get an extra 15,000 bureaucrats? Because every time there’s a problem, Labour responds with more bureaucracy and bureaucrats.

“Hipkins’s reaction to the Wood saga is yet another example of why government costs so much and achieves so little. We just keep adding rules and bureaucrats and that approach doesn’t work.

“The fundamental problem here isn’t the rules, it’s the people.

“Labour is showing it’s not cut out for governing. Stuart Nash, Michael Wood, Kiri Allan, and Meka Whaitiri have all resigned or been sacked in recent months. Labour’s Ministers just aren’t up to their jobs.

“The way things are going, Labour is going to run out of Ministers before October. If Hipkins doesn’t have the talent to keep a Government running he should bring the election forward and let New Zealanders pick a Government that is up to the job.

“More likely, if we want real change, New Zealanders will need to fire them all.”

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