on the Hunn Report
from The Jobs Letter No.124 / 19 May 2000
" A line should be drawn under the first 18 months of DWI's existence and a second stage
of organisation design and development commenced.
" Maharey gave Don Hunn the task of giving or witholding the organisation's "warrant of
fitness". Mr Hunn has found the job less straightforward than that. Winz is safe on the road,
he suggests, but it needs a substantial refit. The government owner must now get the repairs
done and point the restyled "Department of Work and Income" in the right direction..."
" Vehicle OK, but the driver fails."
" The fact that the Chief Executive and the majority of the senior managers were drawn from
one of the partners, reinforced the dominance of the larger over the smaller. A significant
proportion of those who participated in the process assert that it was not a merger but a takeover, so
that there was no fusion of what were quite different styles and cultures but the preeminence of one
at the expense of the other a phenomenon which is often the accompaniment of attempted
mergers. The result in the succeeding months was the departure of some key personnel and the loss
of their institutional memory particularly on the employment side ..."
" Mr Hunn sketches out a way forward for the department as it adapts to the
newly-elected Government's policies in welfare and employment. I am confident that Work and Income
will recognise the points that Mr Hunn makes in the report ...
" Based on its track record, the government will now ignore this report because it does not
like what it says. It's no different to any other reports they have commissioned..."
" Anyone who has met Christine Rankin recognises that she is very positive about Winz and
is determined to make it a successful organisation ... She should be left to get on with the job
of making Winz an effective organisation that helps New Zealanders get into work and ensure
they are paid the benefits they are entitled to."
" Mr Maharey was outspokenly critical of Ms Rankin and her management style while in
opposition. Upon becoming the Minister of Social Services and Employment, Parliamentary
Questions revealed that he received high level legal advice, including from the Solicitor General,
regarding the impact of those statements.
" I am not surprised that Winz staff are calling for greater local flexibilty to meet the needs of
job seekers, however the Greens hold serious doubts that Winz staff have the expertise required
to handle employment placement and job creation. Obviously the department will need to recruit
or train more people with the appropriate skills to empower people to look for jobs and not
to punish them, as they have currently been trained to do...
" NZ First welcomes a renewed emphasis on public service implicit in the name change sought
for Winz, but urges the department not to get involved in another round of corporate "branding". It
is a change of the organisation's culture that is required, not a cosmetic and potentially costly
name change. It is in all of our interests that public confidence in this organisation is quickly
" The Hunn review does not delve into the excesses of the corporate culture or Mrs
Rankin's love-the-company style of management. But like a probation report on a delinquent child, it
paints a rather graphic picture of a disturbed history. It explains why Winz appeared so
dysfunctional and notched up such a bad record in such a brief time.
" The CEO of a government department wants to throw a shindig at Taupo for corporate
disciples. The cost is estimated at $160,000. She cancels it, suspends the organiser and then
spends about the same amount on PR experts and lawyers to explain why its not her fault. Then
she presides over a humungous student loans fiasco despite assuring the government that she
can handle it. No sweat.
" The final Winz report seems to be such a pathetic version of the draft that it runs the risk
of being useless. No one is being blamed or needs to take responsibility for anything. It seems
that lawyers have sanitised it out of recognition in terms of finding out what is wrong.