Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson will become the informal minister of government delivery, thanks to a newly created ‘implementation unit’ within the powerful Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministry, or DPMC.
The move comes after a term of government in which several important plans collapsed during their implementation – including KiwiBuild and the light rail in Auckland – and is inspired by a unit put in place by British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Robertson will announce the unit on Tuesday in a pre-budget speech in Wellington, but its existence was revealed in a job posting seeking someone to lead the small team at DPMC.
DPMC is the nerve center of government; Although the organization performs a number of tasks, its main function is to provide the Prime Minister and his cabinet with the highest quality advice. It is unusual for other ministers to have their own teams within DPMC.
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The job posting says the “small team” will support Robertson to “ensure the implementation of key government priorities”, and to step in and “facilitate appropriate responses when implementation is threatened”.
It is understood that the Prime Minister asked Robertson to create the unit shortly after the election, when she appointed him Deputy Prime Minister.
National leader Judith Collins said the need for unity itself shows the government is not succeeding.
“It sounds like a vote of no confidence [Robertson’s] The ability of Cabinet colleagues to deliver which is no surprise after four years of non-delivery, ”Collins said.
“Add it to the list of things Grant Robertson is taking control of.”
Robertson is Ardern’s closest ally both in government and in the Labor Party at large. She appointed him chief electoral officer in the 2013 Labor leadership and ran as his deputy in the 2014 race.
The unit is somewhat inspired by the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit established in the UK by Blair during his second term in government, to monitor progress on key UK Labor Party campaign priorities. Ardern herself worked in Blair’s Cabinet office.
DPMC consulted with Delivery Associates, established by the chief architect of Blair’s unit, Sir Michael Barber, on the creation of the New Zealand version.
Barber’s Delivery Associates aims to export Blair’s unit methodology across the world.
The firm promises on its website to use “livrology” to “help the government get things done.”
“We find that governments typically spend 90% of their efforts on policy and only 10% on implementation. We think we should reverse that emphasis. We help leaders implement and solve problems more effectively to achieve tangible results for the people they serve. “
The unit will be funded from the 2021 budget.
A request under the Official Information Act made by Thing The DPMC, which requested the official opinion on the implementation, was rejected as the matter was under review.