David Seymour makes no bones about his desire to clean up the grossly excessive bureaucracy.

Some of his expressed goals, such as wiping out the farcical Women’s Affairs Department, an agency set up in the 1980s by the then Labour Government as a sop to Labour’s left, angry at Rogernomics, is easily disposed of.

Who can forget the TV News interview with its then boss showing off their new offices. When she was asked what they will be doing, replied they’d written to various people asking for ideas.

I wrote on this Blog not long ago how the office building they occupy was on the market. My Wellington office chaps had looked at it and reported the Women’s Affairs office was empty as its staff were all allegedly “working from home”.

This “working from home” racket is what Seymour must end. It’s why some Departments are notorious for their inefficiency, such as Immigration. I could list many more I’m familiar with in my company’s buildings.

Another on Seymour’s hit list is the ludicrous Human Rights and Race Relations Office, both housed in one of my company’s Auckland buildings. They constitute a massive waste of public money.

But most of all Seymour should put an end to the farcical working from home racket, a flow-on from the Covid lockdowns.

A couple of weeks back a Los Angeles university published their findings from an extensive study of this WFH nonsense.

They found an overall loss of 18% in productivity. Co-incidentally, that same week’s Guardian made working from home their principal cover story. The best they could say about it were that those indulging in it liked it, which is stating the obvious.

It’s been sustained solely by labour shortages, mainly with entities employing large numbers of people. But increasingly these firms are striking back and demanding a return to the office.

Musk, a huge employer, had the right idea when a year back he said you either work in the office or you’re out. They returned to work.

Seymour will not be able to properly address the public service issues until everyone’s back at work. Ending this WFH racket should be the first step.


Dido….offices and carparks are largely empty on Fridays, on the misconception people are working from home….which is nothing more than a tui ad…an extended weekend makes much more sense..and can you imagine what the rugby World cup will do to this…

And another thing, for some reason sick days are at an all time high, when for the most part flu and colds are spread in shared office environments…

How could that be when office occupation is at an low?…

Not hard to join the dots, and those who have been sucking the teet are in for a wake up call…

18% productivity loss… Why thats basically a day a week…… Working from home requires discipline and can work for process orientated jobs if the works has clear daily and weekly tatrgets to meetor for professional tasks like writing planning documents etc.

WFH as its know is a deadset waste for any work requiring collaboration or genuine team problem solving etc…. Anything where nuance and reading another persons body language are also very hard via zoom or teams….

All government workers should be at work in the office 5 days a week… Not doing the gardening with a bluetooth or wifi headset on while pretending to be working…

fighting temeraire August 25, 2023 at 4:20 pm

The whole Public Service needs a kick in the rear. It alos needs to see the film star salaries reduced.

You know it’s a rort when they all have their home office in front of the TV or refrigerator.

Councillor Ray Chung August 26, 2023 at 12:20 pm

Interesting article Bob. The WCC hosted a 20-strong ministerial delegation from Vietnam a few weeks ago and I had a long one-on-one discussion with Minister Nguyen on this subject and they found over 60% of civil servants working from home were less efficient so they’ve now ordered them back to the office. 20% of their staff were “outside staff” so the benefit to them of WFH was they could go directly to their work outside of the office instead of going to the office first which increased productivity.

Interesting how we can learn from “developing” countries isn’t it? And a communist one to boot!

I couldn’t agree more. I play at a golf club (near London) with two courses, both of which have been bloody full for the past three years. You don’t have to be an intellectual giant to connect the dots.

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