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Mike's Minute: Why do we keep defending what doesn't work?

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An industry in reportage appears to have sprouted. 

Never before have I seen such coverage of what the Government is being told about their new polices and how said polices are no good. 

What might be a bit misleading about all this reportage, apart from its increasing volume, is none of it is news. 

Everything from the Oranga Tamariki 7AA repeal, to the fast-track law, to the Waitangi Tribunal and ACT's Treaty bill, to charter schools, and to school lunches. 

Everyone who has a say has that say increasingly splashed into the media. 

The mischievous thing about this is advice like this is run of the mill. Everyone gives it. It's one of the outworkings of a Government department or a lobby group. 

But when the media was more compliant under the early days of the previous Government the fascination in advice didn’t seem to be as prevalent. 

Case in point is the so-called fast-track law. The Ministry for the Environment has given some advice. What do you think will say? 

Think about it - a fast-track bill that will build more big projects, more ministerial power, less court time, will do more and we'll talk less. Take a guess what you think their advice on this is going to be. 

They don't like it. "Ministry for the Environment warns of fast track bills significant risks" is the headline. 

What are their concerns? Diminishing local voices, it violates Treaty commitments, impacts human and environmental health, opens legal risks to ministers, is an unprecedented backdoor for prohibited projects and erodes the value of conservation land. 

They said everything you would expect them to say and nothing you couldn’t think of yourself. 

You will note the backdoor bit to prohibited projects. A project is only prohibited if it's against the law. If you change the law, it's not prohibited, is it. 

Anyway, most department could, and presumably do, roll out the same stuff. 

But the key question is, does the way we do it now work well? Do we build big projects well, on time and on budget? 

Is there a massive infrastructural deficit? Yes. So why are we working overtime to defend what doesn’t work? Is defending the unworkable more waste? 

Do we want to get on with it or not? 

Do we want this country off its knees and running, or not? 

So how about less noise, less angst, fewer papers, fewer alarmist headlines and more action. 

Imagine if we just actually got on with it. 

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