Warning – here follows a rant not at all related to my usual subject matter!

We’ve seen some governmental debacles in the last few days. Firstly the New Zealand taxpayer agreed (or their representatives did anyway) to buy the rail network back off Toll holdings. Bear in mind that this is the same rail network we sold years ago, it’s fallen into disrepair and is under-utilised. It appears that the selling party played a bluffing game, feigning reluctance to sell in order to ratchet up the price.

In any private sector setting this sort of game-playing would be picked up by the other side. In a situation where the negotiation is occurring headed by elected representatives with very little real world experience, and in positions of power vastly greater than their skills, experience and ability would deserve what happened? The said negotiators took the bait – hook, line and sinker – paying what analysts believe is an over-inflated price for the business.

Not only that but it now appears the deal was full of insider trading, whereby the managing director of Toll holdings personally bought a large parcel of shares only days before the deal was inked – his personal windfall is estimated at over $300k.

And then today it appears the the former head of a large government department had a fictitious PhD on her CV. Again in the real world CV’s are checked for authenticity – one can only surmise that the powers that be who hired this employee were so excited by the letter PhD that they omitted to do standard due diligence.

So what’s the answer then? Well perhaps electing representatives with a bit of nous would be a start, moving to a model where politicians and civil servants where accountable for their actions would be another.

Either way we have an ongoing saga of ineptitude.

Right – that’s off my chest now…..

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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