Friday, 28 August 2015

Paula Rebstock jack of all trades, master of none.



Have you heard of Paula Rebstock? She is a handpicked National Party clone. The Nats have paid her hundreds of thousands of dollars to enquire into and recommend ‘Neoliberal’ answers to New Zealand’s woes and run down social services and even the railways.
Paula is an Auckland-based economist and company director and is currently deputy chairwoman of the New Zealand Railways Corporation and chair of the Insurance & Savings Ombudsman Commission and the Probation Expert Panel. Amongst many directorship roles and memberships, she is also the Financial Performance Auditor for Nga Puhi Trust Board, the Lead Reviewer for the Review of the Crown Law Office, Ministries of MPIA, MWA, CLO, DOL, DOC and ERO. She was formerly Chair of the Commerce Commission and a Director of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology. 
Here is what Chris Trotter said about her in a blog:
“I MUST CONFESS to being unimpressed by Paula Rebstock. The only time I have ever encountered her in the flesh was at a seminar organised by the Child Poverty Action Group’s Susan St John. Ms Rebstock mumbled through a page or two of deadly-dull bureaucratese, failed to answer a couple of questions, and left. This lacklustre performance confirmed my view of Ms Rebstock as, ideologically-speaking, a safe pair of hands. Her review of New Zealand’s welfare system is as bloodless a piece of neoliberal “analysis” as any right-wing government could hope for – and its ramifications are still reverberating through beneficiary households across New Zealand.
Chris has hit the nail on the head…but he is not the only one with doubts about Rebstock’s one tracked neoliberalist’ mind-set. Metiria Turei Co-Leader of the Green Party had this to say back in April 2015 just after Anne Tolley the strange new Minister of Social Development took over from another Paula…Paula Bennett. Here is what Metiria had to say:
 
The CYF review – an exercise in predetermination?
“Child Youth and Family (CYF) has a troublesome history of underperformance and botched care and protection cases, the most recent being its abject failure, along with the Police, to address the Roastbusters sexual abuse allegations with any semblance of professionalism.
So when Social Development Minister Anne Tolley announced a high level review of CYF last week, my first thought was “It’s about time! I’ve been asking for this to happen for years.”
But on looking at the composition of the Minister’s Expert Review Panel and its terms of reference, my momentary elation rapidly turned to dire concern about what the review will recommend.
The Review Panel will be chaired not by someone with a background in child protection or youth justice issues, but by Paula Rebstock, an economist with a reputation as a privatiser and cost-cutter.
Yes, that’s the same Paula Rebstock who chaired the Welfare Working Group which completely ignored the best interests of children and young people and even went so far as making recommendations, adopted by the National Government, which increased the risk of abuse and neglect.
The other Review Panel members are the Commissioner of Police, the head of a Scottish charity, the Māori Party’s former Chief of Staff, and a Professor of Psychology. That there’s no-one there at all with a background of grassroots work with at-risk kids in New Zealand does not bode well  
Now as strange as it might sound but when you couple the various members of Rebstock’s team no one can be found who has an understanding or practical knowledge of CYF. But beat this: The Minister Anne Tolley calls these wacky bunch, experts, can you believe that?
Mike Bush CYF expert?

Paula Rebstock, economist and consultant: Mike Bush, the Commissioner of Police, Helen Leahy, the Maori Party’s ex-Chief of Staff, Duncan Dunlop the head of a SCOTTISH charity and a Psychology Professor Ritchie Poulton equals a balance group of experts then you would need your head read…just think about it; This group of National Party dependants will give the Government the answer it want’s; which is the introduction of privatisation for parts if not all of the CYF…and there has already word around that it could go to SERCO, beat that for supidity…Tolley has ready publicly stated [along with the PM] that she would be comfortable with SERCO.
Chris Trotter ended his blog with these comments:
“If Ms Rebstock really wanted to be rid of the burden of delivering reports which offer no better solutions than ever more draconian sanctions for the delinquent behaviour of an underclass entirely lacking the wherewithal to be anything other than a social disaster, then she would write a report that demanded for children, young persons and their families the dignity of work; the security of a well-appointed and affordable dwelling; a comprehensive mental health service for those whose minds are damaged; and a CYF agency in full possession of the staff and the resources needed to fulfil its legal and moral obligations to this nation’s most vulnerable citizens.
In other words, Ms Rebstock and her fellow review panelists You’ll forgive me if I don’t hold my breath.
Metiria Turei ended her blog with the following comments
 “Turning to the terms of reference, I didn’t have to read far for my concerns to be heightened. The second bullet point of the Review Panel’s scope reads:
·        The core role and purpose of Child, Youth and Family; and opportunities for a stronger focus on this, including through outsourcing some services (my emphasis)
The terms of reference also talk about the “… development of an investment approach for Child, Youth and Family…” That’s management-speak for CYF targeting funding into areas that will save them the most money in future, rather than into areas that will keep the most kids safe.
There is no opportunity for public submissions to the Review Panel, and no requirement that it consults with anyone working on the ground with at-risk children. Even worse, there is no requirement that the Review Panel address the well-established links between child poverty and child abuse and neglect.
This review has all the hallmarks of Government having a predetermined intent to take CYF down a path of privatisation, outsourcing and cost-cutting; and establishing a Review Panel that will deliver the recommendations it needs to justify doing that – just as happened with the Welfare Working Group.
That is a recipe for corporate profiteering and continued or worsening fragmentation and dysfunction in the delivery of CYF services.
Our nation’s most vulnerable children and young people deserve better.
So there it is: Another plan to privatise yet another government activity: The neoliberal agenda rolls on in New Zealand, profit will now be built into every activity, corners will be cut and the ten percent will get richer while the rest will fall even further behind. The egalitarian society that we once had is now well and truly gone…its self-interest and money that now counts. Key and others before him [Douglas, Richardson, etc.] have contaminated our society to such an extent that caring about others and willingly sharing the wealth of the nation is a thing of the past.
We are now well on the way to becoming a little America in the South Pacific. Yet even after these words I can still see a little light at the end of the tunnel, hope remains because, it’s just possible that Key will head off to his Hawaii mansion and become an US Citizen…but only after he has changed the flag as his lasting legacy to the nation, when in fact he has already given us his legacy…poverty, lower wages, Paula Bennett and Rebstock…private prisons and the biggest debt the nation has ever had, so much for neoliberalism etc.   

1 comment:

Gordon McShean said...

I've tried to believe that that this analysis is somehow mistaken - that these "bad guys" or gals couldn't possibly be so terrible - and to somehow deny that the we as a people can avoid suffering the dreadful conclusions that seem unavoidable unless some remedy - some miraculous intervention - is manifest. But the reality is unavoidable. I feel as some medieval healer must have felt when confronting evidence of the black death: our people's only hope lies in embracing the wisdom of a few wise persons (like yourself) - and somehow empowering them to perform the necessary miracles. Let's not yet grieve!