Stuff reports how John Key wants to upgrade the Behemoth that is the IRD technology system. He is targeting the online interactive systems to reduce back office support. The Herald has also recently reported on this - referring to this announcement as a "computer upgrade".
Note to the peeps at The Herald: This nomenclature is outmoded.
It is an alarming announcement; any technical upgrade in any public department is invariably a matter of drywalling shit-bricks. Years of squabbling between department heads in the Ministries means outmoded systems are rejigged with new functions tacked on to old. There is ongoing conflict between in-house technical employees and outsourced contractors; the government being a great source of business for these businesses. Most privately employed programmers in Wellington have puddled around in ACC and IRD source code at one time or another in the past 20 years; to the frustration of all parties. Enormous and excessive amounts of money are spent on contractors due to reluctance to retain people on the Ministry payroll. Open wallet, hold upside down over toilet.
It all seems to smell of Transmission Gully Fatigue; new systems are never employed because of the upfront cost; public money continues to gush into these systems when the correct course of action would be to ram the full replacements through and reap the economic benefits. Time will tell if the Solar Monarch intends a visionary full system replacement, or another $1B pigs ear overlay.
Why oh why is Key tea-bagging my neighbours down the road in Palo Alto? There is no need to approach Google with regards to any deployment and cloud data warehousing requirements. All this knowledge can be found in Wellington and Auckland. Google do search engines well - it this doesn't mean their expertise translates to what the IRD might require.
This is of greater concern than the Crafer ClampettGate business. Watch the jobs pour out of Wellington and into San Jose. More of my tech friends, (those very guys Key should be consulting), will be heading Silicon Valley way. Nice for the Yankiwi culture; not so good for the NZ economy.
Key could have asked what Xero's Drury thought, for starters. However, said entrepreneur may be too busy selling off his shares in order to build the next Chrisco mansion.
I'm not one for the concept of gutting the public service without replacement employment. Too many of my Administration Queen friends have found it hard to find employment in the last 5 years. Redundant public servants soak up the best private sector admin jobs leaving the rest of the unemployed to take their talents overseas. In this process, NZ loses more of it's contributing citizens for good to Oz culture, before new jobs are created. This is where Shearer could take a leadership role, by using New Zealand talent to create jobs for NZers by cutting their teeth on our infrastructure then selling to the rest of the world.
I'm not a Techie. When I met my husband at varsity, I was trying to decide if my first computer should be a "386" or a "486". He very kindly said to me: "You might want to think about a new-fangled Pentium processor.
16 Valentines Days later and he is still over-clocking my processor.
Lesson learned: Embrace new technology instead of Korean end-of Line Warehouse fodder and check out the in-house talent first.
Finally, somebody should be asking what expenditure has been chalked up in ACC over the last 20 years. That will shed some light on the nature of "The Beast".