Saturday, May 13, 2006

Back In Circulation.

Either it's coincidence, or the Gods like to have their fun with me when I start a new job. I've yet to have a gradual easing in to a new work environment. It's always a case of finding myself up in it up to my neck and paddling furiously. The move to Wellington has proved to be a similar story.

In my first week on the job there's the biggest pre-budget leak in 20 years. How's that for an introduction to life in the Press Gallery? Never mind trying to find my way around the labyrinth that is Parliament, I also have to join the posse that's hot on the trail of the civil servant that knocked the stuffing out of Michael Cullen's Budget.

Proving that there's no honour among thieves Telecom's dobbed the mole in to the State Services Commission which is handling the inquiry. If a journo did this to a source they'd be hung drawn and quartered for the being a lily livered gutless swine. I guess in this case it's Telecom's last attempt to buddy up to the Government before its license to print money is ripped out of its hands. A futile effort at trying to get back in the Government's good graces.

As to who the leaker is ... well everyone is pretty much in the dark. Parliament's not normally noted for keeping stuff like this quiet but in this case most I have seen are still scratching their heads.

As it stands there are four areas where the leaker could come from. Within Cabinet and its associated staff. From the Ministry of Economic Development, which would have had a major hand in developing the policy. Treasury, which would have done the financial implications and costings. And the Ministry of Justice, which would have advised on the legislation needed for unbundling the local loop.

Now the Prime Minister has pretty much ruled out it being from Cabinet saying she has assurances from her Ministers (whatever they may be worth). However she has let slip that the Cabinet papers that were leaked did go beyond the cabinet area. This is where MED, MOJ, and Treasury come in.

If I was to put my money on it I'd pick Treasury as the source of the leak. I say this because of the tensions between this Government and Treasury (remember the ideological burp). That and the fact there's always been a commonality of opinion between Treasury and Telecom on certain economic approaches ... especially with regard to Government interventionism.

Either way we'll find out next week.

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