1 results for Aitken, Judith Estranna

  • Public Expenditure Planning in New Zealand

    Aitken, Judith Estranna (1983)

    Doctoral thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    It is argued in this thesis that over the past 15 years planning - and in particular expenditure planning - has had three main functions in New Zealand central government: as a survival mechanism for elites; as a means to cope with the problems and deficiencies of organised knowledge; and as a symbolic act of reassurance in the face of economic and fiscal uncertainty. Expenditure planning is regarded in this work as a learning process. However, the thesis describes historical developments which illustrate that the imperative need to contain and manage conflict inside central government is such that real executive learning is effectively precluded. Dissonance between the political implications of significant information and the rational action that might be dictated by that information inhibits effective communication and control. The cybernetic malfunctioning of the central system arises not so much from political debate over the fiscal issues as from the need of certain elites to retain their pre-eminence in the planning process - most notably, the Treasury and its associated ministers. It is concluded that a less historically-bound system of power-sharing is called for if the executive agents - officials and ministers - are to react more sensitively to adverse fiscal circumstances and prepare more efficiently for future uncertainties than they have in the past.

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