John Key’s shoddy data

As reported in the Herald, John Key’s office have sent a Christmas card to a victim of the Pike River disaster. His widow is understandably distressed.

“I found it really distasteful. I’m not happy about it at all,” Mrs Osborne told the Herald.

“It’s distressing to get a Christmas card wishing him all the best for the festive season when he’s down that bloody shithole (in the mine) where he is at the moment. That really hurts.”

“I’d taken my husband’s seat on council in March, so if it was one of those things that every councillor in New Zealand receives, it should have been addressed to me, not my late husband, for a start.”

“He’s so out of touch with what’s going on, it’s ridiculous.”

If this were a time of year that people were actually paying attention to the media, it would become a serious issue for Mr Key.

The Christmas cards were sent to every mayor and councillor in New Zealand (a list of 888 people), using a list provided by Local Government New Zealand after the local body election in October last year.

Some will try to fob this off as a storm in a tea cup, but it really goes to show that Key’s office don’t know how to run the sort of contact management system that would be expected of an office of that nature. As Cameron Salter would say: if you can’t run a mailing list, how can you run the country?

It’s really not that hard. I’ve had to deal with the same sort of situation in my professional capacity, and dropping the ball like this is totally unacceptable.

The two things that should have happened are:

  1. Key’s office should have used an up to date list from LGNZ. Using a second-hand list that’s over a year old is a recipe for disaster. He also sent cards to 207 foreign leaders using a list from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Did Colonel Gaddafi and Hosni Mubarak get cards too?! Rookie mistake.
  2. The office really should have a suppression list on all contacts. Not only should it include the victims of the Pike River mine, but also those who lost their lives in the Christchurch earthquakes – explicitly. Matching against the death register would also be a very smart idea.

If you can’t run a mailing list, how can you run the country?

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