In 2010 Sam McEwan graduated from the Massey University with a Bachelor of Business Studies, a forty thousand dollar student loan. Eight months later she uncovered the largest white collar crime in New Zealand – the embezzlement of tens of millions of taxpayer dollars into the private projects of some of New Zealand's highest paid civil servants. All this was uncovered in what was meant to be a temporary assignment as a financial systems analyst at the Department of Administration (DoA).
Established in 1886, the Department of Administration is one of the oldest core public sector departments in New Zealand. Known colloquially by its staff as the 'department that time forgot', the heart of the DoA is located in Thorndon, Wellington - in its original premises. Its mission, unchanged in over 115 years of service, had been to supply the government, the executive and judiciary with administrative resources.
As time and technology has moved on these responsibilities dwindled – however the DoA's budget did not. For years the department had remained unnoticed, unchanged and unresponsive to various attempts to streamline public sector processes. However changes made by the current government to the financial administrative systems of the wider public sector pressured DoA management to reluctantly hire their first new recruit in twenty years so that they could carry on with their “business”.
Follow Sam McEwan's journey through the arcane systems of the public sector and learn the astonishing truth about what you, your parents and even your grandparents have unwittingly been paying for over the last one hundred and fifteen years.