In the second revised edition of this monograph, Jennifer Menzies and Anne Tiernan capably chart the often hazardous terrain of the ‘caretaker period’ that ensues from the time an election is called until a new government is formed. This is a landscape fraught with political and administrative dangers – particularly for public servants who are required to ‘mind the shop’ and keep the basically machinery of government going.
The conventions represent an historical accretion of custom, practice and rules, often leavened with uncertainty. In tackling their subject, Menzies and Tiernan draw upon their shared past experiences as public servants and ministerial ‘staffers’ as well as the highest standards of academic scholarship – this is a ‘must read’ for politicians, public servants and students of government. The second edition expands on the first edition by documenting recent controversies and trends which have had an impact on caretaker conventions.
The analysis of the contemporary application of caretaker conventions has been updated and new case studies included – particularly from the last federal election. Also included is additional material about lengthy government formation after election day and the management of caretaker conventions during that time. The New Zealand material has been revised and updated.