The national ombudsman has issued a stinging critique of the government’s performance in an interview with the Telegraaf, saying ministers ‘have failed and not lived up to their promises’.
Ministers, Reinier van Zutphen said, are continually making the same mistakes – from dealing with the floods in southern Limburg to repairing the damage caused by gas-related earthquakes in Groningen – and he told the paper he is concerned about the impact on people’s trust in the government apparatus.
‘People are experiencing government as something on the other side of the table, when it should be sitting next to them,’ he said. ‘This is a bad development.’
Tens of thousands of people have ended up in trouble because of issues such as the childcare benefit scandal and the Groningen gas drilling, he said.
‘In Limburg, 18 months after the floods, people are still waiting for compensation,’ he said. ‘But in a wealthy country such as ours, you would think things were well organised. And the government knows what has to be done to solve it, and that is worst of all.’
Parliament, which is responsible for Van Zutphen’s appointment, also came under fire. ‘It is dispiriting to hear the same story every year,’ he said, referring to his own experiences.
‘And yes, then you think action will be taken and then a year later nothing has happened and you hear the same thing all over again,’ he said. ‘There is little to see when it comes to the [promised] new political culture.’
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