INDEPENDENT NEWS

Govt Dodges Rankin In Social Services Merger

Published: Wed 11 Apr 2001 11:01 AM
The Government is today expected today to announce the merger of Work and Income New Zealand the Ministry of Social Policy into a new agency called the Ministry of Social Development, National's State Services spokesman Roger Sowry said today. "This merger is not about better social policy it is all about avoiding expensive employment proceedings against an individual.
"It is an expensive way to try and avoid Employment Court action - we know Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey is in trouble with his comments over Work and Income chief executive Christine Rankin which may well lead to a substantial payout.
"The Government is now restructuring over 5000 staff into a new agency to avoid try and avoid this happening. This campaign against one public servant. is a huge step backwards for social services. "State Service's Minister Trevor Mallard's predictable reply will be that the new Ministry will be able to develop cross sectoral policy advice but that is nonsense. If that is the case why has this Government shifted the Community Employment Group from WINZ to the Department of Labour, and moved Housing policy out of the Ministry of Social Policy into the Ministry of Housing?
"Replies to written questions revealed the Government sought no advice from the Ministry of Social Policy, Work and Income New Zealand, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet or the State Services Commission.
"The decision was made at Cabinet on Monday on the basis of an oral item. This is appalling process. It is wrong to build a policy around one person rather than tailor it to the thousands of people it will affect.
"This unnecessary merger won't solve Maharey's impending difficulties in the Employment Court," Mr Sowry said.
Ends

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