INDEPENDENT NEWS

Time For National To Be Honest About Cutting Public Services Kiwis Rely On

Published: Thu 8 Dec 2022 09:11 AM
The National Party needs to front up to New Zealanders and explain its plans to cut the core public services they rely on says the Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi.
"In a year’s time we face one of the most critical elections in a generation and we think New Zealanders deserve to know now how National is planning to cut the core public service," said PSA President Benedict Ferguson.
"In the last few months National has repeatedly attacked what it claims is a "bloated Wellington bureaucracy" full of HR managers and policy advisors. It talks about shifting resources from the backroom to the frontline. These are just throwaway slogans not grounded in facts.
"We have requested an urgent meeting with National to set out the facts. What’s at stake here are the vital services public service workers provide New Zealanders up and down the country - and the livelihoods of 62,000 workers and their families.
"Most of these jobs - 55% - are outside Wellington. Is National saying we can do with fewer corrections officers who keep our prisons secure? Is it saying we can do with fewer social workers who support our most vulnerable? Is it saying we should cut the number of scientists who protect New Zealand from bio-security threats?
"National talks about 14,000 workers hired since 2017. Here are the facts - 13,130 have been hired. Most of this growth has been in jobs that deliver services that improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders, provide support to businesses, and cater for our growing population.
"National has not provided detail about so called unnecessary jobs aside from mentioning HR and policy advisors. [1] Even if you slashed all the extra backroom workers in HR and policy this still leaves another 11,813 frontline public servants that could be axed.
"Let’s be clear, backroom workers are critical to an efficient public service. It’s a bit like saying the Black Ferns could have won the World Cup without their coaches and other support staff.
"We want to remind National that our public service is one of the most trusted in the world, one of comparable size to the UK and Australia, and one which is much the same in proportion to the working population as when National last entered government in 2008.
"If we are to tackle long-term challenges facing New Zealand such as climate change, the cost of living, rebuilding core services including health and education, and investing in the infrastructure to drive a more productive economy, we need a strong public service not one that has been cut off at the knee.
"Communities and the people who serve them deserve to know the real choice ahead of them this election. So, our message to National is simple. Be honest. What is your plan? What services will be cut? New Zealanders have a right to know," said Benedict Ferguson.
Attached:
- 2022 Snapshot - NZ’s Public Service
- Examples of jobs created since 2017
- PSA letter to Nicola Willis and Simeon Brown
[1] Nicola Willis, Morning Report, 7 November 2022

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