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Labour supports strong public services

6 April 2005 Media Statement

Labour supports strong public services

"Wellington Central is the home of many public servants, so John Key's announcement yesterday that National will sack government employees to pay for tax cuts will resonate loudly here," Wellington Central MP Marian Hobbs said today.

"I challenge the National candidate for Wellington Central, Mark Blumsky, to tell us whether he agrees with this policy.

"An increase in the number of public servants shows that Labour is delivering on its commitment to deliver strong public services.

"John Key's announcement is a blast from the 1990s, when National systematically under-funded and undermined the public service."

In 1999, feedback from the public was that they wanted good frontline service, and that the practice of hiring expensive short-term, outside consultants and contractors had to stop.

"We've listened to that feedback by employing people where consultants were previously contracted, and by giving public servants the tools they need to do their jobs," Marian Hobbs said.

"The National Party needs be upfront and say which public servants it is going to dismiss to pay for its tax cuts," she said. "Most of the increase in numbers has been of people on the frontline helping the public – will it be those people?"

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

How many people are employed in the public service?
As at 30 June 2004, there were 37,865 employees (35,645 full-time equivalents) in the Public Service. The Public Service of 2004 was slightly smaller than the Public Service of 10 years earlier in 1994.

How many people make up the state sector?
The public service makes up a small proportion of total state sector employment, as measured by Statistics NZ. In 2004 the Public Service made up only 14 per cent of the 275,000 state sector jobs.

The state sector includes all organisations owned by the government, including schools, hospitals, public service departments, and state-owned enterprises.

How much of the increase involves frontline positions?
Around 38 per cent of the increase in permanent staff was in frontline positions, including jobs such as social workers (the number of whom increased by 10 per cent), call centre operators (9 per cent), prison officers (6 per cent) and customs officers (25 per cent).

Where can I find more information?
www.ssc.govt.nz

ENDS

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