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ACT = Association of Consultants and Tryhards

ACT = Association of Consultants and Tryhards

Act should rename itself the Association of Consultants and Tryhards, State Services Minister Trevor Mallard said today after the party attacked the public service.

"The increase in the number of public servants reflects a conscious decision by our government to create a strong and stable public service, rather than follow National's example and continually hire outside consultants at exorbitant prices.

"ACT must try harder but copying National is the hard way to go, even if a lot of your mates are the highly paid consultants who would benefit from public sector cuts," Trevor Mallard said.

"Unlike National and Act, Labour opposes the idea that you should give people the sack and a redundancy cheque on Friday, and then hire them, or someone else, on the Monday as a consultant at twice the price.

"We've reduced reliance on contractors and short-term staff. There has been a 21 percent reduction in the number of fixed term employees between 2000 and 2004.

"Our government values the public service, and will not take to it with an axe. Public servants are not just in Wellington, they are in the regions, they work in the call centres, they protect our fisheries, and borders, they teach and nurse and police. They are also the technical and administration support for the frontline public servants. Consultants can not do this work.

"People will be interested to know that the public service is about on par with ten years ago. And the size of the total public sector in New Zealand, compared to the size of the economy as a whole is also significantly smaller than for the rest of the OECD.

"In 1999, central government spending (that is, excluding state-owned enterprises and local government) was 33.3 per cent of GDP. It is now 30.1 per cent. That means there has been a three percentage point decline, or a ten per cent fall in the relative size of central government," Trevor Mallard said.

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