Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Razor gang more about spin than substance

John Key MP - National Party Finance Spokesman

28 February 2006

Razor gang more about spin than substance

The Government's public sector spending reviews are more about spin than substance, says National Party Finance spokesman John Key.

"The problem for the Government is that differing ideas are emerging from Ministers about the objectives of the spending reviews announced last Thursday," says Mr Key.

Last Friday on Morning Report, Associate Finance Minister Trevor Mallard said: '...part of the objective is to get higher quality government spending and as a result of that it could well be that we need more policy analysts in a certain part of particular ministries than in another part...'

He also said: 'Overall, across government agencies, jobs will go up over the period of these reviews.'

But Finance Minister Michael Cullen warned in a speech yesterday: 'State sector CEOs need to be aware we expect that dividend to emerge starting from this year, and that one of the implications of that will be careful management of labour costs.'

"Is the objective to save money or isn't it?" asks Mr Key. "What's the point of a spending review if it doesn't save the long-suffering taxpayer some money?

"Shuffling policy analysts around within departments, as Mr Mallard suggests, won't achieve anything."

The Treasury briefing to the new Government - dismissed at the time by Dr Cullen as an 'ideological burp' - noted the ballooning state sector wages bill and questioned whether New Zealanders were getting more services and better results from this spending (p36).

"It also noted a significant proportion of this spending had gone to 'expansion of head offices'," says Mr Key. "In other words, it had gone to the bloated Wellington bureaucracy.

"For all Labour's talk now of a dividend from its spending increases, it is six years too late. They should have expected value for money from the start.

"With these reviews they are putting out conflicting signals - one message to the public sector unions and another to the wider public. But the end result will simply be that nothing tangible is achieved.

"Core Crown spending has risen from $34 billion annually in 1999-00 to more than $50 billion now. That's a 47 per cent rise since 1999-00 - while inflation over the past six years has risen only 16 per cent and population growth has been only 6.6 per cent.

"There have been no controls - just a massive spendup at the taxpayer's expense. And looking at the conflicting objectives Ministers are talking about, the Government's so-called razor won't even scratch the surface of runaway government spending."


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Vulnerable Kids, RNZ Funding, And Poppy

The decision to remove the word ‘vulnerable’ from the Ministry for Vulnerable Children could well mark a whole shift in approach to the care of children in need.

And I’m hedging with the ‘could well’ only because the Ardern government hasn’t yet spelled out whether the name change it has announced will also involve a rejection of the controversial use of Big Data to try and predict those children deemed to be at highest risk of inter-generational reliance on welfare support. More>>


Principals' Federation: End Of National Standards

Today the Minister of Education announced that the Government has stopped the controversial National Standards system of assessment and declared them an arbitrary measure which did not raise children's achievement as the previous Government intended. More>>


Public Good: People’s Report On Public Broadcasting And Media Presented

The People’s Commission on Public Broadcasting and Media, was crowdfunded and was informed by an extensive consultation, seeking the views of both those working in Media as well as gathering input both online and in person from ordinary Citizens. More>>


RBNZ To RNZB: PM's Press Conference

Prime Minister Jacinda Adern was joined by Minister of Finance Grant Robertson and Minister for Children Tracey Martin to announce the appointment of Adrian Orr as the new Governor of the Reserve Bank and the name change of the Ministry for Vulnerable Children to ‘Oranga Tamariki - Ministry for Children’. More>>


'Taming Globalised Capital': Why Is Labour Supporting Investment Rules In WTO?

‘Today, we learned the new government has added New Zealand’s name to a proposal designed to lead to foreign investment rules in the WTO at this week’s ministerial meeting in Argentina,’ said Auckland University Professor Jane Kelsey. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Politics Of Scaring Voters Back Into Line

Fear has always been a useful mobilising tool in politics… yet in 2017, bogeymen of all shapes and sizes seem to have fallen on hard times. For years, the National party had painted itself as being the only reliable defensive bastion against the terrifying prospect of a centre-left government… More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Drinking Water As A Failure Of Political Leadership

It is almost possible to feel sorry for the Health Ministry in their terrible, no good, very bad week... More>>





Featured InfoPages