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Benefits versus bureaucrats

Judith Collins MP
National Party Welfare Spokeswoman

3 July 2007

Benefits versus bureaucrats

National Party Welfare spokeswoman Judith Collins says Labour should explain the ballooning number of new bureaucrats being employed to deal with a shrinking number of benefits.

“As the number of benefits has reduced, the number of staff employed by the Ministry of Social development has spiked to record highs.

“The dividend to the taxpayer from low unemployment is being eroded.”

Ms Collins is releasing figures which show the number of MSD staff has climbed from 5,085 in 2002 to 6,299 last year, while the number of benefits they deliver has fallen from 818,561 to 797,040 (graph attached).

Meanwhile, the number of staff at Child, Youth and Family has increased from 2,154 in 2002 to 2,831 last year.

And answers to National Party estimates questions show salary levels have also snowballed:

- In 2002, nobody earned over $200,000, now there are 22 staff earning more than $200,000.

- In 2002, six staff earned between $170,000 and $200,000, there are now 25.

- In 2002, 54 people earned over $100,000, there are now 347.

The total salary bill has mushroomed from $240 million in 2002/03, to $352 million in 2005/06, and rose to $566 million this year following the merger with CYFS. In addition, MSD spent $5,625,209 on performance payments last year.

The number of CYFS staff earning more than $100,000 has increased from 11 in 2001 to 54 in 2006.

MSD is experiencing wage growth of around 4% compared to private sector wage growth of around 3%.

Ms Collins says the increase in staff and increase in salaries need to be explained.

“Good, experienced staff should be rewarded for their successes – but most New Zealanders would have expected to see some balancing of bureaucrats to match the decline in benefits. This hasn’t happened.”

ENDS

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