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New Worthy: The burgeoning bureaucracy

14 March 2008 - No. 240

The burgeoning bureaucracy

The growth in the core bureaucracy in New Zealand is on any measure stupendous under the present Government.

Over the past eight years the bureaucracy has grown out of all proportion to those parts of the state sector that actually serve the public. How do we know that? Here are some examples:

* Since 2000, the number of teachers in state primary and secondary schools has grown by 12%. But over the same period, the number of people employed in the various education bureaucracies has grown by 40%.

* Since 2000, the number of nurses and doctors employed in district health boards has grown by 28%. But over the same period, the number of people employed in the Ministry of Health has grown by 51%.

* Since 2002, the service delivery part of MSD, namely Work and Income and Child Youth and Family, has grown by 23%. But over the same period, the policy analysis, research, and corporate units of MSD have grown by a whopping 109%.

* Treasury reports show that between 2000 and 2006, employment in government departments that mainly provide services grew by 34%, while employment in policy departments grew by 72%.

To get a picture of the whole state sector we need to look at survey data from the Quarterly Employment Survey. This shows that since 2000 the number of bureaucrats has grown from 26,200 to 36,000.

Treasury reports show that between 2000 and 2006, personnel costs for government departments that mainly provide services grew 69%, while in policy departments these costs grew 142%.

It was in that context that National announced on Wednesday that if elected it would be to stop the growth in bureaucracy and direct new government spending to health, education, and other front-line services.

After the cap on numbers has been established a critical look needs to be taken as to how the resources of the civil service can best be marshalled.

Rail links to Auckland Airport

In an email newsletter last June I argued the case for rail links to the Auckland Airport. The issue has risen again and is the subject of media comment this week. For air travellers frustration builds for those who arrive at Auckland airport on weekdays between 4.30pm and 6.00pm intent on a journey to the city. The traffic congestion is substantial; the delays significant.

Worse is to come. By 2015 land transport demand at the airport is expected to be “nearly double” today’s levels. Currently there are 81,000 vehicles a day to and from the airport. The service access routes are just coping.

It is a frequent traveller tale that airport access is often the most uncertain and difficult part of the journey.

The Government earlier announced that it is planned to make the existing rail link to Onehunga fully operational by 2009. So we have the clear possibility of a direct rail link to the airport.

In the choice of routes, a preference might well be the route from Onehunga which could substantially follow “buffer land” owned by Watercare Services Limited associated with the sewage treatment plant.

The route might have limited stops – the airport, Onehunga, Ellerslie, Newmarket and Britomart.

John Key on Facebook

Recently John Key launched a special special Facebook page to open up another channel of communication.

The page is a place where one can register as a supporter of take campaign to change the Government, and leave messages of encouragement.

There is a lot on the page already - special feeds of news stories, the latest videos, photographs from Flickr photostream.


Quote of the Week

“A vacation is over when you begin to yearn for your work” – Morris Fishbein - - Doctor and editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association – 1889-1976

Dr Richard Worth

National Party MP


ENDS

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