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News Worthy: More Doctors – More Nurses

26 September 2008 – No. 264

More Doctors – More Nurses - Less Bureaucrats

The message is clear. If National leads the next government, our responsibility will be to the end users of public services - the elderly people who need a hip replacement, the parents whose children have just started school, the community members whose safety relies on an effective police force, and so on.

National is committed to the delivery of high-quality services to the public, in a timely, responsive, and effective way.

We also recognise that what the government spends in its budget is not the government's money; it is money the government has taken out of the pay packets of hard-working New Zealanders. It is money that could be otherwise be used to pay the mortgage, buy children’s’ shoes, or pay the power bill.

Any government, therefore, has two responsibilities: the first is to deliver high-quality services and the second is to make the best use of taxpayers' money. And over the past few years, things have gotten out of kilter and the bureaucracy has grown out of proportion to the front line.

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%. I should point out here that this analysis does take into account the fact that the Special Education Service was brought into the Ministry of Education.

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%. Again, this analysis takes into account the merger with the Health Funding Authority.

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 109%.

The Quarterly Employment Survey shows a similar picture over the whole of the state sector - the number of jobs in central government administration has grown faster than those in the rest of the state sector, and faster than the number of jobs in the economy as a whole.

Have a look at the entry for "policy analysts" on one of the Government's own websites - careers.govt.nz.

Under the heading "What are the chances of getting a job?" it says: "Opportunities are good because policy analysis is one of the fastest-growing occupations in the government sector, with a 38% increase in employees between 2001 and 2006. The total number of policy analysts more than doubled between 1996 and 2006. The number of policy analysts is growing, but it is still not sufficient to meet demand."

This allocation of resources towards central government administration has real effects. It uses significant resources which could have been used in providing frontline services or could have been used in the private sector.

Under a National-led Government the number of frontline staff will not be reduced. Instead the numbers of doctors, nurses, teachers, social workers, police and other frontline staff will grow.

There is little doubt that the current Government is responsible for a lack of direction in the public service. From outside Government, looking in, it is apparent that there is substantial ill-directed policy activity.


Cricket success in the Guinness Book of Records

The Guinness Book of Records was first published in August 1954 and has grown exponentially since then but the way is always open for new entries and new records to be established.

So it was for the Cornwall Cricket Club which established over the weekend of 18-20 April 2008 a new record for continuous cricket.

For aficionados the statistics were:

• 55 hours played in total

• 3558 runs in total

• 160 wickets fell

• 908 overs bowled

Twenty-four Cornwall players battled through 55 hours of continuous cricket, to raise just over $5000 for the Starship Foundation.

The former record of 36 hours was held by a group of Englishmen.

Political Quote of the Week

“The three signs of great men are – generosity in the design, humanity in the execution, moderation in success”Otto von Bismarck – German Chancellor (1815-1858)

Dr Richard Worth

National Party MP

ENDS

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