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National discovers public servants needed after all

National discovers public servants needed after all

New figures released today show National has done an embarrassing U-turn after discovering it actually does need the public service, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Maryan Street says.

“Wellington now has the most public servants it has had since 2000. Figures from the State Services Commission show there are 900 more, or 18,493 civil servants in the capital in the year to June 2013. The total number in the public service has grown by 1155 to 44,500.

“National has showed disdain for the public service since it came to office. It has slashed its way through the sector, sacking clever and experienced workers and replacing them with expensive consultants.

“It is now clear comments about a ‘bloated and unaffordable bureaucracy’ were merely rhetoric.

“National is now left with the worst of all worlds. It has a public service which is blowing its budgets on expensive consultants, workers on short term contracts and low morale.

“The Ministry of Justice for example has spent $42 million on consultants in one year alone.

“When the Government told the public it was going to cut back office workers and increase front-line staff, most New Zealanders thought that meant they would get better services in the regions.

“Instead those in our towns and cities have fewer Department of Conservation rangers and fewer biosecurity officers, which has led directly to more biosecurity incursions. Instead of more Inland Revenue officers and Housing New Zealand tenancy managers, provincial New Zealand now has 0800 numbers.

“Is this the ‘Better Public Service’ National promised? Labour understands the need for a well-resourced public sector and values its contribution towards a better New Zealand,” Maryan Street says.

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