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Labour will restore confidence in public service

Labour 2000 web siteThe new Labour government will act quickly to restore public confidence in the public service, Labour Leader Helen Clark said today.

Helen Clark was speaking at the launch of Labour's state sector policy in Wellington this afternoon. She announced that an inquiry into the culture of waste and extravagance at Work and Income New Zealand will proceed under the Labour government.

"In recent years there have been too many headlines about extravagance, waste and poor service within the public service. Today Labour has exposed yet another shocking example of waste by Winz, just a few months after this taxpayer-funded organisation sent its senior managers, at huge expense, to a conference in Taupo by chartered jet.

"This abuse - and there are numerous examples - has to stop, and it will under the Labour-led government. Labour will drive a culture change staring at the top rungs of the public service. This change will be driven by basic principles of moderation, thrift and service to the public.

"Labour wants to be able to look the ordinary hard-working taxpayer in the eye and say that their tax dollars are being spent on the things which matter. We will expect wastage of public funds to stop and a new era of moderation, frugality and integrity to develop throughout the public sector.

"Under Labour the SSC will be reviewed with a view to improving its focus and strengthening its role as a public service watchdog and monitor of CEOs.

"An efficiently run public service contributes enormously and positively to the life of New Zealanders. Labour intends to safeguard this role, fostering a public service culture in which the arcane language of 'clients' and 'customers' is done away with.

"Under Labour the state will lead and by example and ensure that the public sector is a good employer in every sense. We are committed to a strong public service that employs quality staff on fair pay and conditions, with managers and chief executives leading by example.

"Labour's fresh start on health, education and other public services will also be applied to the state agencies responsible for administering and delivering these services. Taxpayers, whose goodwill has been abused for years by National, deserve nothing less," Helen Clark said.

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