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PSA Welcomes Commitment To Strong Public Services

May 22, 2008

For Immediate Use

PSA Welcomes Government Commitment To Maintaining Strong Public Services

The PSA is pleased the Government has listened to New Zealanders who value public services, and the International Monetary Fund who urged caution, and resisted calls for unaffordable tax cuts.

“On Tuesday we called on Michael Cullen to reject tax cuts of a size that would require either borrowing or deep cuts in public services,” says PSA National Secretary Brenda Pilott. “On the same day the IMF called for caution on the size and timing of tax cuts.”

 “We’re pleased the Government has listened, done the maths, and rejected tax cuts that would have to be paid for by borrowing or through deep cuts to public services,” says Brenda Pilott. “That is good news because strong services benefit our society, our economy, our environment, and our culture and we can’t afford to see them weakened.”

She says the PSA supports The Budget tax package because it enables the Government to maintain our strong public services.

“Like all New Zealanders, staff working in our public services are feeling the impact of rising prices for petrol and food,” says Brenda Pilott. “They will welcome the extra money in their pockets that will be provided by the Government’s tax package.”

The PSA is also pleased that the Budget has provided extra funding for areas of the public service that have been under financial pressure such as the Department of Conservation, Radio New Zealand, the probation service, and the courts in Auckland.

“We are pleased that there’s extra funding for DOC,” says Brenda Pilott. “But are concerned that it will not address the department’s $8 million dollar deficit and the department may still be looking to cut jobs.”

“We believe that there should be no need for any job losses at DOC because of the economic, environmental, social and cultural benefits it provides to New Zealand,” says Brenda Pilott.

Brenda Pilott says DOC finds itself in deficit because of uncontrollable events such as drought conditions that have meant it has had to fight an unusually high number of fires in the current financial year.

“The important work DOC does is a prime example of why we need to maintain our strong public services,” says Brenda Pilott. “We must ensure that our public services have the resources and staff they need to meet the economic and social challenges that New Zealand is currently facing.”   

The PSA welcomes extra funding in The Budget in the following areas:

An extra $4 billion to the health sector over four years
$446.5 million to improve the Government’s partnership with community-based social services
       delivering essential services to support children and families.

$216.3 million capital for the replacement of the near-obsolete Mt Eden Prison.
$205.4 million for research and development on top of the $700 million for the NZ Fast Forward Fund.  
$91.7 million to recruit additional probation officers
$6.3 million over two years to address the pressure on Auckland courts
$23.8 million is provided to increase the services of the Māori Trustee.
$5.3 million will assist the Office of Treaty Settlements to meet the 2020 settlement target.
$10.9 million for Radio New Zealand to maintain services.

The PSA will be reviewing what the political parties are saying on the issue of tax cuts. We will be analysing those statements and policies. Then in the next few days we will be issuing some questions we would like the parties to answer concerning the future of strong public services.



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