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PSA seeks constructive relationship with new govt

PSA MEDIA RELEASE December 7, 2008

PSA seeks constructive relationship with new government

The Public Service Association wants to establish a constructive relationship with the new government and has written to the Prime Minister raising issues the union wants to discuss. The PSA has more than 57,000 members working in the public sector, including local government, and has sent John Key a briefing paper setting out issues it would like to discuss.

"A major issue we want to discuss with the Prime Minister is how the PSA will be involved in the review of government spending," says PSA National Secretary Brenda Pilott. "We're concerned that Task Forces run by private sector representatives are being established to review government spending and that John Key has said that this could lead to government work being outsourced to the private sector." "We believe this review process lacks balance and does not provide a voice for public service workers who work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to provide services the whole country relies on." "The government needs to make best use of their skills and knowledge and listen to what they have to say about how we can strengthen and improve our public services."

"The PSA provides a voice for public service workers and this why we're asking to be involved in the review of government spending," says Brenda Pilott.

The PSA also wants to know what the government's agenda is for local government. "This is because Local Government Minister Rodney Hide leads a party that wants to privatise local government services including water supply and roads owned by councils," says Brenda Pilott. "We oppose privatising these vital services because it will lead to people paying more to deliver the profit the private sector requires." The PSA has sent detailed briefs to the ministers of finance, state services, revenue, social development, local government, health, labour, ACC and research science and technology.

Major issues that the PSA wishes to discuss with Prime Minister John Key are:

* The PSA seeks a constructive relationship with the government and to develop an on-going dialogue to contribute to better delivery of public services and better jobs for public service workers. * The PSA seeks participation in the expenditure reviews that are part of the government's programme priorities. The union wishes to participate at both a whole-of-government and government department level.

§ How the government will seek to implement the policy of capping public service numbers. We note this will be based on the State Service Commission's 2008 figure.

§ The PSA seeks active participation in the government's work on lifting New Zealand's productivity performance, particularly in the public service and health.

§ While we acknowledge the place of private sector procurement in the public sector, we do not believe that further privatisation of public assets and services will deliver either public value or improved services.

For comment call PSA National Secretary Brenda Pilott 027 430-6016. Media contact: Nick Hirst 04 917-2028, 027 600-5498

PSA MEDIA RELEASE December 7, 2008 For Immediate Use PSA asking Rodney Hide if ACT local government policy is government policy

The Public Service Association wants to discuss with Local Government Minister Rodney Hide whether the ACT Party's local government policy is the Government's policy.

The union has more than 57,000 members working in the public sector including 5500 in local government. The PSA is the only union covering local government nationwide.

"The PSA has sent Rodney Hide a briefing paper that expresses our concerns about his party's policy of privatising local government services like supplying water to homes and businesses and the roads owned by councils," says PSA National Secretary Brenda Pilott.

ACT's policy states that local government should be confined to core activities such as regulation and flood control. It classifies other services, such as supplying water and roads, as commercial activities that should be shed to the private sector.

"We oppose privatising these vital services because it will lead to people paying more to deliver the profit the private sector requires," says Brenda Pilott.

"In the wake of the global financial crisis we're concerned about the risks involved in privatising local government services like water supply, roads, libraries, parks and pools that everyone uses."

"We want to talk to the new Minister about the issue of privatising local government services," says Brenda Pilott.

She says the PSA is also keen to talk to Rodney Hide about the Royal Commission on Auckland's local government.

"We don't want to see a single super city for Auckland because overseas experience shows this would be very expensive to establish, would not produce on-going savings and would lead to cuts in social services," says Brenda Pilott.

"We want to see strong and effective local government in Auckland that provides value-for-money services."

"We believe this requires local government retaining ownership and control of assets and services and having staff with the skills and knowledge needed to deliver these vital services," says Brenda Pilott.

To ensure all councils have the skilled workforce they need the PSA is calling for consistent pay and working conditions for local government staff nationwide. "That's because there are wide variations in pay and working conditions among councils," says Brenda Pilott.

"It's `our view that we need a national employer body for local government that we can engage with on issues like developing a national workforce planning strategy and a national pay strategy," says Brenda Pilott.


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