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New Zealand Public is Ultimate Victim of Public Sector Cuts

March 29, 2011

New Zealand Public is Ultimate Victim of Public Sector Cuts

Public services that New Zealanders rely on will suffer from more budget cuts and public sector job losses, says the PSA.

Finance Minister Bill English told the Institute of Public Administration in Wellington today that the Government’s restraint on public spending is permanent. Despite this it wants better public services, more innovation and greater efficiency from the public sector.

“The Government needs to come clean and tell New Zealanders that what it actually wants to do is cut services,” says the public sector union’s National Secretary Brenda Pilott.

“The frontline-back office rhetoric doesn’t work anymore. The Canterbury earthquake highlighted the vital links in the chain of service delivery - whether they’re at the front or the back of that chain.

“February’s earthquake put public services under significant pressure but, even before it struck, public sector workers had been working longer and harder with less resources for some time.

“We’re now at a tipping point. That can’t go on indefinitely without impacting on services,” says Brenda Pilott.

“There’s no more fat on the bone to shave. The Government knows full well that investment is what brings about innovation and better services.

“The Government is cutting corporate taxes to stimulate the business sector. This criterion of investment should also apply to the public sector.

Mr English says the government has no master plan but that there will be a consolidation of the number of government departments and agencies over the next two to three years.

“If the government’s objective is to reduce our debt and most of our debt is private, the undue focus on the public sector would appear to be nothing more than a diversion from tackling the country’s larger economic problems,” says Brenda Pilott.


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