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Further public sector cuts likely to push up Capital jobless

7 February 2012

Further public sector cuts likely to push up Capital’s jobless
Wellington is unlikely to see any improvement in its jobless figures unless the government changes its thinking on public sector cutbacks, according to the Public Service Association.

Latest figures show unemployment in the capital rose sharply in the December quarter to an 18-year high of 7.9 percent and is now much higher than the national average.

The PSA says public sector job losses through government-imposed budget cuts, restructurings and forced redundancies will be playing a part.

Figures from the States Services Commission on core public service staffing show that between June 2008 and June 2012, 477 full time jobs were lost from the Wellington region.

Brenda Pilott says that’s a significant number which doesn’t include positions in the wider state sector and community public services.

“These are good jobs and skilled people being taken out of the system. The government continues to claim that the market will take care of them but as the unemployment figures show, the job market is very tight.”

“What’s more is that there will be further job losses to come as the government continues to put the squeeze on, expecting departments to find another $1 billion in savings from their budgets,” she adds.

“There are still a number of reviews and restructurings going on at large agencies such as the Ministry of Justice where job losses have already been signalled, and we have yet to see the final results of the MBIE merger. Also government underfunding of many community service providers means many are struggling to stay open.”

Brenda Pilott says “what’ we’re seeing in Wellington should be a reminder to the government that austerity budgets and public sector spending cuts have consequences which go well beyond trying to reduce its bottom-line.”

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