Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


National wrong about growth of the public service

March 12, 2008
For Immediate Use
PSA: National wrong about the growth of the public service

“The PSA has major concerns about National’s public services policy,” says Brenda Pilott, National Secretary of the PSA which has 55,000 members working in the state sector.

“That’s because the policy is based on a mistaken belief that the growth in the public service in the last eight years has been due to an increase in so called ‘bureaucrats’ rather than an increase in front line public servants,” says Brenda Pilott.

The fact is there were major shortages of front line public service staff such as prison officers, social workers and DOC rangers at the end of the 1990s. “This is because after nine years of National-led governments the number of public service staff had been reduced to the lowest level since the end of the Second World War,” says Brenda Pilott.

This had a major impact on the ability of public servants to deliver public services. For example some government departments, such as the Department of Work and Income, were so run down in 1999 they were unable to carry out core functions like preparing briefing papers for the incoming government.

“There were even delays in counting the votes during the 1999 election because of a lack of experienced staff and the fact that there was no national infrastructure to run the election,” says Brenda Pilott.

“But the major impact of the public services cuts in the 1990s was a serious shortage of both front line public servants and support staff such as policy analysts, accounting staff, legal staff and ICT specialists.”

We had to rebuild the public service and that’s been the prime reason for an increase in the number of public servants since 1999,” says Brenda Pilott.

Mr Key says National will cap the number of bureaucrats and instead direct government spending at front line services - when in fact that’s already happening.

For example the Corrections Department hired 730 new staff between June 2006 and June last year because they opened three new prisons.

Inland Revenue employed an extra 370 staff in the same period. They were needed to run new programmes such as KiwiSaver. By the end of February nearly 470,000 New Zealanders had joined KiwiSaver with 55,000 joining last month. IRD needs to ensure it has the staff to meet this demand from working New Zealanders to join KiwiSaver.

Mr Key also demonstrates a lack of experience and understanding of how the public services and government works when he tries to draw a line between between front line public servants and
support staff he labels as ‘bureaucrats.’

“Does he want front line public servants like social workers to stop working with children and families because they have to do all the administrative paper work and planning for the future,” says Brenda Pilott. “Or is National planning to privatise parts of the public service by contracting them out?” .
The PSA has been talking to Government departments about productivity and we can see scope for streamlining their reporting and monitoring systems and the many layers of management.
“But we reject the policy of capping staff numbers in the public service when the demand for public services continues to grow,” says Brenda Pilott.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Madrid Climate Talks: Decade Ending 2019 Likely To Be Hottest On Record

Exceptional global heat driven by greenhouse gas emissions mean this decade will most likely go down as the warmest on record, according to the World Meteorological Organization...

The agency also finds that 2019 is on track to be the second or third warmest year in history, with the global average temperature during January through October, roughly 1.1 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial era.

“If we do not take urgent climate action now, then we are heading for a temperature increase of more than 3°C by the end of the century, with ever more harmful impacts on human wellbeing.” More>>


NZ First Conflicts Of Interest: New Details Around Timeline

New information has emerged showing it was the New Zealand First chief of staff who identified potential conflicts of interest between a forestry company and two senior government ministers, sparking a series of declarations. More>>



Five New Cancer Meds In Six Months: Pharmac Funds More Cancer Medicines, Faster Assessment

PHARMAC has confirmed that two new medicines – olaparib for ovarian cancer and fulvestrant for breast cancer – have been approved for funding... Rituximab and bortezomib, which are already funded, have also been approved for widened access following successful commercial proposals from new suppliers. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Stoking Fears About Cannabis Law Reform

It was always going to be hard to have a rational debate on cannabis reform. Far easier for politicians to win votes by stoking alarm... More>>


Tūhoronuku Mandate Recognition Ends: "New Opportunity" For Ngāpuhi Treaty Negotiations

The Crown is providing an opportunity for the hapu of Ngāpuhi to rebuild its framework from the ground up for collective negotiations to deal with its historical Treaty claims... More>>


Pike River: Next Phase Of Recovery Underway

“Fresh air will be pumped into the Pike River Mine drift this week, following acceptance of the plan for re-entry beyond the 170m barrier by New Zealand’s independent health and safety regulator WorkSafe." More>>


Peters Stoic: Russia On Afghan Firing Range Deaths

The foreign minister won't be calling in the Russian ambassador concerning comments made about New Zealand soldiers in Afghanistan. In a media briefing late last month, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said New Zealand must investigate crimes against civilians. More>>


Christchurch Call: Online Crisis Response Workshop In Wellington

Governments and tech companies are holding a two-day workshop, hosted by YouTube/Google in Wellington, to test the Christchurch Call Shared Crisis Response Protocol. More>>





InfoPages News Channels