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Contracting out of public services signalled

PSA MEDIA RELEASE November 17, 2008

Private sector-run razor gangs signal contracting out of public services

The Public Service Association is concerned that having private sector representatives running reviews of government spending foreshadows another era of expensive contracting out of public services and is laying the groundwork for future sales of state assets.

Prime Minister-elect John Key has announced he will establish a series of Task Forces - with private sector representatives and private sector chairs - that will undertake fundamental reviews of base government spending. Mr Key admits this could lead to some work being outsourced to the private sector.

"Having the private sector chairing Task Forces reviewing government spending signals a return to the 1990s when National-led governments slashed public services and contracted the work out to the private sector," says PSA National Secretary Brenda Pilott.

"The idea that this will create savings is a myth because unlike the public sector the private sector has to make a profit."

Brenda Pilott says she met with John Key last week and welcomed his promise to engage with unions.

"I told him that we looked forward to having an opportunity to discuss the review of government spending and that the PSA expected to be part of that review process," says Brenda Pilott.

"In that meeting there was an acknowledgement of the perspective the PSA, as the union representing 57,000 public sector workers, could bring to the review."

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"We are disappointed that Mr Key has now announced that the private sector will be represented and will chair these Task Forces, reviewing government spending, but the voice of 57,000 public sector workers is at this point excluded."

Brenda Pilott says she is writing to Mr Key stating that she expects him to follow through with the indication given that the PSA would be included in the review of government spending.

"Mr Key talks of running an inclusive government but his actions in this area do not match his words," says Brenda Pilott.


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