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Government’s scythe cuts nearly 200 IRD jobs

August 4, 2011

Government’s scythe cuts nearly 200 IRD jobs from provincial communities

Provincial New Zealand is bearing the brunt of the Government’s public sector cuts, as Inland Revenue (IR) prepares to slash nearly 200 jobs from its Invercargill, Nelson, Rotorua, Napier and New Plymouth sites, says the PSA.

The cuts follow over thirty job losses at IR offices in Greymouth, Timaru and Gisborne.

IR presented the proposal to staff at its offices in Invercargill, Nelson, Rotorua, Napier and New Plymouth this morning (Aug 4th). Representatives from the PSA will meet with its members over the next few days to consider the impact and develop a response.
Some of the work being transferred to metropolitan hubs is work that can be done anywhere: so-called “virtual jobs”.

“Last year, IR tabled a national restructuring plan to staff. A PSA submission had some influence on the final plan, but IR refused to move on the substantive proposal to relocate so-called virtual jobs from its small, medium and satellite sites,” says PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff.

“Provincial New Zealand needs more jobs, not less.

“There’s a scarcity of work in provincial NZ in particularly. Good jobs bring benefits for the whole community, so local businesses are impacted when jobs go.

“This Government has been serving up spin to the New Zealand public since it came into office. Calling public servants wafflers and belittling the importance of so-called “back-office” roles.

“At a business lunch in June, Finance Minister Bill English told attendees that people outside Wellington have “tears of joy in their eyes” as the government “reins in” the public sector. Cutting jobs, services and income from provincial economies is nothing to be joyful about.

“The greatest truth that gets lost in the Government’s spin is the fact that 60 percent of public service jobs are outside of Wellington.

“Public service workers deliver services to New Zealanders throughout the country – from Cape Reinga to Stewart Island. In Auckland, public service and wider state sector jobs account for nearly a quarter of the city’s workforce, so when the government slashes over a billion dollars from the Budget the whole of New Zealand is impacted, not just Wellington.

“IR is calling this overhaul an “efficiency drive” but it’s actually Government downsizing in action with the dirty work of implementing the cost-cutting being left to public sector chief executives.

“This second phase of IR’s reorganisation will see the agency’s medium sites in Invercargill, Nelson, Rotorua, Napier and New Plymouth slashed from 345 to 154. If this trend continues in the next phase of restructuring more than 500 jobs could go from the regions. Where is the economic sense in that?” asks Richard Wagstaff.

“Despite conceding that “virtual jobs” can be done anywhere, IR is ripping work out of the regions for ‘economies of scale’. That’s a move that goes against the agency’s ethos of being a flexible organisation. It’s also short-sighted from a long-term strategic point of view.

“Provincial sites generally attract longer-term employees so it makes no business sense to re-locate virtual jobs to large cities and risk losing these highly-valued employees. Older workers with years of institutional knowledge and experience look for increased flexibility over their work, not less,” says Richard Wagstaff.


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