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MAF cuts threaten New Zealand industries

August 24, 2011

MAF cuts threaten New Zealand industries

Cutting further jobs from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry will threaten some of New Zealand’s most important industries, says the PSA.

MAF staff were told this morning that 241 positions would go throughout New Zealand.

While just under 100 of those positions are unfilled vacancies, the PSA understands that 144 people will lose their job and that around 80 percent of those are based in Wellington.

“Many of these people provide the analysis for sound practice on the ground that protects our forestry, fisheries and agriculture industries,” says PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff.

“These industries are critical to our economy and we shouldn’t be putting them at risk.

“These cuts will result in the weakening and removal of crucial management of agricultural, biosecurity, fisheries and forestry systems which are designed and implemented to protect New Zealand.

“We’re in danger of repeating the experience of the 1990s when the loss of knowledge, expertise and adequate staffing levels in the public service led to disasters, and economic costs for the whole country,”

“Some of those skilled people will go overseas, so the loss of knowledge and expertise won’t just be to the public service, it will be to the whole of New Zealand industry.

“The PSA will be working with our members to get the best results for them that we possibly can in this very difficult time and ensure that whatever is done is done so in a fair and transparent way.

Slashing hundreds of jobs is one of several actions the Department is taking in a bid to save $18 million. It will also be looking for cost efficiencies across its support systems. Some work will not be done in the future after re-prioritisation has occurred.

“This is another example of a department being forced to deal with the Government’s indiscriminate and unjustified public service budget cuts.

“A top-down approach to restructuring is not the best way to bring about budget efficiencies at MAF or any other public service department.

“Successful change can only be done with the people who know best what changes will bring the smartest ways of working and the most cost-effective results – the workers who actually do the job,” says Richard Wagstaff.


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