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Let’s cut more public services and resources – then what?

October 12th, 2011

Let’s cut more public services and resources – then what?

Finance Minister Bill English should come out and say where the hard squeeze on the public sector is going to be if National is re-elected for a second term, says the PSA.

“Bill English is happy to tell journalists he expects more public sector job losses but he’s not so quick to mention the impact of these,” says PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff.

“Recent events ranging from inadequate public transport services during the opening of the Rugby World Cup to the Canterbury earthquakes have highlighted the importance of a well-resourced public service. Further cuts could reduce New Zealand’s capacity to cope when disasters strike.

“As Brian Rudman reports in today’s New Zealand Herald, a formal review in June noted that New Zealand didn’t have sufficient equipment to enable a rapid response to a major oil spill. Further public sector budget cuts aren’t going to address that inadequacy or others like it.

“Where is the benefit of deregulating to the point where we invite industry to take risks or cutting the public service back to the point where it can’t respond quickly when disaster strikes?

“The Royal Inquiry into the Pike River Mine disaster has highlighted troubling safety issues and a lack of regulations in the mining industry. It’s deregulation that has us paying billions of dollars now for up to 89,000 leaky homes.

“Bill English talks of public sector belt-tightening without even contemplating a reversal of last year’s tax cuts which created a $1 billion hole in the Government’s accounts. Worth about $5.5 billion, they have mostly benefitted the well-off have and widened the inequality gap.

“We’d like Bill English to tell us what’s going to be cut and from where.

“Perhaps more jobs will go from the regions on top of the DOC, IRD and education jobs that have been slashed in recent weeks.

“Perhaps from the health sector which according to CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg as of June was $127 million short of what it needed to stand still will be squeezed more.

“We’ve already seen cuts in many areas of health including home help for the elderly, hospital care and cancer treatment, with budgets so tight it has to be asked how the country would cope with a health pandemic.

“Surely these examples show that cutting and deregulating public services costs New Zealand much more in the long-run,” says Richard Wagstaff.


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