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


Got yourself in a tight spot overseas? Just call 0800

23 February 2012

Got yourself in a tight spot overseas? Don’t worry, just call 0800

Sacking diplomats and contracting out support work could impact on New Zealand’s interests overseas and leave citizens in trouble abroad without adequate support, says the PSA and the FSA, the two unions representing staff at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Over 300 jobs are set to go as the Ministry looks to save millions of dollars due to the Government’s direction to save money.

“It’s difficult to see how sacking hundreds of capable staff, including diplomats, is going to advance New Zealand’s interests. These are the professionals we send overseas to build relationships and open doors to new markets,” says PSA Assistant National Secretary Jeff Osborne.

“There’s a risk that such severe job cuts and planned closure of some embassies will damage our interests overseas.”

“Unions received a consultation document a short time before staff. The changes proposed are wide and deep and need careful consideration. What we’ll be looking for in the consultation document is – when the New Zealand public and businesses need help – will there be staff available to respond to their needs as professionally in the future as they do now?

“We know that savings are being required. But will this make for better foreign policy and trade outcomes? Opening new markets for exporters is one the few realistic economic policy levers available to the Government. And MFAT is proposing to cut 63 frontline positions? It doesn’t stack up, says Jeff Osborne.

“In addition, over 240 support staff are part of the proposed reduction, both locally employed staff and corporate staff from the Ministry. These are the people who get New Zealand nationals out of disaster, war and terrorist zones,” says Jeff Osborne.

“They use the clout of the New Zealand Government when citizens are taken into custody abroad and they assist bereaved and distressed families when New Zealanders die overseas. Do New Zealanders really want these roles contracted out? I don’t think so. They want people on the ground working in their best interests.

“No one is saying efficiencies can’t be made, but they must be well considered. Will dumping staff and risking a cheapened contracted out model for services result in New Zealand looking second-rate overseas?

“Staff are open to changes which will improve the Ministry’s effectiveness and bring about the best outcomes for New Zealand, but this looks like another example of a chief executive who’s been set an impossible task – make it work better with less - a lot less.

“Foreign policy is about influence and relationships; it’s not a business and can’t be measured as one,” says Jeff Osborne.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Our Unreal Optimism About The Economic Impact Of Coronavirus

At this week’s Chinese New Year celebrations, PM Jacinda Ardern was resolutely upbeat that business with China would soon bounce back to normal – better than ever, even - once the coronavirus epidemic has been brought under control. To Ardern, the adversity has only accentuated just how close we are to Beijing Nothing wrong with being upbeat, if it can calm the nerves and turn business sentiment into a self-fulfilling prophecy. The problems begin when the optimism detaches itself from reality. What has been very odd so far about the coronavirus episode is that global share markets – normally spooked by mere sneezes or sniffles in the world’s major economies - have continued to be fairly positive, even as the epidemic has unfolded... More>>

First Published on Werewolf here


Gordon Campbell: On The Political Donations Scandals
Even paranoids have real enemies. While there has been something delusionary about the way New Zealand First has been living in denial about its donations scandal, one can sympathise with its indignation about Paula Bennett and Simon Bridges being among its chief accusers. More>>


UN Expert: NZ Housing Crisis Requires Bold Human Rights Response

This is a press statement from UN Special Rapporteur on the right to housing at the end of her 10-day visit to New Zealand. The Government of New Zealand has recognized that the country is facing a housing crisis, said Leilani Farha, UN Special Rapporteur ... More>>


2020 And Beyond: National’s Economic Plan

National Leader Simon Bridges has today outlined National’s economic plan heading into election 2020. “National understands the economy and how it impacts on New Zealanders day to day lives... More>>


Abortion Legislation Committee: Abortion Bill Report Presented To The House

The Abortion Legislation Committee has presented its report on the Abortion Legislation Bill to the House. A copy of the report is available here. The bill seeks to have abortion services provided like other health services... More>>


Auditor-General's Report : Water Management

The Auditor-General’s report Reflecting on our work about water management was presented to the House of Representatives today. Over the last two years we have been looking at how well public organisations are carrying out their water management ... More>>






InfoPages News Channels