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MFAT cuts come home to roost

27 August 2013

MFAT cuts come home to roost
News that the government is now looking to boost the number of trade specialists in Asia proves just how short-sighted last year’s major restructuring at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade was, according to the Public Service Association.

The Prime Minister has come out and said that MFAT’s capacity may have to be increased in some critical Asian markets following recent food safety issues.

Last year MFAT lost about 80 jobs including frontline foreign policy officers as the result of government budget cuts and a very difficult restructuring process.

“It was always hard to see how getting rid of capable and experienced staff was going to be in New Zealand’s interests in terms of its global and trading relationships. The government was warned about that but chose not to listen,” says PSA National Secretary Brenda Pilott.

“The Prime Minister seems to think he can just snap his fingers and restore some of the lost capacity, but it’s not always easy to replace valuable skills and experience and could see MFAT spending even more money on external contractors.”

“It’s what happens when you shed experienced people without thinking of the longer term implications. It’s not a very smart or professional way to be running New Zealand’s foreign affairs and trade,” she says.

John Key also said he has no regrets about the restructuring and job losses at MFAT.

“I would think that many MFAT staff who were either made redundant or have been left very disaffected by the restructuring process, would find that very hard to hear,” Brenda Pilott says.


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