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Report opens door to privatisation of social services

New Zealand Council of Trade Unions Media release

Productivity Commission’s report opens door to privatisation of social services

The CTU wants more support for publically provided social services and is concerned that today’s report from the Productivity Commission is an opportunity for the Government to open up social services to untested and new forms of private provision.

CTU Secretary Sam Huggard comments “in essence, this report creates the way for the Government to shift social services away from public ownership and accountability into the hands of organisations such as Serco who are focused on profit and have shown themselves to be disastrous managers of privately run prisons”.

“Experience has taught us that social services are best run when they are publicly provided, focused on providing universal, accessible services and work in collaboration with NGOs in providing services to our communities. When services are fixated with returning a profit their focus shifts away from ensuring the best service to ensuring money is saved where ever possible”.

"A huge workforce of several hundred thousand would be affected by changes in the social service sector – nurses, doctors, teachers, social workers, home support workers are some of the occupations within the workforce. Not only were these talented, motivated professionals and workers invisible in the report, also missing was any recognition that current contracting out and funding structures are leading to major problems of job insecurity, low or inadequate pay and lack of sufficient staff training and development."

“New Zealanders deserve better than this. We urge the Government in response to this Report to put people before profit, improve the conditions of employment for the workforce and keep social services publically accountable” Huggard said.


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