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Wider And Deeper Cuts To Public Services On Cards As Government Scrambles To Fund Tax Cuts

Public services relied on by New Zealanders are at risk as the Prime Minister Christopher Luxon comes clean and reveals the true extent of the Government’s plans to cut public services.

In the election campaign National identified 24 government departments and agencies that would face cuts to help fund the party’s tax plan.

At his first post-Cabinet media conference of the year yesterday, the Prime Minister revealed that the axe would fall on all spending across all public service organisations.

‘We’re asking all government agencies and all government departments to look at their spending and to identify whether there is any potential savings,’ said Luxon.

Duane Leo, National Secretary for the Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi said; "New Zealanders should be worried about the impact on the services they depend on now the Prime Minister has lifted the lid on the true extent of the plans.

"The Government is quietly extending the reach of these cuts with no regard to the impact these will have on the services New Zealanders rely on.

"This is incredibly disappointing when so much progress has been made in building a strong public service in recent years.

"Clearly the Government is now scrambling to find the money to fund its tax cuts after its coalition partner New Zealand First scrapped the proposed tax on foreigners buying residential property.

"We understand the Minister of Finance wrote to all chief executives in late December and gave them a deadline of 2 February to come up with plans to shave at least 6.5% from their budgets.

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"In the main, the savings will go back into the Government’s coffers to help fund tax cuts which disproportionately benefit middle- and higher-income earners.

"Nothing appears safe given the two vital agencies which support our democracy - the Parliamentary Service and Office of the Clerk - have been targeted for cuts.

"We risk services supporting New Zealanders and businesses being eroded by these badly thought through plans.

"Now more than ever as we face big challenges, such as a growing and aging population, reducing emissions, protecting our environment, and tackling the infrastructure deficit, we need a well-resourced public service.

"As the country’s biggest union representing 90,000 dedicated public service workers, the PSA will be taking a strong stand to oppose these cuts," said Duane Leo.

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