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NZ: State Sector to Continue Shrinking
Source: nzherald.co.nz
Source Date: Thursday, September 30, 2010
Focus: Institution and HR Management
Country: New Zealand
Created: Sep 30, 2010

The state sector has continued to shrink under the National Government and its minister Tony Ryall says more jobs will go.

National made an election pledge to cap positions and set a cap for core government administration at 38,859 full time equivalent staff from December 2008.

Mr Ryall today said latest figures from the State Services Commission showed the number of full-time equivalent staff positions in the core government administration, as at June 30 this year was 36,771 - about 2100 fewer than when the cap was imposed.

"New Zealand experienced huge growth of the core public service administration under the previous government - out of all proportion to the numbers of frontline public servants like teachers and police," he said.

"This Government has halted that growth."

As many government departments would have little or no increase in baseline funding over the next few years, further reductions would happen as chief executives managed budgets, he said.

Labour State Services spokesman Grant Robertson said frontline jobs were also being cut and since National came into power there had been cuts to ACC, home care for the elderly, and counselling for rape victims.

"We know from the 1990s that where administrative support is cut, that staff who work with the public spend more time filling out forms and less time providing services.

"The cuts made by the National Government have been indiscriminate and have led to fewer frontline workers in areas like biosecurity, fisheries and the school library service, for example."

Mr Robertson said there was nothing wrong with efficiency but that was not what the Government was achieving.

"New Zealand needs a strong public service that delivers quality and efficient public services. What we are getting is a visionless government which is cutting services in areas like health and education."

Green co-leader Russel Norman said the Government promised to cap jobs not cut them.

"National always said they wouldn't cut front-line staff, but they certainly have in biosecurity..."

Dr Norman said that in some areas, such as health, cutting back office staff could lead to front-line staff like doctors doing more paperwork.

"If you go to a hospital and your doctor doesn't have enough time to spend with you because they have to fill out forms that used to be filled out by an admin person, then you are losing services when they cut those jobs."

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