Government still hasn’t slashed enough public service jobs – David Seymour

The government has still not slashed enough public service jobs, ACT party leader David Seymour says.

RNZ’s tally shows more than 6000 jobs have already gone, or are set to go – with some ministries yet to reveal how they will meet their savings targets as directed by Public Service Minister Nicola Willis.

Responding to select committee questions during scrutiny week, Willis put the number of jobs lost at 3900, saying media tallies included some job losses that would have gone anyway as part of standard restructure processes, or time-limited funding and projects coming to an end.

But neither count was enough, Seymour said.

“I’m never comfortable with any level of government spending that could be reduced,” he said.

“If it was just ACT in power, the savings to the taxpayer would be greater, that would also involve a smaller public service.”

However, it was thanks to ACT that public service job cuts were this deep, he said.

“It is a classic example of this government’s dynamics. The government hasn’t gone as far as ACT would, but it has also gone further than it would without ACT.”

Seymour campaigned on downsizing the public service by 15,000 staff – a return to the 2017 headcount. However, that was later pared back to 7500 to account for population growth and other factors.

The country had previously got by just fine with fewer public servants, he said.

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“New Zealand had a stable size of the public service in the years 2012 to 2016.

“There’s been some population growth since that period, but by and large we saw a New Zealand government that could function and deliver the services people needed.”

Meanwhile, the head of a multinational recruitment firm has labelled the cuts the most “invasive” he has seen since he began recruiting in Wellington in 2009.

As a result, the capital’s job market was “bleak”, Robert Walters NZ and Australia chief executive Shay Peters said.

And public servants told RNZ there was no point looking for work in Aotearoa, and they were heading to Australia where it was easy to land a job.

“The Victorian state government pumps a lot more money into the social sector than we do, and so I want to go somewhere where the public service actually has the ability to be useful in delivering support,” a Ministry of Social Development staffer said.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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