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Broom sweeps through Human Rights Commission with staff cuts signalled

19 Apr 2013


Staff cuts loom at the Human Rights Commission as the result of a cost-cutting review and a change in organisational direction, according to the Public Service Association.


At the same time as the government appoints a number of new commissioners the Human Rights Commission has announced a strategic review of its operations.


The Commission has been battling a shortfall of funds and has been told by the government that there will be no additional baseline funding until 2020.


It has presented staff with a proposal which would see more than 10 full-time jobs cut along with a number of part-time and fixed term positions.


PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff says it represents about a 15 per cent reduction in overall staff numbers.


“In an organisation of its size with only about 72 full-time staff, that’s a pretty big hit and will have significant flow-on effects in terms of workload and efficiency.  The scale of the proposal has taken staff by surprise.”
Staff are also disappointed by what they believe is an unfair and lop-sided approach to the review.


Richard Wagstaff says “while the axe is falling on staff, the number of management positions is being increased.  The Commission has always had plenty of well-paid managers and this appears to be a classic case of building up managers and cutting workers.”


“There are also concerns that the strategic direction outlined in the review will impact on the Commission’s ability to proactively work with the community in ensuring everyone’s human rights are protected and upheld.” 


Suggestions of moving the HRC’s head office from Auckland to Wellington have also unsettled staff and the whole organisation will be on tenterhooks for another year while it continues to try and make a range of savings.


The PSA has been talking to its members and is preparing a formal submission as part of the review process.  Submissions close on 3 May and the Commission is expected to release its final decisions on May 29th.

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