• Posted on: 24/11/2023
  • 2 minutes to read

The incoming Government’s coalition agreements are a blueprint for slashing the public and community services New Zealanders rely on and risk setting back race relations.

“The plans unveiled today represent an attack on public and community services, public sector workers and the progress we have made in honouring te Tiriti o Waitangi and delivering for Māori,” said Kerry Davies, National Secretary for the Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi.

“As the largest union representing public sector workers, we want a constructive relationship with the incoming Government, but our message to new Ministers is that the PSA will defend a strong public service and vigorously protect the interests of our members.

“National and ACT have made much of the need for ‘better public services’ – we agree that’s important, but we believe that is a false promise based on the scale of spending cuts proposed.

“At a time of great challenge for New Zealand, from climate change, from an ageing population and from the increasing costs and complexity of health services amongst many others, we should be investing in a strong public service, not reducing spending.

“The axing of the proposed Foreign Buyers Tax which partly funded the income tax cuts raises a big question about how deep the proposed spending cuts will now need to go.

“The incoming Government is ignoring the facts – the public service has been rebuilt in recent years and has helped us all get through COVID and recent storms – it is now on par with the size of countries we compare ourselves to like Australia and the UK.”

The repeal of Fair Pay Agreements, the health and safety provisions that came of the Pike River tragedy, and the introduction of oppressive 90-day trials for all employers are all backward steps that the PSA will oppose.

The PSA is also very disturbed by the backtracking on the progress we have made in recognising the legitimate aspirations of Māori and honouring te Tiriti.

“National’s agreements with NZ First and ACT point to an unwinding of that by removal of co-governance from the delivery of public services, and by diminishing the importance of te reo Māori.

“This does not get New Zealand back on track, but just setbacks racial relations in this country and risks the gains we have made in delivering better outcomes for Māori.

“The PSA will keep advocating for the progress we have made towards a strong bicultural partnership. We will strongly push for the current approach of providing evidence-based services that meet the needs of Māori, including keeping Te Aka Whai Ora (Māori Health Authority).

“We will also oppose attempts to roll back the use of te reo Māori in the public service,” said Davies.