• Posted on: 14/02/2024
  • 2 minutes to read

Savings plans ordered by the Government to fund tax cuts are due to be filed with the relevant Ministers any day now, bringing closer likely cuts to public services.

"Without doubt, the scale and breadth of the cuts demanded by the Government will be felt by New Zealanders up and down Aotearoa," warns Duane Leo National Secretary for the Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi.

Finance Minister Nicola Willis has ordered all department and agencies to cut up to 7.5% off budgets so she can fund tax cuts to largely benefit higher income earners and landlords. All plans are due to be filed by mid-February and the full extent of cuts will be revealed on 30 May in the Budget.

"We are now seeing the cold, hard reality of some of these cuts - Wellington’s Science City plan has been axed, MBIE is calling for voluntary redundancies, Parliamentary Service is warning it’s already cut to the bone - all just the tip of the iceberg.

"None of this makes sense when we should be investing in the public service. The revelation that the ageing 111 system needs rebuilding shows the Government has its priorities all wrong.

"This week Christopher Luxon again talked about ‘15,000 more public servants and no outcomes’.

"This is disrespectful to the many public servants who did the hard yards to get New Zealand through the pandemic, those who helped famers cope with the biggest threat to farm livelihoods in a generation with M. bovis, those who scrambled to support families, workers and orchardists reeling from Cyclone Gabrielle a year ago.

"The Finance Minister is also blind to the impacts of her cuts. Earlier this week Nicola Willis stressed the deep and wide cuts she’s planning would have no impact on frontline workers and services.

"However, when pressed during Question Time in Parliament today about guaranteeing no cuts to frontline services at the Department of Conservation, she would not be drawn.

"We just hope as the Minister pours over the plans in the lead up to the Budget, she’s mindful of the very real impacts her austerity drive will have on New Zealanders who now more than ever need the support of a well-resourced public service."