• Posted on: 5/06/2024
  • 2 minutes to read

Workforce set to fall 30% by 2025/26

Vital work combatting climate change, cleaning up rivers and safeguarding our biodiversity will be jeopardised as the Ministry for the Environment looks set to nearly halve its workforce.

Government spending cuts are forcing the Ministry to propose reducing its full-time workforce by 303 roles. This includes voluntary redundancies made to date and ending of fixed term roles. On top of that there are some 200 vacant roles that are not being filled.

The cuts would reduce the Ministry’s workforce by 30%, with the full-time workforce set to fall from 993 to 690 by 2025/26.

"In the face of climate change impacting communities, our freshwaters being degraded, and our unique biodiversity under threat like never before, the Government is gutting the very agency on the frontline tackling these challenges," said Duane Leo, National Secretary for the Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi.

"New Zealand’s precious environment is core to who we are as a nation and how we are seen on the world stage. And it supports our economic prosperity - it’s not something any government should play fast and loose with, but that is precisely what this government is doing."

"It’s turning a blind eye to our environmental challenges and again ignoring the evidence of its own experts so it can fund tax cuts. The Ministry advised its new Minister that the environment was ‘under significant pressure’ and that effort was needed ‘if the prosperity and wellbeing of New Zealanders is to be maintained’."

Last week’s Budget slashed the Ministry’s funding by $316 million, impacting programmes across climate change, freshwater protection, waste minimisation, biodiversity, environmental reporting, funding for the Climate Change Commission and support for groups taking legal action on environmental issues.

"The very people charged with monitoring environment standards and analysing data are also under threat in this proposal," said Duane Leo. "The Government promised evidence-based policy, but clearly does not value the gathering of evidence to help us better safeguard the environment.

"This proposal lays bare the Government’s misplaced priorities - putting tax cuts ahead of the environment, again showing how poorly it’s grappling with the serious and complex challenges we face.

"It makes no sense, and we will be advocating strongly to the Ministry on behalf of our impacted members to think again."