• Posted on: 20/12/2023
  • 2 minutes to read

Today’s much vaunted mini-Budget provides little clarity for thousands of public service workers who now go into the Christmas break with no further understanding of their futures or how services they provide New Zealanders will be cut.

The Government is proceeding with spending cuts of at least $6 billion over four years to the public sector.

"This is disappointing. Finance Minister Nicola Willis is also the Public Services Minister and our members expected her support to provide better public services, not fewer which we believe is the risk here," said Kerry Davies, National Secretary for the Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi.

"There is no justification in today’s announcement for its plans to slash spending at various government agencies. We will be defending public service workers and the valuable work they do for New Zealanders to prevent any lasting damage to the sector.

"We welcome the comments of the Minister that department heads should work directly with public service workers to find efficiencies as they know their areas best, but now more than ever, we should be investing in public services. Instead she is talking about the 2017 head count as being some sort of guide to the right size for the public sector when we know life is very different today.

"It’s a flawed approach. Our world has changed much since 2017, our population has grown by half a million people, and it is ageing. Climate change is here. Our infrastructure needs are growing, and society is changing.

"The Government in particular talks about the need for good infrastructure planning, but yet it doesn’t acknowledge the need for expertise in the public sector to help do that well.

"Finance Minister Nicola Willis has also today again repeated the misleading rhetoric of shifting resources from the back office to frontline. It’s as if she has discovered some magic formula for the public sector to keep providing services without the support of the rest of the team.

"The PSA’s task in the next six months is clear. We will use the collective strength of our 90,0000-plus members to defend the jobs and services they provide. We will stand in solidarity with each other and make sure our collective voice is heard," said Kerry Davies.