The Ministry of Social Development plans to cut up to 200 jobs.
Ministry chief executive Peter Hughes says the proposed cuts are likely to affect managers, staff working in the ministry's head office or administration support roles.
Mr Hughes says the cuts are designed to promote efficiency and redirect resources to frontline services, where they are needed most.
Up to 200 jobs could go, however Mr Hughes expects the number of redundancies will be less than that. He says the ministry will work to help those made redundant find work, either elsewhere in the ministry or in the broader public service.
Mr Hughes says the latest cuts are part of a four-year review which will see about 600 jobs axed, but also several hundred new positions created.
He says there is "no way" frontline staff will be lumbered with administration duties.
Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says she is confident services will not suffer.
However, Labour Party state services spokesperson Grant Robertson says frontline staff need support and he has no doubt that services will be affected.
Mr Robertson says the National-led Government talks a lot about protecting jobs, but in fact it is responsible for cutting a large number of jobs.
Union questions job cuts
The Public Service Association is questioning why the Government is cutting staff when demand for its services is increasing in the recession.
Union national secretary Brenda Pilott says Social Development Ministry is seeing more people unemployed and looking for work and an increase in the number of Child, Youth and Family notifications.
Ms Pilott says the ministry is being forced to cut staff because it faces increasing costs and has received no increase in its budget.