22 Apr 2010

More public servants set to lose jobs

8:28 pm on 22 April 2010

More public servants are likely to lose their jobs as the Government continues to clamp down on its spending.

Finance Minister Bill English says 1500 jobs have already been cut from the public service in the past year and expects more to go.

In what was billed as Mr English's most significant pre-Budget speech, he told the Wellington Regional Chamber of Commerce on Thursday that the Government will cut more low value spending and re-allocate it to frontline services.

The Government has identified $1.8 billion worth of what it calls low quality spending that it will cut and redirect into priority areas over the next four years.

Mr English said the $1.8 billion was in addition to $2 billion worth of low quality spending redirected in the 2009 Budget. He said the money that can now be spent on better healthcare, education and keeping New Zealanders safe.

The minister says government departments will get the same message they got last year - that there is no extra money. Most will have to make do with the same or even less.

Mr English acknowledges that will probably mean additional job losses because departments will have to cover cost increases from within existing budgets. He did not say how many jobs might go.

The minister said there is considerable scope to provide better services by improving processes, removing duplication and reallocating spending to frontline services. The Government will continue to weed out low quality spending.

The Budget will be delivered on 20 May.