17 Mar 2010

Ryall warns of more public sector job losses

3:34 pm on 17 March 2010

State Services Minister Tony Ryall has warned that there will be further job losses in the core public service.

He says the Government's continued focus is on capping the growth in government administration and moving resources to the frontline.

The Government shed 1480 jobs from the public service last year, a cut of 3.8%.

Inland Revenue lost the most positions, dropping 467, while the ministries of Health and Social Development both cut 201 jobs, data from the State Services Commission shows.

The Department of Conservation lost 104 positions, and the State Services Commission shed 89.

But the Labour Party says the Government has systematically broken its promise to cap, but not cut, the public service.

Spokesperson Grant Robertson says the Government's cuts have hit frontline services in biosecurity and Child, Youth & Family.

Mr Robertson says the Government appears to be setting the groundwork for the future privitisation of public services.

The Public Service Association says the Government's policy of capping the number of core public servants is a farce, and instead it is cutting jobs across the board.

National secretary Brenda Pilott says many of the jobs lost have been on the frontline. She says the Government is also using a sinking-lid policy to reduce staff numbers, and many vacancies are not being advertised.

Mr Ryall says National campaigned to cap the size of the core bureaucracy, and it has allowed more resources to be freed up for frontline jobs.

He says that in the past year there has been an increase of 540 full-time jobs in key agencies not covered by the cap, such as Child, Youth and Family, Work and Income and Community Probabtion and Psychological Services.

Mr Ryall says further reductions in staffing are expected as many departments adjust to little or no extra funding over the next few years.

In all, the number of full-time equivalent jobs in the core goverment administration last year fell from 38,859 to 37,379.