22 May 2010

National not cutting public service - English

12:55 pm on 22 May 2010

Finance Minister Bill English is standing by National's pre-election undertaking that it would not cut the public service, despite conceding on Friday, the day after the Budget, that jobs will be lost.

Speaking after a post-Budget breakfast, Mr English acknowledged the Government's plans to reprioritise $1.8 billion of spending in the public sector over four years will see jobs go.

National's pre-election promise was to cap the number of public servants.

But Mr English says it has since been left up to individual departments to find their own savings, which he admits could result in job losses.

Asked on Friday how this affects National's pre-election commitment, Mr English said departments are expected to work within their means.

He says the word cuts has been used in an emotional and loose manner.

Mr English says the Government is trying to maintain public services, with the same or less money, and that does require a lot of reorganisation.