14 Oct 2011

Some MAF restructuring plans changed after feedback

1:41 pm on 14 October 2011

The Ministry of Agriculture says it's taken note of staff views on restructuring to adjust some of its regional proposals.

MAF has confirmed restructuring plans following the merger with the Ministry of Fisheries earlier this year.

It will shed more than 230 positions, mostly corporate services and policy advice staff in Wellington.

With more than than 100 of the positions already vacant, the plan means there will be 128 redundancies.

MAF's director general Wayne McNee says it received more than 900 submissions from its 2500 staff.

As a result, it has made changes to the restructuring plans especially relating to policy and support functions in its regional offices.

Mr McNee says the original proposal considered changing the structure of its regional offices in places like Hamilton and Nelson but MAF has now decided to maintain its regional presence, though some support functions for regional offices will be reduced and centralised.

He says there will be no frontline staffing cuts for fisheries surveillance, quarantine inspectors or animal welfare officers.

But the PSA union, representing MAF staff, says it's a cost-cutting exercise that threatens to put the country at risk, because it's dumping the jobs of specialist agricultural, biosecurity, food and fisheries advisors.

National secretary Richard Wagstaff says the loss of support and advisory positions will affect the ability of front-line staff to do their jobs.