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Govt expects 470 public service jobs will go

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Tony Ryall
Tony Ryall

Wellington, April 30 NZPA - The Government expects 470 public service positions will go by the end of next year, State Services Minister Tony Ryall's office has confirmed.

The Labour Party blew the whistle on the cuts today, saying it had Cabinet papers which showed health, education and Inland Revenue would bear the brunt of what it called "indiscriminate cuts to public services".

State services spokesman Grant Robertson said the papers were confusing and showed 460 positions would go by the end of this year. A spokesman for Mr Ryall told NZPA the correct figure was 470 at the end of 2011.

Mr Robertson said the cuts would lead to poorer services for the public.

"We already know the cuts in the health sector will mean doctors and nurses will spend less time with patients and more time filling in forms," he said.

"Yet National seems determined to cut what they call backroom staff who actually make the system work."

Mr Robertson said the cuts he had discovered through papers obtained under the Official Information Act were not the end of the story.

"Finance Minister Bill English has already signalled that $1.8 billion over four years will be cut in this year's budget -- this will lead to the end of more programmes and more job losses."

Mr English said last week the $1.8 billion would be "redirected" from poor quality programmes and shifted to priority areas. He said at the time about 1500 public service jobs had been lost so far and he expected the process would continue.

Mr Robertson said National did not have a plan for developing "21st century" public services.

"Of course the public service needs to adapt and change, but this needs to be done by working with communities, businesses and public servants themselves rather than cutting services and staff," he said.

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