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Govt Faces Criticism After Putting Cap On Public Service Numbers

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Tony Ryall
Tony Ryall

Wellington, March 27 NZPA - The Government has put a cap on the number of public service employees and although the number has been taken from last year it is facing criticism from Labour and the Public Service Association.

State Services Minister Tony Ryall said yesterday the cap was 38,859 -- the same as it was at the end of December.

National campaigned on dealing with what it said was a bloated bureaucracy and reining in government spending.

Mr Ryall said Labour let it run out of control and in nine years the public service grew by 50 percent.

Public Service Association (PSA) national secretary Brenda Pilott said jobs were being cut and accused the Government of giving misleading signals before the election.

"The Government led the PSA, the media and the public to believe the cap would mean maintaining staff numbers," she said.

"But jobs are being cut, not capped."

She said the PSA estimated that so far about 880 jobs were being axed through positions being removed and through not replacing staff who left.

Labour's state services spokesman, Grant Robertson, said the cap represented a maximum number of employees and the Government had made no mention of a minimum.

"We already know there are job cuts at the State Services Commission, the Tertiary Education Commission, the Ministry for the Environment and the National Library," he said.

Some departments have been excluded from the cap, including the Prison Service and Child, Youth and Family.

The police and the defence force are not considered to be core public service departments.

Mr Ryall said staff numbers were going to be "rebalanced" within departments to achieve the government aim to improve frontline services.

"Departments are looking at smarter ways of delivering results and ensuring that all expenditure is carefully managed within budgets," he said.

NZPA PAR pw nb

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