Wellington Scoop

Wellington staff turnover near 34%; IRD morale at all-time low, says Labour

News from NZ Labour Party
Morale at IRD appears to be at an all-time low with staff churn at the Wellington base hitting almost 34 per cent in the past year, Labour’s Revenue spokesperson David Clark says.

New figures show staff turnover at IRD was 33.7 per cent in Wellington, 28.4 per cent in Auckland and 24.7 per cent in Palmerston North in the past year.

“With an exodus like that morale at IRD is clearly at rock bottom. Losing a third of your workforce in a year in the main centre is a shocking indictment on an organisation.

“Inland Revenue is a department in crisis-mode. In just 12 months it has left one million tax returns unprocessed, failed to collect another $7 billion in tax and been responsible for breaches of over 6,300 people’s privacy. No wonder so many people are leaving.

“Peter Dunne needs to get out of his ministerial office and find out what’s going wrong at his department.

“His first priority should be to set out a proper timeline and plan to reform the department’s 20-year-old computer system. Problems in the FIRST computers are putting huge pressure on the organisation but all we’ve seen from Mr Dunne is an attempt to push accountability for addressing the issues to ‘over the next ten years’.

“No one in the Government knows what is going on with IRD’s failing systems. John Key calls it a ‘pig of a system’ but says it will cost $1.5 billion to fix. Bill English says it will cost $700 million. Peter Dunne can’t answer a straight question on it.

“No wonder people are leaving the department in droves. It’s time for Peter Dunne to step in,” said David Clark.


News from NZ Government
Labour’s Revenue spokesman David Clark has scored an own goal with his attack on Inland Revenue staff turnover rates, mixing up call centre rates with those for the overall organisation, Revenue Minister Peter Dunne said today.

Dr Clark claimed that Inland Revenue had staff turnover rates of between 24 and 34 percent in the main centres, with the highest in the department’s Wellington headquarters.

“Wrong. Wrong. Wrong – the overall Inland Revenue staff turnover rate for 2011-12 was 12 percent – not 34 percent! The average across all government departments for the year was 11.4 percent.

“That is a perfectly normal turnover rate,” Mr Dunne said. “Whether Dr Clark was being deliberately misleading or just screwed up, I don’t know, but he needs to get his facts straight before he goes out with sensationalist press releases. There is actually no excuse for him getting this particular one wrong, because it was his Parliamentary Question and he asked specifically about call centre staff and I gave him the answer. Higher turnover rates in call centres are normal. That is what happens in call centres. They typically have much higher turnover than the organisations they are in as a whole. They tend to be staffed by students who are not intent on staying long term, and have exams and the like and who would often come and go within a year. They are staffed by people who are looking for other jobs. That is the nature of the work,” Mr Dunne said.

The question asked by Dr Clark
Parliamentary Question (PQ09648(2012)
Question: What was the turnover of IRD staff, whose job description includes working in call centres, in the last calendar year, broken down by region?

Mr Dunne’s answer
Auckland 28.4 per cent
Wellington 33.7 per cent
Palmerston North 24.7 per cent