Media release from NZ Taxpayers’ Union
“National should stick to its promises to rein in the public service if it is to plug the shortfall in forecast tax revenue and get back into surplus in the 2014 budget,” says Jordan Williams, the Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union.
The comments come after this morning’s Dominion Post report on State Services Commission figures showing that Wellington’s bureaucracy is the largest its been under the current Government. It’s also in the context of today’s warnings that the Government’s tax take is $1.1 billion below forecast.
“National promised to tighten the belt of Wellington so more money could be directed at frontline services. Instead, the bureaucracy is just shy of where it was under the previous government.”
“What’s alarming is the breakdown of occupation groups. The number of managers is growing, while the number of staff which interact with the public is reducing. That’s the wrong way round.”
“We need medical doctors in hospitals, not spin doctors in Wellington.”
The relevant State Services Commission report is available here.
Media release from NZ Government
State Services Minister Jonathan Coleman says there are fewer back office staff in the public service than in 2008.
“Under the previous Labour Government numbers in the core public service drastically escalated without any improvement in public services,” says Dr Coleman.
“The Government introduced a cap on core government administration when we came into office and we lowered it again in 2011. We continue to remain below the cap we set of 36,475.
“We have made Better Public Services a priority, setting tough targets across ten important result areas. The Kiwis Count survey is an objective measure of how the public feels about 42 different public services they experience. It shows a measurable increase in public satisfaction and trust in public services over time.
“The bottom line is that this Government is delivering better public services at the same time as we’ve been shifting resources from the back office to the frontline – so more doctors, nurses and police officers, and fewer in core government administration.”
Another media release from Taxpayers’ Union
Responding to the Minister for State Services, Dr Jonathan Coleman’s comments regarding public service staff numbers, Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union says:
“According to the State Services Commission, the proportion of public sector staff which are based in Wellington relative to the rest of New Zealand has increased since 2009. Unless the Minister is telling us there has been an influx of police officers and doctors into Wellington, his claim that there are less ‘back office’ staff cannot be correct.”
“Changes to how ‘core government administration’ is defined may have led to these numbers. The Minister can fiddle with labels but the facts are Wellington has more state servants now than in 2009.”
“Only by reducing the cap and forcing government staff out of the capital will taxpayers get value for money.”