Treasury has repeatedly proven itself incapable of forecasting its way out of a paper bag but, for some reason, that doesn’t stop it trying to tell everyone else how to do their jobs. Currently, they’re pushing for larger class sizes in the reduced education budget. Someone should ask why the education budget is under pressure but Treasury’s isn’t. Wait, someone did.
Chris Hipkins: Has the Minister seen reports that Treasury, which has no front-line staff, has increased its staff numbers by over 13 percent in the last 3 years and that the number of staff earning over $100,000 at Treasury has increased by 8 percent, and that in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, which, coincidentally, also has no front-line staff, personnel costs have increased by over 13 percent and the department had an $800,000 budget blowout? And why is it that his department and the Prime Minister’s department are growing fatter while the rest of the Public Service, which provides genuine front-line public services, is having its funding cut?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: The member’s last statement is wrong. I could point out to him that Treasury and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet have overseen a fairly significant event called the Christchurch earthquake, which has required the deployment of $9.5 billion of public money. If Treasury has been able to supervise that with the addition of a few staff, then it is doing an extremely good job.
Uh, huh. So Treasury and DPMC need extra staff because of the earthquakes but actual frontline public services can handle cuts. Sounds like Bill English has been sipping on that Treasury kool-aid again.
Of course, we know that English will always have a blank cheque ready for Treasury. The ‘farmer from Dipton’s only job before entering Parliament was as a Treasury analyst.