web analytics
The Standard

Life in the front lines

Written By: - Date published: 12:36 pm, February 23rd, 2012 - 33 comments
Categories: jobs, national, public services - Tags: ,

Hey remember how the Nats weren’t going to cut frontline staff? How’s that working out? Headlines from the last few days:

‘Broken promise’ claim as frontline Defence jobs slashed

Frontline health jobs on the line as cuts bite

‘D-Day’ for MFAT staff

Front line staff. Campaign promises. Both expendable.

33 comments on “Life in the front lines”

  1. Uturn 1

    It’s simple, we cut all the front line staff and replace them with smart phone software. We create jobs by reducing the available jobs. We grow by reversing the growth cycle. We change by not changing at all. Reduction is growth, contraction is expansion. For further enquires I will be in my office 3pm till 9am, but not on weekdays.

    • aerobubble 1.1

      Don’t be silly. 1984, the ultimate goal. A broadband connection to the great leader in every home, with spanking brand new roads for police squads to rapidly deplore to your home. The three great world powers fighting an everlasting war for your attention. One day we pro-Asia and buy their trains, the next day we hate them for buying our farm land and selling us crap rolling stock, then the next day alls happy again, China is our big ally in the dreaded war for Growth.

  2. marsman 2

    How many staff does Shonkey have in his Department? Any cuts there? Does Bill English still need an extra hour free cleaning of his house?
    NAct = Mindless destruction of anything that offers a service to ALL New Zealanders.

  3. tc 3

    Yet another vacuous slogan never questioned by the docile compliant MSM.

    It’s what you don’t see with this mob, Ryall’s been busy slashing away in the health portfolio for years now, she runs at 10% CPI so simply not giving it 10% each cycle is effectively cutting it. Then you have whanau ora trough filled with existing health funding and here we are folks…chickens meet roost.

    The back office amalgamation in akl DHB’s is another supercity style ‘race in with gravy train consultants in tow’ and is mired in the sort of red tape they told everyone they were eliminating to save ‘frontline jobs’.

    Waikato DHB is one of the best in NZ and services a large area so it’s what the others aren’t saying that should worry everyone.

    • insider 3.1

      the chair of Waikato DHB was on the radio this morning saying there were way too many DHBs and a real need to get rid of duplications of management layers across them.

      • McFlock 3.1.1

        There is a trend towards DHB regionalisation which might be for good or ill, but the debate largely distracts from the obliteration of essential ministry staff, aging buildings and overworked healthcare staff.

      • Jono 3.1.2

        Yes, but he continued by saying that Waikato’s problem was the budget blow out refitting their medical campus (ie not management costs).

      • muzza 3.1.3

        There is a 5 year rationalisation programme currently in play, that has a number of private companies involved, complete with consultants, providing advice on how to save the MOS money. One company I am familar with on the programme, has no clinical staff on board, nor do they have people involved with health sector experience!

        This will be a very big cock up!

  4. Jilly Bee 4

    Hmmmmm – in Claire Trevett’s piece in the Herald she attributed the quote from the Labour leader to Phil Goff!!!!! http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10787497 One would think that a senior journalist would be able to get her facts correct.

    • Te Reo Putake 4.1

      It was Goff, Jilly Bee, talking about the MFat sackings, in his role as Foreign Affairs spokesperson.

      • Jilly Bee 4.1.1

        Have a look at the article Te Reo Putaki – she said the quote was from from the Labour Leader, Phil Goff. She should have said PG was the Foreign Affairs spokesperson. I have emailed Claire and she has replied to me acknowledging the error.

        • Te Reo Putake 4.1.1.1

          When I looked, before commenting above, it definitely attributed the quote to Goff as Foreign Affairs spokesperson, so perhaps it was edited between your comment and mine? I note that the piece is now being bylined ‘Derek Cheng’, too! Maybe Claire was so ashamed of her error that she has had her name taken off it?

    • Lanthanide 4.2

      If you’re saying the article calls Phil Goff the Labour leader, then it doesn’t say that now.

  5. Lanthanide 5

    Was this a promise for the 2011 election, or the 2008? I don’t recall it being made again for 2011, but expect I’m simply mistaken.

    • felix 5.1

      You’ll probably find it was a promise never made at all, rather a series of carefully crafted slogans that were repeated to give the impression of a commitment which never existed in the words actually spoken when interpreted literally.

      Any listener would reasonably be left with the impression that a promise was made not to cut frontline staff, but Key can turn around now and say he never said that. And he probably didn’t.

      People will eventually catch on to his way of speaking, but by then the country will be sold out from under us.

      This is how it works.

      • McFlock 5.1.1

        Or as Key would phrase it: “yeah well cutting frontline staff is not something that nah not consider really concentrate maybe on other areas of concern might be more in that sort of thing” 

  6. js 6

    If there is another public health crisis such as a flu epidemic, NZ will no longer be able to cope. The necessary public health capacity was built up over the time of the Labour government but it’s all gone now.

    • Ianupnorth 6.1

      +1 – we lost 16 positions in a regional public health unit during the last restructure, jobs are frozen, as are budgets, but the work is actually increasing due to outbreaks of TB, measles and skin infections. The money has been channeled to Tony Ryall’s Hip replacement and elective surgery budget – nice vote buyers those!

      • sara reece 6.1.1

        The problem with your statement is that under National nurse and doctor numbers have increased, as have the number of critical surgeries performed.

        That indicates that what they are doing is far better than what Labour achieved.

        You guys seem to think the 10,000 extra public service jobs that Labour created were all frontline staff. The reality is most of them were managers, team leaders and policy analysts.

  7. Akldnut 7

    Lets not forget their lies on police staff numbers growing because of there great planning BIG FAIL.

  8. james 111 8

    After Labor increased Staff by 44% in the Government departments in their 9 years in office.

    At a huge cost to tax payer there was no option but to weed out the dross ,and the excess.
    that should never have been hired in the first place.It was a cute move by Labor to move people from the Dole queues to the government departments. However in the end it costs the Tax Payer more bold decisions have to be taken to reign in all those years of wasteful spending

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 8.1

      More total ignorance from you. In 1999 govt spending was 31% of gdp. In 2008 it was 31% of gdp. It is now 35%

      Do you understand?

      • sara reece 8.1.1

        Show some actual GDP figures instead of percentages and it would be more meaningful. The tax rates and population differences between your two dates make using a percentage absolutely meaningless.

  9. Pete 9

    I tried emailing this as a guest post a couple of weeks ago but it didn’t turn up (the posting form wasn’t working for me), I guess it went down the memory hole.

    The Vortex of Suck

    There’s not a lot of sympathy out there for public servants. The general impression of them seems to be either they are a bunch of do-nothings engaged in cushy Glide-Time or a load of Sir Humphreys undermining the representatives of the people. They are dismissed as bureaucrats whose sole purpose is tie-up progress.

    That’s the general background animosity that public servants have learnt to live with – after all, the terms of their employment demand nothing more than silent, stoic endurance, and they do hold to the ideal of impartially carrying out the policies of the government of the day. Often they really are working out of a sense of vocation, in the true spirit of public service. Public servants, like anyone else, look to find meaning in their work. It’s a hard time to be one, though – be they in Greece, the United Kingdom or New Zealand. It’s not a good feeling when the government you serve regards you and your colleagues with more disdain than something you might find on the sole of your shoe. This has the unsurprising effect of jading many of the best of the public service, who are already looking to move on. Figures from the State Services Commission already show that core unplanned turnover – the number of state servants who are quitting their jobs rather than being made redundant – has already recovered from its historic low of 9.2% in 2010 to 10.9% in 2011. This departure of talent, combined with a de-facto sinking-lid policy will result in a downward spiral resulting leaving behind an ineffective and demoralised public service. A vortex of suck.

    I have no argument that it’s tough – or even tougher – in the private sector. But the general goal of private enterprise is the growth of business. This implies the intention to retain staff, or even employ more people. In the public service, the mantra is “do more with less”. In other words, contraction. When politicians start cutting through the jungles of red-tape with the machete of deregulation and the weed-whacker of austerity, the jandalled foot of good governance can suffer a nasty wound.

    As this country has faced crises over the past three years – earthquakes, Pike River, the economy, we have learnt the value of good public services and the pitfalls of insufficient oversight. We are in danger of forgetting the lesson Neil MacGregor set out in A History of the World in 100 Objects:

    “Modern politicians often proudly announce their desire to sweep away red tape. The contemporary prejudice is that too much paper-work slows you down, clogs things up. But if you take a historical view, it’s bureaucracy that sees you through the rocky patches, and enables the state to survive. Bureaucracy is not evidence of inertia, it is life-saving continuity”.

    We ignore this truth at our peril.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      Right Wing strategy is to demonise the Public Sector and extol the Private Sector, which facilitates the next step of cutting the Public Sector and letting the Private Sector take over all the best potential money making parts.

      The Left have been shit at defending the importance of the public sector in terms of cultural memes, as has the PSA.

  10. Rodel 10

    There is a similar plan for education….get as many kids as possible on ‘e-learning’ working on IT interfaces and drastically reduce the number of teachers so your kids may be in classes of 50 or more but don’t worry the computers and tablets will teach them.

    So I’ve been told by a rep from a firm called ‘Core Education’ with multi million dollar government contracts that they’re working on this process now hoping to get it established at all levels before the teacher unions become aware. Ahhh …Progress and efficiency..

  11. James N 11

    Does anybody else get tired of the meme “efficiencies” being trotted out so regularly as an adjunct to the announcement of job cuts in the public service. Why can’t they tell the truth? A reduced work force whether front or rear line necessarily equates to inefficiencies. Try arguing that the All Blacks could perform more efficiently with 12 players rather than 15, or that three people could push a stuck car out of the mire (rather where we are at the moment) more “efficiently” than six.

    As for working “smarter”… Don’t get me started.

    • sara reece 11.1

      A better analogy than 12 vs 15 on field players is the All Blacks performance difference when they had a team of 35 backroom staff vs a team of 40 backroom staff.

      • Kotahi Tane Huna 11.1.1

        Got the ideological blinkers super-glued on? The government is cutting frontline staff, whether you got the memo or not.

        A better analogy would be to grab the National Party by the scruff of the neck, and drown it in the bath.

  12. marsman 12

    With all the cost cutting Bill English still manages to rack up a fifty billion dollar Govt. debt, how inept is that. It’s GROSS MISMANAGEMENT!

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Steven Joyce takes the scalpel to medical students
    This November access to the Student Loan scheme will be cut off at seven years seriously harming medical students. Studying to become a doctor takes years of hard work, dedication and intense study and it’s a blunt tool and… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    1 day ago
  • Tolley must assure safety of vulnerable clients
    Social Development Minister Anne Tolley must guarantee the safety of Relationships Aotearoa’s thousands of Māori clients – some of whom are very vulnerable – following the closure of the nationwide counselling service, Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says. Relationships… ...
    1 day ago
  • ANZ has moral obligation to fully compensate farmers
      The ANZ Bank has a moral obligation to fully compensate farmers after the High Court today declared it breached the Fair Trading Act by misleadingly representing interest rate swap loans, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. The Commerce… ...
    2 days ago
  • Fairfax can’t use restructure to cut terms and conditions
    The restructure and upheavals at Fairfax should not be used as an opportunity to cut journalists’ terms and conditions, Labour spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway says. “Businesses have to adapt to new technologies and consumer demands and there is… ...
    2 days ago
  • McCully excuses unravel in Saudi sheep scandal
    Murray McCully has misled New Zealanders, Parliament and his Cabinet colleagues on the real reasons for paying millions of dollars in the Saudi sheep scandal – it’s time for him to clean, says Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson David… ...
    2 days ago
  • Nats break health and education spending promises
    National has outstanding promises of almost $1 billion to be spent on health, education and agriculture from the Future Investment Fund but has only $536 million left in the fund, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “John Key and Bill… ...
    2 days ago
  • Manurewa youth leaders acknowledged
    The depth and breadth of leadership of youth throughout Manurewa, which has been recognized at the Youth Week Award ceremony held at Parliament this week, should make the community extremely proud, Manurewa Labour MP Louisa Wall says. “The 'Limitless Youth… ...
    2 days ago
  • Oi Auckland Transport: fare’s fair
    Auckland Transport should go back to the drawing board on its proposal to charge commuters for its park-and-rides, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “When we need to be getting people out of their cars and onto public transport, it’s… ...
    2 days ago
  • Is Nick Smith making it up as he goes along?
      Housing Minister Nick Smith must release the list of Crown land parcels which formed the basis of the Government’s Budget announcement, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “If the public is to have any faith the Government is not just… ...
    2 days ago
  • Norway moves first to dump coal investments
    The Green Party today called on the Government to secure cross-party support to sell its investments in coal mining companies.The Norwegian Parliament's finance committee agreed in a bipartisan motion yesterday to instruct the $1.2 trillion Government Pension Fund to sell… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    2 days ago
  • Fonterra payout $13b black hole over 2 years
    Fonterra’s dramatic cut to its forecast farmgate payout over this season and next will lead to a $13 billion black hole over two years, and shows the need for a plan to diversify the economy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant… ...
    2 days ago
  • Labour calls for select ctte inquiry into Rural Broadband Initiative
    Labour is calling for an immediate inquiry into the flailing $300 million rural broadband initiative, before companies and consumers are forced to pick up the tab for the new $150 million broadband tax, says Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran. “Rural… ...
    2 days ago
  • Public broadcasting takes big hit under National Government
    Public broadcasting funding has been cut by 25 per cent in real terms since the National Government took office in 2009, leading to the erosion of our once world-class news and current affairs culture, says Labour Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran. … ...
    2 days ago
  • Hospital food plan hits another snag
    The Government has been left with egg on its face with Hawke’s Bay District Health Board today giving a plan to outsource hospital food services the thumbs down, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Doing away with local kitchens by… ...
    3 days ago
  • Hospital food plan hits another sang
    The Government has been left with egg on its face with Hawke’s Bay District Health Board today giving a plan to outsource hospital food services the thumbs down, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Doing away with local kitchens by… ...
    3 days ago
  • Wilkinson appointment wrong in principle
    The appointment of former Conservation Minister Hon Kate Wilkinson as an Environment Commissioner is wrong in principle, says Labour’s Shadow Attorney-General David Parker. “The doctrine of separation of powers requires judicial processes to remain separate and independent from the legislature… ...
    3 days ago
  • McCully doesn’t deny bribe in Saudi sheep scandal
    “In Parliament today I asked Murray McCully directly: Why is he the first Minister in history to back a multi-million dollar facilitation arrangement which in other jurisdictions is called a bribe? says Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson David Parker.… ...
    3 days ago
  • National must back our future doctors
    National must support our future doctors and agree to the calls from the Medical Students’ Association and the Young Nats to lift the arbitrary 7 year cap on student loans for medical and dental students, Labour’s Tertiary Education Spokesperson David… ...
    3 days ago
  • Taxpayer the loser after Government folds
    Steven Joyce today admitted the main exhibition hall at the New Zealand International Convention Centre is 19 per cent smaller than what was described at the time other bidders were edged out of the process, Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David… ...
    3 days ago
  • Govt’s lack of ambition for women
    Yesterday, the Government put out a media release entitled “Number of women leaders continues to grow”. It was to inform us that the percentage of women on state-appointed boards has increased to 41.7%, up from 41.1% in 2013. Well, woo-hoo… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • Auditor-General exposes Key’s scapegoating of Council
    The National Government's blaming of Auckland Council for the city’s housing crisis has been exposed as scapegoating in the Office of the Auditor-General’s latest report, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Auditor-General says Auckland Council’s part in fixing the… ...
    3 days ago
  • Reform – not money – needed for meat sector
    The National Government continues to throw good money after bad at the meat industry instead of addressing the fundamental problem of its dysfunctional structure, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “The latest Primary Growth Partnership grant to the venison… ...
    3 days ago
  • Government cuts corners on school bus funding
    The safety of children – not cost cutting – should be the main objective behind the Government’s funding of school buses, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Buried in the detail of this year’s Budget are $19 million of funding… ...
    3 days ago
  • Women the losers under National’s cuts
    National’s poor performance in appointing women to state sector boards is set to get worse with funding cuts to the nomination service provided by the Ministry for Women, Labour’s Woman’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “Minister for Women Louise Upston… ...
    3 days ago
  • Help sought by agencies now asked to help
    The organisation Social Development Minister Anne Tolley has tasked with setting up an emergency hotline for stranded Relationships Aotearoa clients has just lost a bid for a government contract to launch a new national helpline, Labour’s Acting Social Development spokesperson… ...
    3 days ago
  • Wellington got loud again on climate
    On Monday night, in Wellington, I attended the last of the Government’s climate target consultation meetings. It was quite well attended with maybe 150 people, not bad for a second meeting with very little notice and, as far as I… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • Final nail in coffin for Solid Energy workers
    Today’s confirmation of job losses at Solid Energy’s Stockton and Spring Creek mines shows the urgent need for new economic opportunities on the West Coast, Labour’s MP for West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “Our economy can no longer rely on… ...
    4 days ago
  • Ramadi proves Iraq deployment high risk, low benefit
    The fall of Ramadi and the collapse of the Iraqi Army proves Labour was right to be concerned about the deployment of our troops to Iraq, Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff says. “The fall of Ramadi brings IS fighters within… ...
    4 days ago
  • English admits new taxes on the cards
    Eight months after pledging “no new taxes” at the election Bill English today admitted he would bring in more sneaky taxes along the lines of the border tax, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Not only did National bring in… ...
    4 days ago
  • What the Dickens is going on at SDHB?
    Problems at the financially-strapped Southern District Health Board appear to stretch to its HR department with information obtained by Labour showing it still records staff leave entitlements using manual book-keeping methods. “The Board’s draft 10-year plan document forecasts a cumulative… ...
    4 days ago
  • Teachers turn backs on new professional body
      The fact that just 56 per cent of nominations for the Education Council came from registered teachers shows the profession has turned its back on Hekia Parata’s new professional body, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Answers to written… ...
    4 days ago
  • No spade work done on big building plan
      Only a quarter of the 500 hectares of Crown land the Government wants to use for new homes is understood to be suitable for building on, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “This was National’s bold new idea to… ...
    4 days ago
  • National: Seven KiwiSaver cuts in seven years
    National’s campaign of KiwiSaver cuts has reached seven in seven years as it dismantles KiwiSaver block by block, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “KiwiSaver is critical to establishing a savings culture in New Zealand but National has taken a jenga-style… ...
    4 days ago
  • Tolley’s actions contradict reassurances
    Social Development Minister Anne Tolley has serious questions to answer following the forced closure of Relationships Aotearoa just days after her reassurances she was looking at ways to keep the service operating, Labour’s Acting Social Development spokesperson Annette King says.… ...
    4 days ago
  • SkyCity downsize another broken promise
    The downsized SkyCity Convention Centre does not deliver on the promised iconic world-class centre and shows the true extent of Steven Joyce’s incompetence, Labour Leader Andrew Little said today. “New Zealanders were promised an iconic world-class convention centre that would… ...
    4 days ago
  • Te Arawa partnership model a step closer
    Councils around New Zealand have an opportunity to improve their consultation with Iwi Māori by following Rotorua District Council’s Te Arawa Partnership Model, Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says. “The Rotorua District Council will today decide whether to adopt… ...
    4 days ago
  • Labour mourns Dame Dorothy Fraser
    Labour Leader Andrew Little said the party is today mourning the loss of the youngest person to join the Labour Party, Dame Dorothy Fraser, who went on to be a stalwart of the Dunedin community and tireless worker for others.… ...
    5 days ago
  • The ultimate scapegoat: PM blames fruit fly for new tax
    The Prime Minister has found the ultimate scapegoat for breaking his promise not to introduce a new tax – the Queensland fruit fly, Labour’s Biosecurity spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “John Key’s first policy upon taking office and assigning himself the… ...
    5 days ago
  • How many victims missing out on protection?
    Hundreds of domestic abuse victims could be missing out on getting protection orders because they are unable to get legal aid, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“In the last two years some 351 people who applied for legal aid for… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government kicks hardworking whanau
    A major incentive to help young Kiwis and people on low incomes to start saving has been kicked out from under them with the National-led Government ramming through short-sighted legislation under Urgency today, Labour’s Maori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says.… ...
    1 week ago
  • Speculator tax political stunt gone wrong
    Bill English’s admission he doesn’t know whether National’s new speculator tax will have any effect shows last weekend’s announcement by the Prime Minister was a desperate political stunt, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “This Government is so desperate to… ...
    1 week ago
  • The value of parenting
    This week, as part of the Budget, the government introduced a bill to address child poverty. This bill will require parents receiving income support to look for part-time work once their youngest child is three years of age rather than… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Another new tax, another broken promise
    National has unveiled yet another new tax in this budget – a rural broadband levy that will almost certainly result in an immediate price hike for internet and telephone connections across New Zealand, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran said “The… ...
    1 week ago
  • Anniversary of Sri Lankan Tamil Massacre
    This is not going to be a happy story but if the Green Party of Aotearoa doesn’t want to know who else will? May 18th marks the anniversary of what is known as the ‘Mullivaikal massacre’ of Tamils in 2009 at… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • Labour MPs join youth to take part in 40 hour famine
    A team of Labour MPs took part in the 2015 World Vision 40 hour famine and we were told by World Vision and the young people, that it was the first time MPs had joined them and how appreciative they… ...
    1 week ago
  • Rodeo: ‘Family entertainment’ or animal abuse?
    Recently  TVNZ ran a story with confronting footage showing rodeo animals being punched, repeatedly shocked with electronic prods and having their tails violently twisted over their backs. It was clear that significant force was being used behind the scenes to make… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    1 week ago
  • Budget puts the squeeze on police
    The Government has cut funding to the New Zealand police force in the latest Budget, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The reduction is a whopping $15.3 million that could put front line officers at risk. ...
    1 week ago
  • Crucial social services take another hit
    The Government looks set to slash half a million dollars of funding for critical social services, including Women’s Refuge and Barnados, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni “Taking $500,000 from organisations aimed at improving the lives of vulnerable families… ...
    1 week ago
  • Saying it Loud on Climate in Christchurch
    The Government’s Christchurch consultation meeting on New Zealand’s emission targets was inspiring – not for what was in the Ministry for the Environment’s (MFE’s) defeatist video about the obstacles to changing to a low carbon future, but for what the… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • Budget silent on small business
    The Government has completely ignored one of the most important sectors of the economy – small and medium-sized enterprises – in Budget 2015, Labour’s Small Business spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. "A stunning 41 per cent of jobs were created by… ...
    1 week ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere