The National/ACT Government’s axe has fallen on the Environment Ministry today, with staff being flown to Wellington to discover a raft of environmental programmes introduced by the last government will be scrapped.
With them will go at least 18 jobs, making a mockery of the Government’s election pledge to merely “cap” rather than cut the public service, not to mention its stated commitment to “keep Kiwis in work” during the recession.
After the meeting, chief executive Paul Reynolds confirmed staff had been briefed on plans to restructure the ministry, partly in response to Cabinet decisions on Monday to axe programmes – including Labour’s flagship drive to implement a carbon neutral public service.
In other decisions by Cabinet, the ministry’s “govt 3” programme – which encouraged government agencies to adopt sustainable policies, including recycling – is being axed; the sustainable households programme (helping households with energy saving tips) was being scaled back; and a halt had been called to the installation of recycling bins in public places. The ministry had also been told to stop work on the Bioethics Council, which it supports with secretariat services.
The mask has well and truly slipped.