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Government slashes ‘waste’

Written By: - Date published: 10:59 am, July 4th, 2008 - 36 comments
Categories: labour, national - Tags:

The Government’s new core benefit will see all beneficiaries given the same treatment and the same assistance to get into work if they are able. The changes will reduce monthly costs for both beneficiaries and MSD. The more efficient system will save $40 to $70 million a year (source: newsroom). A cheaper system that will help people into work more effectively. Of course, National opposes it.

So, the Government just made public sector $40 million plus more efficient. How’s that compare with the ‘waste’ National has identified and from which it still claims it fund its tax cuts? Let’s ask the ‘Waste-o-meter’.

It is becoming clear that National will not identify any significant ‘waste’ to cut, which raises the question what will they gut to fund their $3 billion plus tax cuts?

36 comments on “Government slashes ‘waste’ ”

  1. leftrightout 1

    Any guesses on how Crosby/Textor will spin this?

  2. Steve – From scoop.co.nz:

    “In the 1989 Budget, Labour announced plans to implement a new system based upon the concept of a generic benefit.

    Steve Maharey announced in July 2000 that the Government was working towards a single core benefit.

    Steve Maharey said in February 2002 (election year) that Labour wanted to introduce a universal benefit during its next term.

    In February 2005 (election year) Steve Maharey said legislation for a single core benefit would be introduced that year.”

    Hmm sounds like this might be an attempt at distracting from the very successful protest by the truckers this morning.

    BTW a quick spin through the other Google hits indicates that the Greens and beneficiary groups also have concerns about this policy.

  3. Byran. This policy was announced yesterday at the same time as MSD’s income report.

  4. Steve: So are you saying it hasn’t been announced during previous election years as claimed on Scoop?

  5. No Bryan. I’m saying it wasn’t announced because of the truck strike.

    And I don’t care if it’s taken a long time to develop. It’s going into action now.

  6. Matthew Pilott 6

    Bryan, you always link to interest website – perhaps your mate Bernard would like to put up a positive post about Labour’s latest achievement and how much money they’re saving! Probably not, huh?

    P.S. was anything in those ‘scoops’ incorrect? Was the government working towards it on 2000 (albeit slowly)? Was legislation introduced in 2005? Did Labour plan to introduce the benefit in their next term (after 2002, maybe meaning 2005-2008 term?), (which is what has happened)?

    Bit of a delay from ’89, agreed!

  7. Matthew: Nineteen years to action what I would think would be core Labour policy ?

  8. Liam 8

    I think that you would be hard pressed to argue in 1989 that a universal benefit was core labour policy. Roger Douglas hinted at wanting this is opposition budget in 1980 so it is not a new idea. But he clearly had bigger plans for social policy then this in the 1980’s.

    so, i dont think you can argue that it has been core policy for 19 years. It has been talked about regularly in for the last 8 years and now looks like it is going to be put into action next year.

  9. Liam: “now looks like it is going to be put into action next year.” Wouldn’t that require Labour to win the election ?

  10. bill brown 10

    Wouldn’t that require Labour to win the election ?

    Yes it would, perhaps you should vote for them to make sure it does.

  11. Liam 11

    yes, that is right, that is how an election works. you need to be in power to make changes and to put your policy in to action

  12. Matthew Pilott 12

    Core policy Bryan? I don’t think so, I don’t know a lot about it but it sounds like a handy detail in the GSoT(that saved a lot) but core policy’s about more than that.

    I’m not too sure about saying ‘x years to do y‘ either. You could easily say that the party was formed in 1916 so we’ve been waiting nigh on a century for them to do y

    Oh, do you think The Wastewatch Party will not do this because it’s a Labour policy? Not exactly the precedent they’ve set to date!

  13. Oliver 13

    The Labour government and waste. I’m a public servant whose particular role sees me working very closely with four other departments in the public service. I see stacks of waste every day that has largely come about from managers having stacks of cash to spend and to little oversight on how they spend it. Or rather they have plenty of oversight but those overseeing just don’t care.

    Most of the waste doesn’t come in the form of big splash items that make good headlines but if the slightest bit of pressure was applied then all 5 departments (the one I work for and the 4 I work with) could make a lot of savings and increase productivity at the same time.

  14. higherstandard 14

    Oliver report to room 546/1 for reprogramming :]

  15. Draco TB 15

    Most of the waste doesn’t come in the form of big splash items that make good headlines but if the slightest bit of pressure was applied then all 5 departments (the one I work for and the 4 I work with) could make a lot of savings and increase productivity at the same time.

    And how this is different to the private sector?

    Also, blaming this on Labour is disingenuous as it’s the culture within those departments that has developed over many years and nothing to do with the Labour Party or government. If you want it to change then you need to change the culture and that means getting off your arse and doing something about it rather than whinging about it.

  16. Oliver- “that has largely come about from managers having stacks of cash to spend”

    Interesting, thanks for your insight into the world of the public service for those of us trapped in private enterprise 🙂 I hope your IP address isn’t currently being reported to the State Services Commission so you can be reprimanded for being honest!!!

    And why do public service “managers have stacks of cash? Because us taxpayers keep on giving it to them.

    [lprent: We do capture IP’s. But they are only used for purposes internal to the site – like unique visitor stats and helping to ban trolls. It is in the Policy.]

  17. Draco TB: “And how this is different to the private sector?”

    Draco a question like that tends to indicate you must be working in the public sector. The difference is that the public sector are wasting our money.

    If for example New World chooses to waste money then it either makes less profit or it loses customers to it’s competitors. If SPARC wastes money then…nothing happens or they get given even more money to waste next year.

  18. Draco TB: “nothing to do with the Labour Party or government.”

    Draco Labour has had 9 years to do something about it. What they have done about it, is to spend even more money on projects like SPARCS $11 million MissionOn website that gets 40 page views a day ( my 7 year old sons website gets more).

  19. higherstandard: “Oliver report to room 546/1 for reprogramming :]”

    If Labour wins the election HS there will be a few of us being taken to room 546/1 for “re-education”.

  20. Draco TB 20

    Draco a question like that tends to indicate you must be working in the public sector.

    Haven’t been in the public sector for nearly 20 years. The point I was trying to make is that I’ve seen that type of behavior in every single multi-national corp I’ve worked in since. It seems to be endemic to large organisations and there’s no difference between public and private.

    If for example New World chooses to waste money then it either makes less profit or it loses customers to it’s competitors. If SPARC wastes money then nothing happens or they get given even more money to waste next year.

    That depends on the systems and culture within the organisations not on it being public or private. Just changing the systems won’t work – you have to change the culture and that would take years. Then there’s the cost of changing it and the effect of diminishing returns – trying to remove any more of the waste may cost more than it will save.

  21. lprent 21

    I’d have to agree with Draco. I’ve worked all over the place during the years in private industry. What I saw in my one contract with the public sector wasn’t much different than the type of management styles that I saw in big corporates.

    It is also why I never work in either these days.

  22. Draco TB: you seem to be ignoring the fundamental issue. When the public service wastes money it is wasting my money and assuming you pay tax in this country yours as well.

  23. Matthew Pilott 23

    HS – wrong bracket : then )

    In many circumstances, the private sector spends far more than the public on non-productive things, because they don’t have the oversight that is ever-present in the public service (the whole “front page of the paper” thing). It’s disingenuous to suggest that there’s public waste that wouldn’t happen in the private sector.

    Waste happens all the time, everywhere. It’s just never going to go away, though it does make a useful beating stick from time to time!

  24. higherstandard 24

    Bryan you bet me to it.

    The rational that incompetence and waste is OK in the public sector because it’s no worse than in big corporates is absurd.

    I agree with both Lynn and Draco that there is substantive waste in big corporates and that it’s endemic in any large corporates – surely though this is an argument for smaller government and governmental departments not the corporate game of let’s put on some more heads to justify our existence and fill the meeting room.

    MP have pity I’ll try again 🙂

    Feck it worked

  25. mike 25

    “The more efficient system will save $40 to $70 million a year”

    So now that labour have been in power for 9 years we are supposed to be greatful that they have wasted $360 to 630 million dollars.

    Too little too late

  26. They were meant to magically have the system 9 years ago? mike, good things take time, not everything can be done at once (there are only so many policy staff, and aren’t you usually complaining there are too may?)

    Anywya, you’re argument isn’t a reason to vote National either. They had nine eyars and did nothing, at least Labour has developed and implemented the policy

  27. Matthew Pilott 27

    Mike, doesn’t that mean the last National govermnent wasted the same money, as did Labour before that? bleedin’ gummint.

    HS 8) now try an 8 for the slightly zonked look.

    Now – waste – sure it’s not good if it is public. Or private. But let’s assume (I think we can) that both are as bad at it as the other. That’s definitely what I’ve gathered.

    So, a transfer to a private provider for x service won’t necessarily save anything. Thus, if it’s more efficient to be publicly funded for whatever reason, you lose that efficiency simply to be able to say your taxes aren’t being wasted. There are other reasons, such as freeloading, that necessitate public central provision.

    That’s all it comes down to, pre- or post-tax waste. That’s no argument for small government or public service bashing in my (theiving Social Democrat) mind.

  28. Draco TB 28

    Draco TB: you seem to be ignoring the fundamental issue. When the public service wastes money it is wasting my money and assuming you pay tax in this country yours as well.

    No, I’m not ignoring it. I’m trying to point out that you can’t eliminate waste from large organisations and to even try would just be more wasteful. You do the best that you can but at some point you need to cut your losses. I’m reasonably certain that those public organisations are already doing their best the same as the multi-national corporations do.

    surely though this is an argument for smaller government…

    Maybe, if we use that logic, we should cut out the multi-national corporations as well?

    The government isn’t a single organisation. There are some parts that are a few people and are probably just as efficient as a small business and there are some that employ thousands that have the same efficiencies as large multi-national corporations. If you cut these large government departments down you don’t end up with a smaller, more efficient government but with a government that can’t do it’s job.

  29. higherstandard 29

    Draco you can eliminate waste from large organisations – it’s called redundancy, retrenchment, downsizing etc etc

    “There are some parts that are a few people and are probably just as efficient as a small business and there are some that employ thousands that have the same efficiencies as large multi-national corporations. If you cut these large government departments down you don?t end up with a smaller, more efficient government but with a government that can?t do it?s job.”

    Really ? In my opinion that really is the multimillion dollar question and is what we should be debating.

  30. Draco TB et al. There is a consequence in the private sector for excessive waste and poor performance it’s called bankruptcy. Perhaps we should let the public sector go bankrupt ? Might focus a few minds.

  31. Swampy 31

    “Draco TB
    July 4, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    Most of the waste doesn’t come in the form of big splash items that make good headlines but if the slightest bit of pressure was applied then all 5 departments (the one I work for and the 4 I work with) could make a lot of savings and increase productivity at the same time.

    And how this is different to the private sector?”

    The private sector is where the government gets most of its money from. That is quite a big difference.

    The big topic in this forum is renationalisation of rail, and if you believe half of the reasons put about by the proponents of that cause then there can’t have been any waste at all at Toll Rail because they are all fat cats looking to screw the maximum profit from their operations.

  32. Swampy 32

    The benefits supposedly of public sector oversight are few and far between.

    Mostly the public sector gets bogged down in political footballs and albatrosses where financial sense is lacking, and that happens because the accountability is much lower.

  33. Swampy 33

    If I was the National Party I would be asking where the average taxpayer is going to see that $40 to $70 million saving. Is that going to pay for tax cuts?

  34. Swampy: Good points Swampy.

    The supporters of the nationalisation of rail have conveniently forgotten that while in government hands : “in 1990 $1.2 billion of debt was written off and a $360 million cash injection had to be made to keep it afloat.” Quoting Roger Kerr

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