I’ve just listened to John Key’s interview on Radio Dunedin last week:
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“I also think we need to get a lot of the bureaucracy and red tape out of the way. I don’t know if you noticed but on Tuesday a story came out saying that the core bureaucrats in Wellington [WRONG] – and we’re not talking about nurses, doctors and teachers – had gone up 5% to 44,000 from 32,000 [WRONG]. That’s an awful lot of people pushing paper and we would rather see that money focussed on people on the coalface.
The story he’s presumably commenting on is here.
In the story you won’t find any mention of Key’s “core bureaucrats in Wellington” because that’s not what the story is about. Instead it’s focussed on the moderate growth of the “core public service” nationwide. Neither does the story report a rise in staff numbers from 32,000 – that’d be a 27% increase, not a 5% increase.
National wants us to believe that errors like these are trivial, but they’re not. What these errors of fact show are either that Key’s prepared to be consciously economical with the truth or that he’s sloppy (or perhaps a bit of both). Neither is a good look.
So we have an extra 2288 staff in the “core public service” nationwide. Who then are these people if they’re not doctors, nurses and teachers. Who are all these bureaucratic paper pushers that John Key would sack?
Well it turns out that they’re the people helping to ensure that you and I retire with a decent income, they’re the people helping to keep criminals locked up, and they’re the people helping to prevent criminal re-offending out in society.
If these aren’t the people at the coalface, who are?
If Key had done his research (or simply read the article) he’d know that of the 2288 new employees 732 were from Corrections and 371 were from the IRD.
Just for the sake of completeness, here are the three new prisons that Key would have to close to get those 700+ “paper pushers” back off the books:
The Nats’ 2005 law and order policy pledges to “Ensure greater use of preventive detention” and “Introduce post-release monitoring”.
I wonder how they’re intending on doing either of those things while simultaneously taking an axe to prison and parole staff numbers.