web analytics

Key reneges on PSA promise

Written By: - Date published: 2:13 pm, November 17th, 2008 - 24 comments
Categories: national/act government, public services, spin, workers' rights - Tags:

Well, just days after a high profile meeting with PSA head Brenda Pilott and a promise to engage with unions John Key has decided to exclude the PSA from his Task Force on the future of the public sector.

The National/ACT government will instead appoint private sector consultants and private sector chairs to review government spending and the future of PSA members’ jobs, with the results likely to recommend major cutbacks and privatisation as they did in the ’80s and ’90s.

The PSA’s Brenda Pilott is not impressed:

“We are disappointed that Mr Key has now announced that the private sector will be represented and will chair these Task Forces, reviewing government spending, but the voice of 57,000 public sector workers is at this point excluded.”

Brenda Pilott says she is writing to Mr Key stating that she expects him to follow through with the indication given that the PSA would be included in the review of government spending.

“Mr Key talks of running an inclusive government but his actions in this area do not match his words,” says Brenda Pilott.

Pilott is right to be annoyed. She and her union were used by John Key as a PR opportunity to present himself as inclusive, centrist and non-threatening to workers, then as soon as the media moved on they were dropped and shut out of the process.

This kind of cynical behaviour might work in opposition, but when you’re government it doesn’t pay to needlessly make enemies – they have a nasty habit of coming back to bite you later on.

24 comments on “Key reneges on PSA promise ”

  1. Chess Player 1

    “This kind of cynical behaviour might work in opposition, but when you’re government it doesn’t pay to needlessly make enemies – they have a nasty habit of coming back to bite you later on.”

    Um, were they not enemies already?

  2. Tane 2

    No, for all the flailing of the Kiwiblog Right, the PSA is strictly non-partisan. It doesn’t donate money or resources of any kind to any political party.

    Obviously as a union, particularly one in the public sector, they have concerns about National’s policies, but everything I’ve seen suggests they were keen to engage in good faith. I mean, their entire ethos (not that I agree with it) is social partnership with the government of the day.

    See this press release, ‘ PSA welcomes John Key’s spirit of engagement’

  3. Chess Player 3

    Fair enough….

  4. insider 4

    Brenda might be reaping what she sowed prior to the election, speaking of needlessly making enemies. If she wants to play party politics, as she did, then don’t be surprised if she is not picked by the winning team she opposed.


    It’s fine to quote a release from last week but take a look at the last few months

    “Job losses at AgResearch taste of what’s to come?”
    The PSA says job cuts at AgResearch a taste of what’s to come if we have tax cuts the country can’t afford.

    “PSA asks New Zealanders to consider cost of tax cuts”

    “Which services will National cut to pay for tax cuts? ”

    “National offers workers less job security and the chance to sell their holidays ”

    “National gets it wrong on public services ”

    “PSA says everyone will lose if National gets the chance to privatise ACC”

    Not one mention of Labour’s tax cut policy….Non -aligned. Yeah right.

  5. relic 5

    The right campaigned continuously following the 05 election and unions are going to have to do the same. ‘The mass of the peoples thinking tends to lag behind changes in events’ goes an old political truism.

    The current lovefest for the Nats, (Naori? Mational, Nact?) will likely run a few months before reality bites with a lot of kiwis. They got their change in leader and a whole lot more.

  6. higherstandard 6

    Cough cough …….The PSA is strictly non – partisan…… well it might have been some time ago, but not in recent times.


    [Tane: They stand for policies that help their members, and against policies that harm them. National’s policies on work rights and public services run directly contrary to the interests of PSA members, so the PSA responds to those policies on an issue-by-issue basis. Campaigning on your members’ issues is not the same as being partisan.]

  7. Tane 7

    Insider, I haven’t seen the PSA engage in any party politics. They’ve run up public services as an issue as any good union should, but never have I seen them encourage people to vote or not vote for certain parties.

    Anyway, I thought John Key was all about being inclusive and casting away the legacy of what he called the ‘vindictive’ Labour government?

    edit: also, I’d add, Key seemed happy to involve the PSA a few days ago. What changed?

  8. Janet 8

    What does the private sector know about the ethic of public service?

    It is OK getting private sector auditors in to audit the accounts of schools and others who are using public money. But that is because auditors know about auditing accounts. They don’t know about education, pedagogy or other aspects of teaching and learning, and don’t need to, to do this kind of audit. But Key is talking about something much more than this type of oversight.

    Getting private sector consultants on huge remuneration packages to assess public services is just crazy. They don’t even speak the same language.

    On the other hand will public servants also be able to sit on a task force on the private sector? Some of the big corporations could learn a bit about public service ethics.

  9. higherstandard 9

    Tane get real the PSA has become progressively more partisan over time.

  10. Anita 10


    Really? I would’ve argued that the PSA has become progressively more compromised by its attempts to demonstrate non-partisan-ness and its unwillingness to fight SSC for the rights of public servants to be partisan in their private capacity/time.

  11. Tane 11

    HS, if National attacks their members’ interests they have a duty as a union to respond. That doesn’t mean they’re partisan pro-Labour or anti-National.

    And like Anita says, if anything they’re overly cautious in their attempts not to appear partisan.

  12. insider 12


    yet the PSA were practically missing in action when Labour was caught interfering in the decision making of ministries and the trashing of civil servants’ reputations…

    Hypothetical changes by one party sees press releases issued whereas actual corruption of the traditions of civil service independence are practically ignored when it’s done by the party of the workers. Just the same way you guys turned a blind eye to Winston, because the ends justified the means.

  13. Anita 13


    I’m not one of the guys you think I am.

    But y’know, feel free to accuse me of all manner of stuff 🙂

  14. Tane 14

    insider, I recall the PSA commenting on the Setchell and various other affairs at the time. It’s also worth noting that the increases in press releases recently was in connection with the general election, where National was promising to screw over their members.

    I’m not going to defend everything the PSA has done – I’m actually quite a critic of theirs – but one thing they’re certainly not is a partisan pro-Labour union.

    In any case, it doesn’t explain away Key’s decision to meet with them, grab the photo op, them dump them a few days later.

  15. Scribe 15

    It’s also worth noting that the increases in press releases recently was in connection with the general election, where National was promising to screw over their members.

    What were those promises exactly?

  16. insider 16

    Sorry Anita, the reference to you was re your comment on their efforts to be non partisan.


    I did a search and could not find any statements from the PSA as condemnatory of Labour’s actual interventions as their condemnations of their imaginings of what National might do. I recall they spoke out but it was pretty tame stuff for an organisation that supposedly cares about professional standards and integrity of the civil service. All those special deals Labour cut for PSA members must have had an impact eh?

    Nor did they condemn Labour’s tax cut plans with anything like the vehemence – no press release titled “Which services will Labour cut to pay for tax cuts?” for instance. I would have thought election time was the time for them to be squeaky clean in terms of the balance of their engagement, given that is a core responsibility for their members.

  17. Tripod 17

    It also kind of demonstrates the futility of “partnership” unionism that the PSA espouses.

    I don’t really like the idea of a few top union officials meeting with National MPs, where were the delegates?

  18. randal 18

    It seems as if Keys thinks government is just a series of “DEALS”
    hmmmmm he has got a few things to find out
    everybody rolled over in the 80’s and nineties but this time it is going to be a much tougher row to hoe
    about time he earned all that money he took off the rbnz speculating in the nz currency
    clawback anyone?

  19. TBA 19

    “PSA is strictly non-partisan”

    As an ex PSA Delegate for Work ad Income that comment nearly made me wet myself with laughter Tane.

    I was told at my delegate training (just before the 2005 election) to make sure we advised our members that to a vote for labour was the only way to make sure we didn’t return to situation where the case loads were so high that staff were expected to work the entire day.

    BTW regardless of the political nature of the comment it was just plain dumb as my colleagues were all working the arses off at the time to get good outcomes for their clients.

  20. Glenn 20

    As a state sector employee with first hand exposure to what PSA stands for, I know that the very suggestion that it is “non-partisan” is absolutely hilarious. And more importantly, false.

    I also note that the article in that link offers no substantiation of the claim that key “promised” PSA anything, but The Standard is happy to accuse him of reneging on a promise. What’s up, wasn’t PSA partisan enough?

  21. QoT 21

    @TBA: That’s funny, I was at the exact same meeting and I remember that guy saying “Neep neep neep woooooooooooooooooo-bong.”

    Oh darnit, that’s the whole Internet anonymity/anecdata fallacy playing up. I don’t mean to call you a liar, but seriously, your argument is “I, an anonymous poster, state my personal experience.”?

  22. Fusster 22

    Read the November 2008 PSA Journal: “Election 08 what does it mean for your job?” and tell me the PSA is non partisan. Read Page 13. Comments like “others are proposing steps back, like a Fire at Will bill…” are highly emotive. Can’t even use the proper term for it. The whole Journal that month is designed for people to vote for Labour/Green/Progressive etc…

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • World Soil Day: valuing our soils key to a better world
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has marked World Soil Day (5 December) with a $6.25 million investment in mapping New Zealand’s most valuable soils which are vital to our economic, environmental and social wellbeing. “The more we know about our natural resources, including soils, the better we can make good sustainable ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • Government receives interim report from the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse
    The Government has received an interim report from the Royal Commission into Historical Abuse in State Care and in the Care of Faith-Based Institutions. The terms of reference for the Royal Commission required a progress report on the inquiry‘s work to date to be delivered to the Government by the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs announces diplomatic appointments to Malaysia and Austria
    Foreign Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta has announced Pam Dunn as New Zealand’s next High Commissioner to Malaysia and Brian Hewson as New Zealand’s next Ambassador to Austria and UN Permanent Representative, Vienna. Malaysia “New Zealand and Malaysia enjoy a warm bilateral relationship. We have had diplomatic relations for more than 60 years, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • Intention to appoint a Commission for Tauranga City Council
    Minister of Local Government, Hon Nanaia Mahuta, has confirmed the Tauranga City Council has been advised of her intention to appoint a Commission in response to significant governance problems among the Council’s elected representatives and the findings of an independent review. “I have been closely watching the conduct of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Pacific Health Scholarships 2021 about improving access to healthcare for Pacific communities
    Associate Minister of Health, Aupito William Sio is calling on any Pacific students studying health or disability-related courses to apply now for a Ministry of Health Pacific Health Scholarship. “These scholarships acknowledge the vital role Pacific people play in our health workforce. This was most visible through our Pacific workforce's ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    24 hours ago
  • Speech to Auckland Trade and Economic Policy School
    CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY   Thank you for the opportunity to speak today. I want to recognise the hard work of the University of Auckland’s Public Policy Institute in putting on this event. Bringing together internationally recognised leaders and thinkers on trade and economic policy, with exporters, business leaders, diplomats, economists, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • NCEA Level 1 changes give students a broader foundation
    The Government is making changes to NCEA Level 1 to ensure it remains a strong, credible qualification that supports young people into employment and further education, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Last term, the Government initiated a wide-scale review of the National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA), involving consultation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Crown accounts reflect positive economic trend
    The Government’s books were again better than expected as the economy continued to recover post COVID lockdown, the Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Crown Accounts for the four months to the end of October were far more favourable than what was forecast in the Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Update ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Increase to supplier diversity through new procurement target for Maori Business
    Māori enterprises are in line for greater opportunities to do business with government agencies under an initiative to spread the benefits of the economic recovery.  The Ministers for Māori Development and Economic and Regional Development have announced a new target to encourage public service agencies to cast the net ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Climate emergency declaration will be matched with long-term action
    Today’s climate emergency declaration will be backed with ambitious plans to reduce emissions, the Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw today. “Our Government has put New Zealand at the forefront of climate action over the last three years. Declaring a climate emergency and backing this with long-term action to reduce ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Celebrating the success of Prime Minister’s Oranga Tamariki Award winners
    28 young achievers who have been in the care of Oranga Tamariki or involved with the youth justice system have received Oranga Tamariki Prime Minister Awards in recognition of their success and potential, Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. At the awards ceremony in Parliament, Kelvin Davis congratulated the rangatahi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Public sector to be carbon neutral by 2025
    Public sector to be carbon neutral by 2025 Immediate focus on phasing out largest and most active coal boilers Government agencies required to purchase electric vehicles and reduce the size of their car fleet Green standard required for public sector buildings The Government has launched a major new initiative to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government fulfils election undertaking on new top tax rate
    The Government will today keep its election promise to put in place a new top tax rate of 39 per cent on income earned over $180,000. “This will only affect the top two per cent of earners. It is a balanced measure that is about sharing the load so everyone ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Sir Robert Martin re-elected to UN Committee
    New Zealand welcomes the news that Sir Robert Martin has been re-elected to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, says Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Minister for Disability Issues Carmel Sepuloni. “Sir Robert has been a lifetime advocate for persons with disabilities and his experience brings a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New rules to protect Kiwis from unaffordable loans
    The Government is making sure all consumers who borrow money get the same protections, regardless of where they get their loans.   “Building on the work to crack down on loan sharks last year, we’re now making the rules clearer for all lenders to help protect borrowers from unaffordable loans” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New visitor attraction to boost tourism
    The opening of the first major new tourism attraction since the global outbreak of COVID-19 closed borders to international travellers will provide a welcome boost to visitor numbers in our largest city, says Tourism Minister Stuart Nash. Mr Nash has this afternoon taken part in the official opening ceremony of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Govt moves on drug checking to keep young New Zealanders safer this summer
    The Government will pass time limited legislation to give legal certainty to drug checking services, so they can carry out their work to keep New Zealanders safer this summer at festivals without fear of prosecution, Health Minister Andrew Little says. Next year the Government will develop and consult on regulations ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Public Service Commissioner reappointed
    Minister for the Public Service Chris Hipkins announced today that Public Service Commissioner Peter Hughes CNZM has been reappointed for three years. The Public Service Commissioner is appointed by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. “Mr Hughes’ reappointment reflects the need for strong leadership and continuity to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Pōwhiri marks the start of a critical year for APEC
    New Zealand kicked off its APEC host year today, with a pōwhiri taking place on Wellington’s waterfront with local iwi Te Atiawa, and a number of Government ministers welcoming representatives from the other 20 APEC economies. “APEC is a hugely important international event, and New Zealand is hosting amidst the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Speech at APEC 21 Opening Pōwhiri
    9am, Tuesday 1 DecemberTe Whare Waka o Pōneke, Wellington Central He Mihi Kei aku rangatira no ngātapito e whā o te ao huri noa, tātou e huihui mai nei. Tēnā rā kōutou katoa. He tangiapakura ki ngā tini aituā kei waenganui i a tātou, ka tangi tonu te ngākau ki ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government extends business debt relief to October 2021
    To assist with the ongoing economic recovery from COVID-19, rules allowing affected businesses to put their debt on hold have been extended by 10 months. “New Zealand’s economy is recovering better than we expected, but the impacts of the pandemic are far-reaching and some businesses need continued support to keep ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Bill introduced to support workers with 10 days sick leave
    The Government is delivering on a key commitment by introducing a Bill to Parliament to expand sick leave entitlements from five days to ten days a year, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood announced today. “COVID-19 has shown how important it is to stay at home when people are ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Progress on pay equity for DHB staff
    Today’s initial agreement between DHBs and the PSA on pay equity for clerical and administration staff is an important step toward better, fairer pay for this crucial and largely female workforce, Health Minister Andrew Little says. If ratified, the agreement between the Public Service Association and the country’s 20 District ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Iconic Milford Track officially reopens
    One of New Zealand’s premier hikes and a cornerstone of the Te Anau community, the Milford Track has officially reopened, “From today, hikers booked on the popular Great Walk will be able to complete the walk end-to-end for the first time since early February,” Minister of Conservation Kiri Allan says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Support for farmers beefed up ahead of La Niña
    Further funding for feed support services and new animal welfare coordinators will help farmers who continue to feel the effects of an extended drought, says Rural Communities Minister Damien O’Connor. “In March this year, I classified the drought in the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chathams ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Next steps for Christchurch Hospital campus redevelopment
    Canterbury DHB will be better placed to respond to future demand for services and continue to deliver high quality care, with the next stage of the campus redevelopment programme confirmed, Health Minister Andrew Little says. The Government has approved $154 million in funding for the construction of a third tower ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Five Power Defence Arrangements Defence Ministers’ Joint Statement
    The Defence Ministers from Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and United Kingdom reaffirmed their nations’ continued commitment to the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA), and commended the achievements over the past 49 years as the FPDA moves towards its 50th Anniversary in 2021.  The Ministers recognised the FPDA’s significant role ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Jobs for Nature funding protects health of Hawke’s Bay waterways
    A joint Government and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council project will invest $4.2 million to protect local waterways, enhance biodiversity and employ local people, Environment Minister David Parker announced today.   Over two years, the Hāpara Takatū Jobs for Nature project will fence 195km of private land to exclude stock from vulnerable ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Year border exception for seasonal workers in the horticulture and wine industries
    2000 additional RSE workers to enter New Zealand early next year employers must pay these workers at least $22.10 an hour employers will cover costs of managed isolation for the RSE workers RSE workers will be paid the equivalent of 30 hours work a week while in isolation From January ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government increases support for New Zealanders to work in seasonal jobs
    The Government is offering further financial support for unemployed New Zealanders to take on seasonal work. These new incentives include: Up to $200 per week for accommodation costs $1000 incentive payment for workers who complete jobs of six weeks or longer increasing wet weather payments when people can’t work to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government receives Royal Commission of Inquiry report into the Terrorist Attack on Christchurch Mos...
    Minister for Internal Affairs Jan Tinetti has today received the Royal Commission of Inquiry report into the Terrorist Attack on Christchurch Mosques, and will table it in Parliament on Tuesday December 8. “I know this will have been a challenging process for whānau, survivors and witnesses of the terrorist attack ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand Government to declare a climate emergency
    The Government will declare a climate emergency next week, Climate Change Minister James Shaw said today.                                       “We are in the midst of a climate crisis that will impact on nearly every ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Call for urgent action on Pacific conservation
    A declaration on the urgency of the global biodiversity crisis and the need for immediate, transformative action in the Pacific was agreed at a pan-Pacific conference today. The 10th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas is taking place this week across the Pacific.  Minister of Conservation Kiritapu ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech from the throne
    E aku hoa i te ara o te whai, Kia kotahi tā tātou takahi i te kō, ko tōku whiwhi kei tō koutou tautoko mai. Ko tāku ki a koutou, hei whakapiki manawa mōku. He horomata rangatira te mahi, e rite ai te whiwhinga a te ringatuku, me te ringakape ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Keynote address to Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand conference
    Speech to the CAANZ conference - November 19, 2020 Thank you, Greg, (Greg Haddon, MC) for the welcome. I’d like to acknowledge John Cuthbertson from CAANZ, the Commissioner of Inland Revenue Naomi Ferguson, former fellow MP and former Minister of Revenue, Peter Dunne, other guest speakers and CAANZ members. I ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Expert independent advisory group appointed to strengthen the future of Māori broadcasting
    A panel of seven experts are adding their support to help shape the future of Māori broadcasting, Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson has announced today. “Today I will meet with some of the most experienced Māori broadcasters, commentators and practitioners in the field. They have practical insights on the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government to review housing settings
    New Zealand’s stronger-than-expected economic performance has flowed through to housing demand, so the Government will review housing settings to improve access to the market, the Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “Our focus is on improving access to the housing market for first home buyers and ensuring house price growth ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Crown accounts reflect Govt’s careful economic management
    The better-than-expected Crown accounts released today show the Government’s careful management of the COVID-19 health crisis was the right approach to support the economy. As expected, the Crown accounts for the year to June 2020 show the operating balance before gains and losses, or OBEGAL, was in deficit. However that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community launch marks next step in addressing racism in education
    The launch of Te Hurihanganui in Porirua today is another important milestone in the work needed to address racism in the education system and improve outcomes for Māori learners and their whānau, Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis says. Budget 2019 included $42 million over three years to put Te Hurihanganui ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government to consider recommendations on DNA use in criminal investigations
    The Minister of Justice has received the Law Commission’s recommending changes to the law governing the way DNA is used in criminal investigations. The report, called The Use of DNA in Criminal Investigations – Te Whahamahi I te Ira Tangata I ngā Mātai Taihara, recommends new legislation to address how ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago