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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!

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