National breaking promises already

Written By: - Date published: 10:07 am, June 23rd, 2008 - 24 comments
Categories: election 2008, national, slippery - Tags: ,

As you know, National promised to cap core public servant numbers at 36,000. That was going to deliver each of us a whopping 50 cents a week tax cut. Well, that one single solid policy promise from National is already in serious jeopardy.

Corrections staff make up 6600 plus of the supposed ‘bureaucrats’ of the core public service. National has just announced it would add over 300 to that number by building a new prison (6600 current staff, 20 prisons = 330 per prison). 

Plus, there’s staff that would be needed for the $1.5 billion plan to restore Telecom’s monopoly position on broadband. You would be lucky to get away with fewer than 100 staff for that. They’re also core public service, MED.

Then you’ve got staff for developing and implementing National’s ‘national standards for reading, writing, and maths’, more for their administratively complex Youth Guarantee, more for the boot camps, more for the Victim’s Compensation Fund, and more to design and implement regulation on private competitors for ACC.

National may have already promised to create 1000 more core public service jobs, all the while promising they would cap those numbers. They haven’t identified any existing core public service jobs they would cut.

So, which promise are they going to break?

24 comments on “National breaking promises already”

  1. Ari 1

    Just indicative of the fact that National really isn’t expecting that many people to look at their policies, I think. 🙁

    I do want to see them try and defend this one though, heh.

  2. Joker 2

    “They haven’t identified any existing core public service jobs they would cut.”

    Maybe those who spend all day blogging would be a good place to start.

  3. Got any proof on that accusation you have just leveled Joker? You do realize that making statements like that without backing them up can get you into a whole heap of strife?

  4. joker. who are they? I’m not aware of any. But interesting that you feel so threatened by what The Standard writes that you keep on looking for reasons to shut it down.

  5. Matthew Pilott 5

    I wonder how many staff would be required to administer Key’s $50 murder, rape and manslaughter (among other offences) levy.

    The problem here, Joker (and Steve), is that National have said they won’t cut ANY staff. It will supposedly be a ‘sinking cap’; a refusal to allow staff to be replenished to counter natural attrition, thus allowing numbers to fall gently.

    Of course this isn’t too bright an idea, because high-turnover areas tend to be more stressful, but if John Key wants to ensure that people in the better-paid and cushier jobs get to keep them, while forcing those in difficult or stressful positions to make up for staff attrition without any replacements, that’s his call.

    Doesn’t inspire me to imagine he has half an idea to run the country, though.

  6. mike 6

    The public know the difference between Corrections staff and bureaucrats
    Building a new prison will be music to ears of voters.

    Labours failed policy of reducing prison numbers by letting crooks out early and making Home-D easier has put the public at unnecessary risk.

    As Labours core vote shrinks to the 20’s National knows it’s onto a winner with tough Law & Order policy in the current climate.

  7. andy 7


    Corrections will need bureaucrats to pay those corrections staff, you know do the boring paper work stuff, order food, pay the bills. You get the picture…

  8. SP: you have made the assertion several times that Nationals plans to improve broadband penetration in this country is a “$1.5 billion plan to restore Telecom’s monopoly position”. I have had a look at the related statements on Nationals website and I can’t see any reference to giving the money to Telecom. It would surely be more likely that the money would be invested via the S.O.E. Kordia. It may also be investment in the international cable that Kordia are considering which would break Telecoms currently monopoly on international bandwidth and result in cheaper broadband.

    [wow, National doesn’t mention consequences of their policy, can’t be true then! And I note that the second trans-Tasman cable is part of Labour’s broadband policy, but not National’s. SP]

  9. An acquaintance who used to work as a government accountant told me over the weekend that he left in disgust. Government budget rounds are driven by how to spend forecast surpluses rather than the intrinsic value of that spending. So of course with the tax take continuing to increase government departments have more and more money to spend without questioning the value of that spend.

    Furthermore he shared with me that government departments are not asked to prioritize existing spend against new initiatives ( and with rising tax take they don’t have to.) A change of focus from spending up to revenue forecasts to a focus on measuring the return on expenditure (like the private sector has to) could well mean an increase in front line staff like prison officers without spending anymore.

  10. Skeptic 10

    It’s no wonder Labour has allowed the public sector core bureaucracy to balloon. You haven’t been one of the public sector workforce planning people by any chance have you, Steve? Because with those sorts of numbers it’s no wonder Wellington is over-run with bureaucrats.

    Or alternatively you could just be lying and pulling numbers out of your arse again. Like that would be a change.

  11. ants 11

    A start is the 350 policy analysts working at MSD, who then outsource their policy advice outside of the MSD, as per Bill Ralston’s article.

  12. SP: “National doesn’t mention consequences of their policy, can’t be true then” I’ll take that as a “Yes Bryan you are right there is no indication that National is going to give $1.5 billion to Telecom” 🙂

  13. SP: “the second trans-Tasman cable is part of Labour’s broadband policy” That’s great news, National will probably steal it and make it part of their policy and either way we will get real ” cheaper, faster broadband”.

  14. Joker 14


    I am not threatened by “The Standard” at all in fact I enjoy coming here.

    Maybe, as you quite like graphs, it would be an interesting exercise to plot the inception date of “The Standard” on the averaged political poll results and see what kind of impact the site has had on the polled support of the left during its existance.

  15. roger nome 15


    nah, I doubt National will be getting rid of David Farrar any time soon. His unwavering servitude to the plutocrats over the last 20 years has earned him a pretty secure position at Natty HQ I would say.


    Stop telling lies, the parole denial rate is over 70% now, and it was around 50% under National.

  16. bill brown 16

    Key said he was going to use the 1.5B to fibre up the local loop (connecting exchanges to peoples’ houses).

    If they’re going to put a second trans-Tasman cable as well that’ll be on top of that.

    1.5B doesn’t go far when you’re digging up every street and front garden in town.

  17. bill brown: “1.5B doesn’t go far when you’re digging up every street and front garden in town.”

    Thanks for correction. That sounds like a waste of time while the cost of the international backhaul is still so expensive. Every house in the country could have a fibre connection but if people can’t afford to use it then it is pointless. Check out the TUANZ blog for some interesting comment :

    The $1 billion plus Cullen is spending on his doomed trainset would have been much more productively spent on connecting us to the world.

  18. lprent 18

    Joker: The number of identifiable government based addresses coming into the site is quite low both in quantity and amount of traffic. It is in a (rough) calculation less than the proportion of people in government service.

    They could be using some of the IP’s that don’t have a reverse DNS, but there isn’t that much traffic from them.

    I’d say that most of the people to read the site are from outside of the civil service. While I figure that it is contrary to your prejudices, looking at the reverse DNS’es it looks like during the day, most of the traffic is from companies.

    I’d add that currently the proportion of lurkers to commentators is between 15x and 20x depending on the day. There are a hell of lot more readers than commentators. Most of those read the root page and never descend into the comment area.

  19. lprent 19

    Bryan: I don’t get anything on the TUANZ link?

  20. lprent: Sorry, cut & paste error try this :TUANZ

  21. r0b 21

    it would be an interesting exercise to plot the inception date of “The Standard’ on the averaged political poll results and see what kind of impact the site has had on the polled support of the left during its existance.

    Sigh. No it would not be an interesting exercise at all, because there is no way to identify the impact of the site (no way to separate it from all the other things going on).

  22. Stephen 22

    My moving to Auckland coincided with the waterfront stadium being dumped, coincidence…I think not.

  23. Joker 23


    You sigh more than a lovelorn chick in a Bronte sisters novel.

    Sigh. In the post you refer to I was being facetious. Sigh

  24. r0b 24

    You sigh more than a lovelorn chick in a Bronte sisters novel.

    The world vexes me Joker, it vexes me most profoundly.

    Sigh. In the post you refer to I was being facetious. Sigh

    Try to be facetious without promulgating poor statistics next time would you? There’s enough of it out there already without adding to the mix.

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