PSA on core public service

Written By: - Date published: 10:31 am, March 13th, 2008 - 18 comments
Categories: national, youtube - Tags: ,

Richard Wagstaff from the PSA was interviewed by Sunrise on John Key’s plan to undermine the public service this morning.

He notes Key’s tactical use of emotive language, questions his distinction between “front-line” and “bureaucratic” staff, suggests that the numbers used by National are possibly a little misleading and points out that our public service is of about average size.

18 comments on “PSA on core public service”

  1. the sprout 1

    well obviously if want want to appear righteous, you have to first demonize the object of your attack.

  2. Benodic 2

    My partner’s a public servant. The last three nights she’s worked until 10 o’clock. Let’s just say she was not at all impressed by John Key’s comments. What’s his plan to get more value out of her? Sack half her workmates as an incentive for her to work harder?

  3. deemac 3

    bureaucrats are an easy target but without them no other service can function. In the UK it was Brown’s sacking of tens of thousands of civil servants (to outflank the Tories) that led directly to the loss of the discs containing the data of 25 million people – the officer whose job it was to supervise junior staff so that (among other things) they didn’t put unencrypted data in the general post, was deemed unnecessary. It used to be called “penny wise, pound foolish”

    captcha: hire Mrs !

  4. Steve Pierson 4

    Make doctors run between patients and have prison guards knit socks while they do their rounds.

    captcha: born assets. that’s how the rightwing elite views workers.

  5. Brownie 5


    “born assets. that’s how the rightwing elite views workers.”

    Bollocks, no one does well when others are suffering. Do you classify all business owners/employers as right wing elite (i.e core National supporters)?

    Captcha: personnel out – that captcha is scary sometimes

  6. r0b 6

    So, John, currency trader, would that be “front line, making a real difference to people’s lives” or “back office paper shuffling”?

  7. Phil 7

    As an employee of a pseudo govt-department, and former employee of a fully fleged govt department, I think it’s necessary to out some distinctions.

    There IS an extrodinary amount of wasted resource in government, but it’s not in terms of a simple headcount.
    We’re all doing the best we can, but are using woefully old systems that simply cannot cope with the new requirements and expectations being placed upon us with alarming regularity. As a result, you need to hire more people to fill a gap, when a more strategic approach to capital investment would, in the long run, benefit everyone.

  8. Santi 8

    “My partner’s a public servant. The last three nights she’s worked until 10 o’clock.”

    Benodic, is she a tea lady?

    IrishBill says: You have done nothing but troll Santi and having a go at someone’s partner is pretty tasteless and banal. Last warning.

  9. Benodic 9

    That’s what I love about the right – the sexism.

    She’s a senior adviser Santi, does that threaten your manhood?

  10. Ari 10

    While it’s possible to eke more efficiency out of the public service, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not “profitable”, in the sense of returning more public value than the wages and costs it pays out. Inefficient businesses in the private sector remain profitable too, look at Telecom. So even if John Key can make a good case for the public service being inefficient in some areas, he still hasn’t really justified capping the number of employees it should have- just firing any incurably ineffective ones, and making sure management is not getting in the way of getting work done. That would result in him releasing some policy however, which he seems completely against at the moment.

    He also seems to be devaluing management, which is rather amusing for a National Party leader. Hey John- if the front-line employees are so important, why didn’t National raise the minimum wage while it was in Government? That seems like the sort of thing that the front lines appreciate.

    Benodic: Good on her. We need more women in senior positions, and that’s one of the things this government has incontestably done right.

    Captcha was “who richman”. I think you’re right, it must be analysing the blog and popping up appropriate literature for us 😉

  11. the sprout 11

    santi’s manhood would have to be located before it could be threatened.

  12. East Wellington Superhero 12


    Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

    You accuse JK of being ‘selective’ and ’emotive’ and then Richard Wagstaff (RW) comes on and talks about Border Patrol and the Courts – as if these are the areas National is targeting – and doesn’t mention policy units in education and health and the 300% increase at Art, Culture and Heritage. Then he says “society would cease to function” without the public service.

    His spiel was both selective and emotive.

    The PSA would make me laugh if it wasn’t tragic.

    Where was the PSA while Labour was screwing around with public servants jobs and their professional reputation. Nothing more than squeek more them.

    Trevor Mallard even apologised to Erin Leigh but the PSA we pretty bloody quiet.

    Then National does a speech and its all hand on deck.

    The PSA have shown there true colours in the last 12 months. They put Labour before their members. Awesome. I hope fee-paying PSA members know that for the good of the Labour Party, they are expendible.

  13. Ari 13

    EWS: Do you have anything specific to say about government policy or public service management of Art, Culture and Heritage? Because those are major tourism and business opportunities in New Zealand, and categorically opposing any government assistance or oversight in these areas seems to me like stifling our economy to satisfy personal prejudice about what careers are worthwhile.

    That said, I don’t think Labour are saints, either. They’ve not exactly upheld the full integrity of the public service, nor have they made policy easy to implement in an efficient manner, but there’s no denying that not only is National ideologically opposed to it, it abuses it for its own ends and it has in the past let the public service decay, at best.

  14. East Wellington Superhero 14


    Regarding A.C.H. The 300% is people in the Ministry, not people frontline people working, for example in the administration of tourism promotion – we have other massive departments for that. It’s ridiculous. JK isn’t suggesting a wholesale deconstruction of the public service so it’s silly for folk to assert his is.

    National is political like everyone else, however, they don’t abuse govt workers. In the 1990s the public service was down sized for financial (there was no money) and ideological reasons – that’s fine we can debate the merits of those decisions. However, National didn’t go out of their way to ruin people’s careers for their own selfish end. Helen Clark’s recounting of the Christine Rankin days in the House yesterday was disgraceful and further reveals how they are prepared to use people for the greater good. Ironic actually because Labour tries to get the moral highground over National by claiming they look out for the individuals that get left behind or the ones that miss out – actually, for the greater good, anyone is expendible.

  15. soggy biscuit anyone?
    Hardly surprising that the epmu blog has dog whistled up a lot of civil servants on this thread.
    As they say Turkeys don’t vote for an early xmas. Do they?

  16. r0b 16

    That’s the second time you’ve alluded to the biscuit game BB. Are you looking for a bite? Keep it seemly now, this is a family show…

  17. r0b, you are not paying attention. I have mentioned the axis of stupid biscuit club many times.

    Public perception is a terrible thing, whether we have too many public servants or not is unimportant. What is important is that everybody knows labour have boosted health spending by BILLIONS, but yet our elderly relatives are lieing on gurneys in hospital corridors on the news every night. AND IT AIN’T EVEN WINTER YET.

  18. r0b 18

    r0b, you are not paying attention. I have mentioned the axis of stupid biscuit club many times.

    Sorry BB, The Standard is now so busy and active that I can’t keep up with every comment, and I must say that there are some that I am more inclined to read than others.

    Public perception is a terrible thing, whether we have too many public servants or not is unimportant.

    Thank you for articulating the essence of National’s campaign strategy so succinctly BB. Perception is all, and damn the facts. It really gives me great confidence in what National would be like as a government.

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