Which jobs would Key cut?

Written By: - Date published: 11:55 am, March 12th, 2008 - 14 comments
Categories: election 2008, john key, slippery - Tags: , ,

It’s hard to get a straight answer out of John Key, so this is probably an exercise in futility, but Key’s announcement that National would not increase the size of the core public service raises some questions that need asking. So, Mr Key:

  1. Saying you would ‘get more value’ from the core public service isn’t a policy, how would you do it?
  2. Would you cut any jobs, if so, which specific jobs?
  3. Would you let funding for the core public service fall, after inflation and population growth, resulting in wages dropping in the public sector (and related private sector jobs, it’s a market after all), if so, by how much and how would that help ease the skill shortage?
  4. If you don’t let the number of core public servants keep pace with the expanding population, how would the work they do be done: would you make the remainder work harder, if so how, or would you put those duties onto the wider public service, forcing doctors to do health department planning and police officers to write justice policy?

14 comments on “Which jobs would Key cut?”

  1. gobsmacked 1

    Reminiscent of Brash’s first Orewa speech. Attack the general target in easy, populist language, then leave your researchers to try and find specific examples that you will actually get rid of.

    Still, he’ll get his headlines, and that’s all he was after.

  2. Brownie 2

    Steve,I’m interested in the last paragraph “number of core public servants keep pace with the expanding population”.

    Is there a requirement that Public Service employment levels keep pace with population growth?

    Surely the higher the population, one must start getting efficiencies through economies of scale?

    Also, why does the civil service and it’s anciliary organisations now occupy over 65% of Wellington A Grade office space(NZ Property Council Statistics – September 07)? We are talking rentals upwards of $2000 per square metre – these are the highest rentals in NZ?

    The above, I think, is a great example of how the bureucracy has grown out of all proportion and is costing New Zealand taxpayers money. Thoughts?

  3. rjs131 3

    I would have thought that the best way to save money wasnt necessarily through the cutting of jobs, but tightening up of the palaces being rented by the public service. Why do the public service need to be housed in teh most expensive office buildings in wellington?

  4. Steve Pierson 4

    show me where you would put the core public service in central wellington that allows them to do their jobs efficently, provides decent working conditions (these peopel aren’t our slaves, we need them to produce high quality work), and isn’t A grade?

    the decade long boom our economy has gone through has seen demnd for office space in Wellington increase hugely, hence up go prices – nothign the government can do about that. Yeah, a few ministries have upgraded in recent years, as you expect organsiations to do over time, but if you have been into the old stats building or the old Mfat buildings, or the conversation building, you know why.

  5. Luke C 5

    Considering the large increase in all forms of social spending undertaken by the govt you would expect a large number of extra people to be employed to undertake this.
    If the govt is spending $100 million on some new initiative it is certainly worth their while spending a few million on the public service to ensure the money is spent well, and monitoring the outcomes that it produces.

    A good example of recent years in the Tertiary Education Commission which I believe has employed many new staff in recent years. This is largely due to the new govt funding policy that replaced Nationals failed “bums on seats” policy. There were clearly not enough staff monitoring the tertiary sector under that system. Funnily enough it was the Nats made a lot of noise around this at the last election.

    With all Nationals private sector involvement they are wanting you would expect a large number of new public servants to liaise and monitor these. Or is National just going to let there big business mates pillage the public purse to add to there profits.

  6. insider 6

    The problem is steve we are not getting that quality of advice. Partly that is down to political pressure – depts are being told what to do by the Beehive and DPMC, inconvenient views are ignored, and there is limited contestibility on ideas and advice between departments. AS a result hard questions are not being asked and stupid policy results. The Emissions trading regime is one example that is likely to come unstuck and was preceded by Hodgson’s infamous burning cheque.

    But that is aided by overly compliant senior management who will not do their jobs and offer difficult advice (ie this won’t work minister because….), and by the clones that are employed in depts so that there does not seem to even be a diversity of ideas within organisations. Consultation processes are as a result shams and any changes are almost always minor and on the fringe.

    The whole MfE issue demonstrated many of these issues and the PSA and SSC, supposed guardians of the process, sit by and allow it to happen because their nests get feathered each time a new policy analyst gets added to the roster.

  7. Steve Pierson 7

    insider. anything more than bald assertions to back that up? Would cutting the core public service make things better?

  8. insider 8

    So let’s clarify Steve, the new Standard standard is no bald assertions? No opinions allowed, no conspiracies nothing? You are setting yourself a tough standard if so.

  9. So let’s clarify insider, you made a whole lot of bald assertions, were called on it and are now blaming the standard. Nice work there buddy.

    Oh and as an aside to the flaming, I’d quite like to see some examples of your claims.

  10. Ari 10

    Well, there were certainly no bold assertions in this story, and the standard has been pretty good thus far in backing up its stories with reliable sources.

    I can attest there is certainly a perception that embarrassments should be avoided among some government departments, but I think you’re confusing the reasons. This is not due to Beehive pressure. This is because management is worried about the prospect of operating under a National government, and possible cuts or approaches to public service that National might take. A case of chicken and egg syndrome? 😉

  11. insider 11


    yes I made some assertions – should I have put ‘IMO’ in front of all of them so as not to confuse you? As the comments were under my moniker I would have thought it was obvious…

    I was just asking if this was a new rule because I have seen numerous posts and comments with bald assertions and none have been picked up on that before.

  12. gobsmacked 12

    And so to the details … there aren’t any.

    From the Dom-Post online:

    “Mr Key was not ruling out redundancies or closing some agencies entirely if it was warranted, but would not name any targets. … His predecessor, Don Brash, said he would scrap the Women’s Affairs Ministry, but Mr Key said today they were very small and did some work that was worthwhile.”

    Translation: nameless bureaucracy under threat, but named bureaucrats are safe, because they vote.

  13. insider 13

    Good question as to why the MWA, HRC, FC, CC aren;t all under the same roof and sharing resources. Wouldn’t that be bettr than having them all separate?

  14. randal 14

    its obvious that he would cut the jobs of people regulating the opportunities for shonkey deals…

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