National is fooling New Zealanders if it thinks the public sector can continue to support the services this country needs with its plan to slash spending by $8b, said the PSA.
“The plan announced today would mean a total of $8b being cut from public service budgets over the first four years of a National-led government,” said Duane Leo National Secretary for the Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi.
“The cuts go much deeper than current belt tightening underway. This will impact a wide range of services that are supporting New Zealanders including our most vulnerable, backing businesses to thrive and dealing with our long-term challenges.
“While some agencies are excluded like Te Whatu Ora, Corrections, Education and Oranga Tamariki, there are many others impacted.
“For example, the Ministry of Social Development, supporting people doing it tough, MPI keeping pest species and animal diseases out of the country, Customs protecting our borders, MBIE which drives economic growth, DOC safeguarding our much-loved iconic species, and Environment which is focused on dealing with climate change and pollution.
“A National led government will demand an ‘efficiency dividend’ from agencies which amounts to another $2.4 billion of cuts (or $4b including cuts to consultant spending) to funding of public services over the next four years.
“This targeting of the back office is simply short sighted. Frontline services need the support of a strong back office. The Black Ferns could not have won the World Cup without its support staff of coaches, physios and trainers.
“National promises to keep investing in health and education though does not say today by how much. It begs the question of how in reality it will fund the expanding needs of a growing and ageing population, which comes with increasing costs for the public service, particularly in health.
“We don’t see how this plan allows for the ongoing and rising investment the public sector requires to ensure New Zealanders can continue to access the services they need and ensure we can deal with our long-term challenges.
“At a time when the International Monetary Fund has just recommended that New Zealand needs to increase the amount of revenue to pay the rising bills for more frequent climate disasters and our aging population, National says we need to shrink what we’re spending.
“This is a short-sighted plan, blind to the challenges ahead and focused squarely on 14 October,” said Duane Leo.