Only Labour could complain about axing bureaucrats

Murray McCully is cutting the bloat out of MFaT:

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) has confirmed it is cutting around 300 staff as Finance Minister Bill English says it’s crunch time for the public sector.

MFAT’s chief executive John Allen this afternoon said it would be cutting 305 staff.

The news came as English said Kiwis were about to see the public service change.

English said the Government had last year told public sector chief executives to look at their own operations and ”tell us how they could be improved to deliver better services with little or no new money”.

”We gave them time to do that. We’re now at that point. That means we’ll see quite a change in how public services are delivered.”

Allen said 600 MFAT staff would have to reapply for their jobs in new specialist roles. The ministry has 1340 staff, half of which are offshore

He also confirmed changes to remuneration including offshore allowances. Staff would be asked to make a “nominal contribution” to their living costs overseas.

Only Labour could complain about axing bureaucrats:

Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesman Phil Goff said the MFAT’s cuts were disastrous at a time when New Zealand’s national interests were at risk from an unstable world.

Hmmm…I seem to remember a certain Prime Minister telling us we lived in a benign strategic environment. Has something changed. But the real question that needs to be asked of Phil Goff is “If not now then when would be a good time to cut staff?”


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  • In Vino Veritas

    Wasn’t it you, Whale, that claimed Goff had the hunting instincts of a sheep? I would suggest that observation has been, and is still being, proven.

  • Alloytoo

    The cuts will apparently trim the service to 2003 levels. Wonder when the bloat came in….

    • peterwn

      Which begs the question why John Key and co did not put the boot into MFAT three years ago.

      • Guestosterone

        there is only so much time to fix all the problems caused by the previous regime

    • Mike Smith

       What ‘bloat’? McCully has shown no evidence of any bloat at MFAT. He simply maintains there is.

      • Alloytoo

        The bloat is directly proportional to the whining/whinging of the gravy trainers.

        IE: Self evident.

  • Kiwidon

    Winston’s folly………..

  • Apolonia

    According to the PSA making people redundent in Warsaw will increase unemployment in New Zealand. Dah

    • johnjack

      …making people what?

  • Blokeintakapuna

    Could NZ really take ANYTHING Goof / Labour say as truthful or credible?

    Let me just re-read their list of “facts” befire I decide their slant on the world might be credible…

  • johnjack

    What’s really interesting is the supposed level of savings at $20-25 million a year. Cutting 300 jobs, and giving MFAT’s  ‘consultants’ and their HR division the benefit of the doubt, that implies a current cost per job of about $90,000 pa. It doesn’t stack up. Forgetting for a moment all the overseas allowances, ‘chauffeur-driven cars’ ‘life of riley’ etc etc which everyone seems so up in arms about, and using normal commercial rules of thumb, the direct cost of each employee is $40-50K pa. I KNOW that diplomatic and consular staff are badly rewarded for what they do, and many of them go for years trying to live on their pitiable levels of allowance while granted no salary review while they’re away and conveniently forgotten. I didn’t think that it was quite so bad.

    This story has many sides to it; and one of them is that of the government courting short-term popularity by making negligible levels of saving in areas where further investment and development would pay long-term returns.

    And to put it all in perspective, we could save this amount of money each year by gradually increasing the qualification age for superannuation. And no, I am not a Labour party member, supporter or voter.

    • parorchestia

      Johnjack – I agree with the idea of adjusting the age of entitlement for pensions.  This is the elephant in the room of govt expenditure.  But to sell the idea it will have to be dressed up attractively by allowing people who are of qualifying age to, say, defer payment of a selected number of years.  At the end of the deferral period  they would then get the accumulated savings paid out at an actuarial derived rate plus the normal payment.
      Why would this work? Well many would die before qualifying.  But even with this risk it would still attract enough punters to make substantial savings. 
      You have to be a bit Machiavellian to be in politics.
      And if you think we have a future problem, look at China’s pension liabilities.