Slashing budgets without looking at the impact it has on frontline services for Kiwis isn’t smart and restructuring just for the sake of it can create more cost and inefficiency, says Labour’s State Services spokesperson Chris Hipkins.
“We should always be looking for ways to make our public services better. Improving New Zealanders’ access to services, like passport applications, through new technology and data sharing between government agencies makes sense.
“But we need to make sure that systems are robust and that many people who don’t have access to the latest technology can still get help from a real person, face-to-face.
“Some of John Key’s more radical proposals should be very carefully scrutinised. His idea of more user-pays police services, for example, sets a lot of alarm bells ringing.
“Many Kiwis will also be alarmed to hear John Key talk about centralising public service administration and greater use of private sector contractors in the same breath.
“The idea that we could see regional offices closed and replaced with call-centres in Mumbai will be abhorrent to many. We cannot afford to have our public services lose touch with the very people they are set up to help.
“We must focus all our attention on how we make public services better. Arbitrary cost cutting, yet more restructuring, and contracting out to the private sector won’t make the public service more efficient or improve our economic situation in the long-term.
“National is being exposed for its inability to come up with a coherent plan for economic growth. It’s only ideas are to sell our assets and slash the public service. We can’t ‘nickel and dime’ our way to greater prosperity,” said Chris Hipkins.