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NZCTU calls on the Government to protect frontline public services

NZCTU Economist Craig Renney is calling on Finance Minister Hon. Nicola Willis to scrap her plan to cut frontline services after she acknowledged today that this is likely to happen.

“In September last year, the CTU showed the areas that were at risk – these included the courts, biosecurity, and cybersecurity. National refused to answer questions at the time, but now reports in the media show this to be true,” said Renney.

“These are frontline services that all New Zealanders rely on. The Government needs to scrap its proposed tax cuts and protect the essential services that keep this country running.

“We are now seeing that it’s even worse than had been advertised at the election. Ministers aren’t taking responsibility for the cuts – that is now the responsibility of Chief Executives. The cuts package now extends to even more departments and public services, as the Government desperately tries to make its pre-election promises work.

“The Finance Minister’s credibility is once again on the line. Her pre-election promise was that as Finance Minister she would “reduce the cost of back-office government bureaucracies with an immediate savings drive across a series of identified government agencies while protecting frontline services.’[1] It’s now very clear that the Minister is breaking her promise to New Zealanders.

“The Government is also claiming that this is part of moving resources into the frontline. This is simply untrue. These cuts are needed to pay for tax cuts that will give landlords thousands of dollars a year while giving those on the minimum wage a couple of dollars a week.

“Aotearoa New Zealand’s population is rising rapidly. Unemployment and the demands on public services will keep increasing. Yet the Government is now no longer ruling out cuts to essential services such as customs, food standards, or search and rescue.

“These aren’t spending cuts to fund new frontline services. Instead, they are cutting to fund their reckless tax cut policy for the wealthiest New Zealanders,” said Renney.

[1] p17 National’s Back Pocket Boost, 30 August 2023