Ministerial Staff Numbers

February 14th, 2009 at 2:03 pm by David Farrar

NZPA compares numbers between National and Labour:

  • 15% reduction in number of staff in Ministerial offices from 176 to 150
  • 29% reduction in number of staff in the PM’s Office from 34 to 24
  • 30% reduction in number of press secretaries from 47 to 33

That’s a big reduction considering there are just as many Ministers. It is unclear how much the total cost of offices has declined, because the staff are getting paid more than previously:

  • Seven staff paid more than $150,000 (two previously)
  • 28 staff paid under $50,000 (41 previously)

The hours are bloody long in the Beehive, which gets reflected in the salaries. Very few of the senior staff would ever get home in time to see the news – sometimes not even home in time to see the late news!

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19 Responses to “Ministerial Staff Numbers”

  1. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    “29% reduction in number of staff in the PM’s Office from 34 to 24″

    how many people work at The Standard?

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  2. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    What happened to all the Labour staffers? Gone back to working as “journalists” in the mainstream media?

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  3. MT_Tinman (3,043 comments) says:

    # Patrick Starr (1594) Vote: Add rating 1 Subtract rating 0 Says:
    February 14th, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    “29% reduction in number of staff in the PM’s Office from 34 to 24″

    how many people work at The Standard?

    About 10%?

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  4. reid (16,095 comments) says:

    I hope that Key is looking to rationalise the Ministries as well. This is the list:

    Index of Portfolios

    * ACC
    * Agriculture
    * Arts Culture and Heritage
    * Attorney-General
    * Biosecurity
    * Broadcasting
    * Building and Construction
    * Civil Defence
    * Commerce
    * Communications and Information Technology
    * Community and Voluntary Sector
    * Conservation
    * Consumer Affairs
    * Corrections
    * Courts
    * Customs
    * Defence
    * Disarmament and Arms Control
    * Economic Development
    * Education
    * Energy
    * Environment
    * Finance
    * Fisheries
    * Food Safety
    * Foreign Affairs
    * Forestry
    * Health
    * Housing
    * Immigration
    * Internal Affairs
    * Justice
    * Labour
    * Land Information
    * Local Government
    * Maori Affairs
    * Pacific Island Affairs
    * Police
    * Prime Minister
    * Racing
    * Research, Science and Technology
    * Revenue
    * Senior Citizens
    * Social Development and Employment
    * Sport and Recreation
    * State Owned Enterprises
    * State Services
    * Statistics
    * Tertiary Education
    * Tourism
    * Trade
    * Transport
    * Transport Safety
    * Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations
    * Veterans’ Affairs
    * Women’s Affairs
    * Youth Affairs

    Other Responsibilities

    * Archives New Zealand
    * Climate Change
    * Disability Issues
    * Education Review Office
    * Ethnic Affairs
    * Government Communications Security Bureau
    * Law Commission
    * Ministerial Services
    * National Library
    * New Zealand Security Intelligence Service
    * Public Trust
    * Rugby World Cup
    * Rural Affairs
    * Small Business

    I’d suggest you could do things like:

    Combine all of the ministries that look after specific societal groupings: combine into a single Ministry Ethnic Affairs, Women’s Affairs, Youth Affairs, Veteran’s Affairs, Senior Citizens and possibly PI Affairs. I’d leave Maori Affairs separate, but surely all of those ministries do similar things, have similar processes, even if the details of what they specifically do differ with respect to each group? You would think that you could at least use process rationalisation and economy of scale techniques to make considerable savings there. They should need only one Minister for the whole lot of them and maybe one or two Associates.

    Contract out all Ministerial Services and Archives NZ functions to the private sector. It’s the sort of activity that the private sector does very well and by holding competitive tendering say, every five years, you should be able to procure all of those services with more efficiency and at much less cost than is currently incurred.

    Could not find the mission statement for the Public Trust so don’t understand it’s function, however, I strongly suspect it’s a candidate for some kind of specific SOE type model, maybe not exactly the same model as the other SOEs. Have a feeling ownership is best kept within govt fold but need more info.

    Why the hell are there separate portfolios for Transport and Transport Safety. This is nuts. Merge one into the other, or contract out Transport Safety to the private sector and make it a condition of the contract that they are incentivised or penalised based on road toll results.

    Either contract out the Stats function, or consider merging all of their functions inside of those of other relevant ministries. If there are any functions left over, such as the census, then contract those out to the private sector, with appropriate watertight provisions for maintaining the privacy function, naturally.

    Look one could keep going but just in a few minutes it’s pretty obvious to me that there is plenty of fat that can be trimmed, and private enterprise to be stimulated, just in those few examples given above.

    I seriously hope and expect that Key is not refusing to look at issues like this simply because he wants a large number of portfolios to reward his loyal colleagues. That is exactly how Hulun operated and is one of the reasons why I think she’s a complete bitch. I do NOT expect Key to hold similar attitudes, it is unpatriotic and frankly, in these coming times, traitorous, because the country needs to implement every single solution possible. There needs to be NO sacred cows, whatsoever.

    So Mr Key, you said in the first term, there would be no asset sales. You said nothing about the second term. I expect you to begin talking very soon about things such as I mentioned above, to prepare the public for such cost-saving and private enterprise stimulating measures as you have identified within your ministerial portfolios. If you don’t say anything at all, then I’ll start to think that either maybe you’re not as smart as I thought you were, or you’re not quite as patriotic as I thought you were. If those ideas above, based on 5 minutes thought don’t pan out under scrutiny, that’s fine, but I expect signals from you very soon, that you have these kinds of thoughts in train and you are serious about doing something about them. The wastage the taxpayer experiences from allowing the current situation to continue is not acceptable. The fact the public don’t apply pressure to you to change it is not surprising, but DO NOT use that as an excuse to do nothing about it, because those of us who think, are watching.

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  5. RePress (1 comment) says:

    All I can say is “WOW!!”

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  6. big bruv (13,552 comments) says:

    Its great that Key has cut the number of staff, all Kiwi’s should be happy about that, however, I fail to see the need to increase their wages in the current economic climate.

    It is all well and good asking for restraint from the general workforce (which I agree with) but it does look rather hypocritical when you increase the wages of the people who work for you by such a large margin.

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  7. rndm (5 comments) says:

    Having seen the papers released yesterday and the breakdown of staff numbers and payscales for the press secretaries it’s interesting to see the breakdown of what Labour was paying and what National is now shelling out.

    Labour’s salary bill was around 3.3 million dollars a year (based on the staff they had in October 08) – it works out to an average press sec’ wage of approx’ $84 K a year.

    National’s salary bill is around 3.9 million a year and (because they have fewer press sec’s) the average salary is approx’ $99K a year.

    Make of that what you will.

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  8. mickysavage (786 comments) says:

    This is a perfectly predictable development. This Government is doing so much less than the previous Government that its need for staff has also reduced.

    It is a shame really. In Australia, the UK and the US there has been urgent work on designing large stimulus packages. Over here there has been a few projects already in the pipeline being brought forward and this being labelled as a “stimulus” package.

    NZ should hope that the flow on from Obama’s work keeps us going. I do not see that the local decisions will provide any help.

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  9. getstaffed (9,189 comments) says:

    This is a perfectly predictable development. This Government is doing so much less than the previous Government that its need for staff has also reduced.

    No mickey, no. You’re veering away from the VLWC script. Remember – it says to lambast Key and National for doing too much, for rushing etc. You’ll have your troll licence revoked at this rate.

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  10. kiwipolemicist (393 comments) says:

    Unless I am mistaken reid’s list above is slightly short. I counted 60 ministries last year:

    http://kiwipolemicist.wordpress.com/2008/11/18/the-bloated-new-zealand-government/

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  11. nz capitalist (306 comments) says:

    A very minor step in the right direction; what is actually needed is the abolition of all but a handful of portfolios and Government Departments with a corresponding reduction in public service employees to fairly nominal levels.

    Interesting how John Key requires such a large staff when Sir Keith Holyoake required about 5, and Holyoake was Prime Minister in the days when the Government did everything!

    David Farrar mentions the Beehive staff work long hours…but God knows what they all do! ha ha!

    I was amused at the number of Press Secretaries; I presume that means each Minister has one? and from the ‘God Knows What They All Do” file …when was the last time anyone heard of, say, Richard Worth? or Wayne Mapp? or David Carter? (etc) …which means a large salary for a Press Secretary who is clearly incompetent.

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  12. Richard Hurst (796 comments) says:

    “Very few of the senior staff would ever get home in time to see the news – sometimes not even home in time to see the late news!”

    Well, hey, welcome to the club.

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  13. reid (16,095 comments) says:

    Interesting how John Key requires such a large staff when Sir Keith Holyoake required about 5, and Holyoake was Prime Minister in the days when the Government did everything!

    I remember mum telling me a story about Holyoake. Once during a US Presidential visit, the President presented Holyoake with a gift, which happened to be a gold lighter elegantly engraved with something like: “To Keith Holyoake with warm regards from the people of the United States of America.”

    Not having at hand a reciprocal present, Keith asked one his staffers for a match which in those days would have been larger than our current variety. He proceeded to write on it: “To President… etc”

    I like that thinking, we need more of it.

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  14. big bruv (13,552 comments) says:

    Micky

    “NZ should hope that the flow on from Obama’s work keeps us going.”

    Oh I see, the very idiots who caused the problem are the ones who are going to save us?, I don’t suppose you will give any credit to George Bush as and when things come right will you, after all he is the one who had to begin cleaning up the mess started by Clinton.

    Leaving that aside, you seem to claim that the left (Hussein Messiah Obama) is going to be the one to “save the world” (although I think Gordon Brown has laid claim to that title) and if he does you will never stop reminding us, however, if he fails will you be man enough to admit that it was the same lefties who made the situation worse?

    That’s a deal I could live with Micky, can you?

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  15. mickysavage (786 comments) says:

    Big bruv

    Let me guess, because Clinton wanted to assist poor people to own their own home Wall Street then decided to engage in huge rorts and excesses and designed really weird financial products that have brought capitalism to its knees …

    You will really have to try harder than that.

    The last time that we had this sort of depression it took the Democrats and Rosevelt in the US and Labour and MJ Savage in NZ to bring things right. Essentially they did this by making people more confident and by building infrastructure. It seems the left always have to fix up the right’s mistakes.

    If Barack fails it will be because Bush damaged the economy too much and even Barack could not put the pieces together again.

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  16. nz capitalist (306 comments) says:

    Mickysavage is wrong, wrong, wrong.

    Roosevelt did nothing to end the Great Depression in America, indeed, his policies EXTENDED it for years!

    FDR was just a good manipulator of public opinion who managed to convince vast numbers of people they were not living in abject poverty but luxury, simply by telling them that for long enough.

    As for the first Labour Government in NZ, they were beneficiaries of all the savings created by the Government they replaced who followed the sorts of policies desperately required at the moment.

    Obama is going to fail because he is doing completely the opposite of what he should be, like all left wingers he needs to accept his ideology is 100% wrong as an absolute and adopt sensible, free market libertarianism.

    The policies and ideology of the left are 100% wrong, 100% of the time.

    The policies and ideology of the free market ‘right’ are 100% correct, 100% of the time.

    As absolutes.

    Things only begin to improve when left wingers start adopting different policies.

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  17. big bruv (13,552 comments) says:

    micky

    “Let me guess, because Clinton wanted to assist poor people to own their own home Wall Street then decided to engage in huge rorts and excesses and designed really weird financial products that have brought capitalism to its knees …”

    Yep you got it, and what’s more Hussein Messiah Obama received more in campaign donations that anybody else from Freedie and Fannie, of course this was a reward for all the sleazy and probably illegal “work” carried out by the Messiah, Hussein was donkey deep in it, you know it and I know it.

    If the economy is damaged beyond repair it is entirely the fault of Clinton, Pelosi and the rest of the meddling left.

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  18. MT_Tinman (3,043 comments) says:

    I have been advised (by a seppo just back from his second stint in Afganistan – USAF) the one of Hussein Messiah’s plans to resolve the recession is to pull his troops out of Iraq and send them, en masse, to Afganistan.

    This has apparently already been decided.

    Obviously the more killed over there the less he has to find food and employment for back in the USA.

    The prick is coming across shallower than Kennedy.

    And this is the man who will assist Brown to save the world?

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  19. reid (16,095 comments) says:

    one of Hussein Messiah’s plans to resolve the recession is to pull his troops out of Iraq and send them, en masse, to Afganistan.

    Yes MT, he’s doing this but I doubt it’s because of the recession. It’s a Brzezhinsky special, and it was predicted by the sites I read about July last year. It’s geopolitical motivation, not economics that’s behind it.

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