Ministerial Staff Numbers

October 3rd, 2012 at 12:45 pm by David Farrar

As I did under Labour, I blog every so often on how many staff in total are employed in the Beehive (well in Ministerial Offices). The latest staff list has numbers slightly declining, so no blow out in numbers, as happened under previous Governments. The data is:

May-08 Jul-09 Nov-10 Aug-12
Managers 28 28 28 28
Comms 45 34 39 36
Political 35 42 36 33
Portfolio 111 112 113 117
Admin 67 61 56 53
Total 286 277 272 267

So there are 20% fewer comms and media staff than under the previous government. A couple fewer political advisors, a few more portfolio advisors, and a lot fewer admin staff.

Staff numbers are a bit like PQs. You don’t want too few, or too many. Generally each office has one manager and one press secretary. The frontbench Ministers often have a second comms person, but Ministers outside Cabinet often have no dedicated media person at all.

Most offices have a political or ministerial advisor. They are the ones who are meant to give someĀ independent advice to the Minister about what their departments want them to do.

The portfolio staff are often seconded, and often work for Ministers of all parties.

The admin staff, well they administer.

No surprise the office with the most staff is the PM, who has 26 staff. The previous PM had 31. The smallest is Simon Bridges with a frugal five staff.

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13 Responses to “Ministerial Staff Numbers”

  1. tvb (4,430 comments) says:

    The comms staff will increase as the government’s political problems increase and will rise exponentially as the poll ratings drop.

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  2. peteremcc (344 comments) says:

    So, the numbers blew out during Labour’s term.

    And National have… kept them about the same.

    That about sums it all up, doen’t it.

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  3. David Farrar (1,899 comments) says:

    So Peter, when ACT were Ministers did they reduce their staff numbers compared to other Ministers? Why does an ACT Minister outside Cabinet have more ministerial staff than a front bench Cabinet Minister?

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  4. East Wellington Superhero (1,151 comments) says:

    @ peteremcc

    Apart from the mathematics used on planet ‘we hate National’, where else does a 7% reduction (267/286*100) equal “about the same”?

    I would glady take a tax cut of 7% of my current tax rate. That would take a 30% down to 27.6%.

    Or a 7% reduction in the Wellington public service.

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  5. East Wellington Superhero (1,151 comments) says:

    And don’t forget the counter-factual if Labour had won in 2008. They would no doubt be knocking on 300 staff by now.

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  6. cubit (356 comments) says:

    And a lot of their time is spent answering repititive stupid questions from either other politicians or from anybody else on the planet with time and and a crusade in hand. The people who constantly whine about the number of staff either in ministers offices or the p[ublic service in general are the very same who demand instant answers on issue of no import. without the the one you don’t need the other.

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  7. Wilbur (7 comments) says:

    “The data is:”

    Data is a plural, and so this sentence should read “The data are:”

    Just saying.

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  8. Redbaiter (9,098 comments) says:

    Anyone know how many Muldoon had?

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  9. MH (762 comments) says:

    did you also compare the salary ranges that these state employees are on. They certainly blew out under Labour as well,those earning over $100 thou grew exponentially as lesser beings were made redundant and replaced by advisers to the various Depts. Thus no real savings in staff budgets/expenditure were achieved.

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  10. RRM (9,933 comments) says:

    Redbaiter (996) Says:
    October 3rd, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    Anyone know how many Muldoon had?

    Anyone know why Wedbaiter is still here, when he hates DPF so much?

    David Farrarā€™s Commie Fly Unzipped Again
    http://truebluenz.com/2012/09/14/david-farrars-commie-fly-unzipped-again/#comments

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  11. Viking2 (11,488 comments) says:

    The smallest is Simon Bridges with a frugal five staff.
    As many as that?

    Really, what do they do apart from writing usless press releases for our local rag.

    Bridges does what?

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  12. orewa1 (410 comments) says:

    Why do Ministers need staff at all, other than an appointments secretary? Dont they undermine the role of the public service? And in many agencies the CEO has a policy office as well – far too much duplication.

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  13. badmac (136 comments) says:

    More interesting to see what the “consultant” budget is doing rather than staff numbers.

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