Useful context on public sector job cuts

The Herald reports:

From the gory details of job-cuts news, you’d think the public service was being eviscerated.

While the media’s view of the cuts is incomplete, it’s also true that departments have been leaking the particulars faster than a Wellington water pipe (and to be fair, formal update announcements have also commenced).

Consequently, we know of proposed and completed redundancies of some 1000 people to date (give or take), as departments pare their spending in line with reduced and revised Budget allocations, now being finalised for announcement next month. …

But those figures remain eclipsed by the number of staff added through just the second half of last year: 368 additions at MBIE (a 5.9 per cent increase); 405 additions at MSD (a 4.5 per cent increase); 12 additions at MPI (a 0.3 per cent increase); and 77 additions at MoH (a 10.5 per cent increase).

All up, the public service expanded by 4.1 per cent in the last six months for which we have data, which amounted to an addition of 2580 net new employees, as of December 31.

So in the last six months of 2023, the public service grew by around 430 staff a month. The reductions announced to date basically just wind back less than three months of job growth. We have Stuff and Radio NZ doing multiple news bulletins a day about the fact the size of the public sector is going back to the size it was in September 2023, instead of December 2023!

The big picture is that the public service workforce is now 65,699 strong, an increase of 39 per cent (18,447 fulltime equivalent (FTE) employees) since June 30, 2017, just a few months before Labour’s coalition Government was sworn in that October.

So it is around a 1.5% reduction so far.

When Max Rashbrooke is being the voice of reason, that should be a wake up call to others to reduce the hysteria.

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