Earlier in the week some bloggers were somewhat triumphant about John Key's stated intent to cut the number of public servants as reported by Radio New Zealand.
Now he is promising NOT to cut any public service jobs. He is going to need to learn to communicate better than this;
Mr Key said the point of National's policy was to cap the number of public servants - whatever that was - at its current level.
"Whatever the starting point is, it's an apples for apples comparison," he told reporters.
"The point is it's not rising from the starting point."
Anyway (takes a deep breath) this whole business warrants further investigation given the additional remarks by the State Services Commissioner.
He said public sector growth between 2003 and 2008 was roughly in proportion to private sector growth.
So let's look at what yesterday's report actually tells us, because, like you, I was under the impression that the public service has blown out over the last few years.
Between 2003 and 2008, employment in the public sector as a whole increased by 36,452 to 335,012 (12.2%) compared with an increase of 232,000 to 2,163,800 (12.0%) in the employed labour force.
The increase in public service headcount is 33 percent, with the largest increase among advisors and policy analysts.
So let's be clear about the difference between the public service and public sector.
The public service is made up of bureaucrats, pen pushers etc who manage the public sector.
If the rise in the public service is much higher than in the public sector as a whole then those vital frontline jobs (those which would have to be filled whether education, health, etc were private or public) must be proportionately diminishing. Which begs the question; why do we need more managers for fewer staff?
So get a grip John and start asking the same questions instead of playing pals with the PSA. Right now the last thing New Zealand needs is a nice, (self-described) 'smiley', Prime Minister.
Kittens. Kittens everywhere…
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