Waatea News Column: Sweeping public service cuts hurt Māori, Pacifica, Beneficiaries, Renters and the working classes


The sheer scale of public service cut backs is starting to become horrifically apparent as over a 1000 public servants inside Education and Oranga Tamariki are cut in a single day.

The new Government argues they are simply living up to their election promises, but when those promises amount to the mutilation of the common good and vandalising the egalitarian framework of our nation, keeping those promises and pretending that is ‘Democracy’ is nothing more than the tyranny of the majority.

Our public services have been stripped to the bone following our 40 year neoliberal experiment, and the recent slow gains under the last Labour led Government are being thrown out so that this new National led Government can find $2.9billion in tax breaks for the richest landlords!

Oranga Tamariki needs MORE staff, not job cuts!

Our Education system needs MORE staff, not job cuts!

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Our Police, our Drs, our nurses, our teachers, ALL our public servants need more money and more resources and that can be done by properly taxing the richest amongst us!

Instead of a progressive taxation framework to properly fund our infrastructure, we are borrowing for tax cuts and taking out of the mouths of hungry children to put more into the pockets of the wealthiest landlords!

This isn’t social policy, it’s culture war revenge fantasies masquerading as social policy so that the Right’s rich donor mates get their interests looked after at the cost of our most vulnerable children!

These public service costs will hurt those with the least most!  Māori, Pacifica, Beneficiaries, Renters and the working classes, people who are reliant on public services will be the ones damaged most by these cuts, while the very rich will gain.

This Government is like an anti-Robin Hood, they steal from the poor to give to the rich!

New Zealand should be deeply ashamed of this week.


First published on Waatea News.


  1. As Susan Edmonds said in Stuff on 18 April
    “Just over 3000 public sector job cuts have now been announced.
    The sector grew by 2582 in the six months to December last year, and by more than 2700 in the 12 months to June 2023”. This is not a big thing.

    • And was Susan talking about the entire public service, or just Education and Oranga Tamariki? Because the difference in context does make it a big thing, doesnt it?

      • I accept that the government’s blunt 7% reduction assumes chief executives will cut the right roles. CEs might cut front line roles and keep diversity and inclusion or managers for example.

        • The point i am trying to make is that if there was increase of 5000 odd jobs over 32 different ministries, the government has just axed 1000 from just 2 ministries, then there are serious problems with the scale of cuts to two essential government departments.

  2. Martyn – Far too many positions within Wellington that are not front line…therefore not serving the public, nor the communities they are meant to be helping…needs to stop.

    • Do you actually know that? National don’t. They are not even looking as Willis admitted.

      As for the comment from Ennis what has the population growth been over recent times?

      Everyone is making judgments on sound bites not actual analysis. No doubt there is waste but the last government had reduction targets as well. This government is just trying to give a tax cut seemingly at any cost. Then they waste money redoing methane research because they are too gutless to admit they won’t do anything.

      • Wheel – Good question…Transit NZ employs 70 within its Communication team, not one of them helped during the Auckland Flooding, which shut down the transit network…I hope this helps

    • Yes. And it’s not even that they do nothing and soak up money, they actually attack the working class (speed limits fuel taxes te reo speed bumps cycle lanes over car parks Ute tax etc etc etc) and made all metrics worse.
      Labour in their 6 years made the best case for a small state we have ever seen.

      • The working class are going to get screwed over by user pays for our roads, and healthcare, the by ACT taking away sick leave. Fuck off to the USA if you hate public services that much. Or better yet, get a gun and shoot yourself.

    • Bullcrap.

      Nathan you are just another right winger who thinks The backroom does bugger all and always bloated.

      It is BECAUSE OF THE REPEATED BACKROOM CUTS over the last 40 years our public services are on their knees .

      It is the backroom that gets the work done.

      The frontline cant do all the work the backroom does.

      Time you right wingers got real.

      Nz is supposed to be a First world country .

      It is now a pathetic joke as bad as the USA.

      Thanks to the current coalition of spiteful clowns of cruelty.

      The continuous right wing cry we are paying to much tax is bullshit.

      The Northshore Hospital is a classic example as was the Chch hospital rebuild.

      • This – No…The Pacific Peoples’ Ministry…claimed they helped with Labour’s official apology to the deportation of overstayers, and provided “other” services – not stated…cost to Taxpayers $15 to $20 million per year.

    • They perform the vital paperwork tasks that support front line workers. But neo liberal small state fucks like you dont care,.

    • @Nit
      The only thing that needs to stop out of respect for balanced viewpoints and progressive narratives is your little soft white fingers tapping out brain-fart logical fallacies.
      “Sweeping public service cuts …” are to protect the profits of the 14 multi-billionaires, the 3118 multi-millionairs each with a $50 mil net minimum and the four now foreign owned banks stealing more from us than almost anywhere else IN THE FUCKING WORLD! nathan.
      The Press
      NZ banks ‘some of the most profitable in the world’
      “New Zealand’s banks are only beaten for profitability by banks in Canada, global credit ratings company S&P Global Ratings says.
      Over the past five years, the average annual return on equity, which is a measure of profitability, was 12.5% for New Zealand’s big banks, topped only by Canadian banks, according to its analysis.”
      AO/NZ’ers? If you’re still wondering where your money comes from, and then of where it’s going then I have a bridge for sale, pre-named The Auckland Harbour bridge so there’s a savings right there, suckers.

  3. So all these groups did so well when all these extra public servants were looking after them.
    Less quantity more quantity should be the name of the game .

    • Free preceriptions, more state houses, more support for schools, more benefits, things were a lot better under Labour, the best public services in the world.

    • “Sweeping public service cuts hurt Māori, Pacifica, Beneficiaries, Renters and the working classes”

      Read the story Bob you fucking muppet!

      The arrogant cuts by National show that lives simply don’t matter. As they go about recklessly destroying peoples incomes and lives, pandering to the wealthy minority, only the very gullible were taken in by Nationals promise to govern for ALL New Zealanders. It is evident now this is clearly not the case and the majority of people will send them packing next election, that much is certain.

  4. They porked up by the 6.5% in the last year after being told by Labour there were going to be 2.5% cuts
    Going back to those levels is sensible. There has been no visible improvement in services

    • Public services and public spending are good. Things will not improve until the public service is restored to where it was on 31 December, 1983.

      • The country was heading for bankruptcy about that time drastic steps were needed to get us back on track similar to the present time

        • Brought on by National’s Robert Muldoon and his think big projects!
          Which still didn’t justify the treachery of Douglas and Prebble.
          Neoliberalism alone has brought this country to its knees – and more neoliberalism (in the shape of a Willis budget) will do nothing to repair the situation!

          • Thank you Tony and given Neoliberalism brought us to our knees, we are now on track similar to the present time.

  5. Have 308 people in the Education Ministry’s Curriculum Development Team spent over $100 million on a 60 page paper of shallow nothingness?In 2022, the Curriculum Centre at the Education Ministry employed 308 staff, according to an Official Information Request. This past week it was announced 202 were being laid-off. When you look up “The NZ Curriculum” on the Ministry of Education’s Website, it says, “We’re preparing to close this site as we transition to Tāhūrangi” but if you click on that site you get an incoherent jumble of chaos. At least it is amusing – there is a “unit” that helps “students develop an understanding of the financial challenges faced by superannuitants in their local community”. That must get the youth of NZ excited out of their minds. As for the NZ Curriculum document, it contains the flimsiest, shallowest, lightest-of-weights 60 pages of silly blurbs & patronizing clichés, mostly in bullet points, mixed with waffle, with 30 pages focused on specific subject aims. Even those are full of funny lines like, “Key Competencies – Thinking ..”. The shambles is introduced with a line, “It is my pleasure to introduce this revision of the NZ Curriculum” by the Education Secretary. After you’ve read it, you are left wondering, “So where is the NZ Curriculum? Did I miss something?”.

    The odd feature of the document is that its “Published in 2015 by the Ministry of Education” & was “First published for the Ministry of Education [in] 2007”. But that pre-dates the Ardern government. So what have the 308 staff working in the Curriculum Centre been doing these past several years? Were the 202 staff just made redundant mulling over changes to a 60 page document? Maybe how to change font size & color? If the paper called “The NZ Curriculum” was submitted as a Year 12 school project, it would fail. If you multiply the 308 staff by an average salary of $80,000, a conservative number given Wellington pay-scales, you get about $25 million dollars per annum. Has the Kiwi Taxpayer been billed that amount of money year after year – that is, over $100 million – for 60 pages of PR, marketing & comms-inspired glossy pages of nothingness? The “NZ Curriculum” as published by the Education Ministry is worth no more than one weeks work by one competent person.





    Sack em all!!!!

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