by Denise Roche
Today marks the 100th anniversary of the Public Service Act of 1912. This act established New Zealand’s public service, changing the model from one in which Ministers treated Ministries as their own personal fiefdoms and pay varied widely between Ministries.
Today, the public service performs a wide range of vital roles helping to keep our country functioning and to support all those who live in New Zealand. Unfortunately, all is not well in the sector.
Since coming to power, the National Government has repeatedly cut jobs across the sector, which has had negative impacts not only on the staff being made redundant and their families, but also on the services that the sector delivers to other New Zealanders. Over 5000 jobs have been lost in the last four years, with approximately 200 of these losses in an 18 km radius in the Hawkes Bay area. Many public servants are feeling the pressure of increased workloads, pressure on wages and conditions and increasingly hostile work environments.
The National Government is also introducing a range of amendments to legislation that will further harm the public sector and those who work in it. The Public Service Association, a union that represents tens of thousands of workers in the public and wider state sector, is launching a campaign called More Reforms, Fewer Rights to fight against these dangerous changes.
The public sector is an important part of New Zealand. We all interact with different parts of it each and every day, and we need to stand together against the Government’s attacks in order to ensure that the promise that began in 1912 can continue to flourish for the benefit of us all.