15,000 redundant state workers could be resource for councils – mayor

6:05 pm on 7 December 2023
Carterton District Council Mayor Ron Mark said nobody was irreplaceable.

Carterton District Council Mayor and former defence minister Ron Mark said nobody was irreplaceable. Photo: Supplied via LDR

Wellington public servants out of a job could become a resource for councils looking for staff, according to a Wairarapa mayor.

Carterton District Council (CDC) mayor Ron Mark made the comment during a discussion about key risks facing the council, at its meeting on Wednesday.

"There are something like 15,000 state employees about to be made redundant and they will be looking for jobs," he told council.

The remark was made after councillor Robyn Cherry-Campbell suggested that the loss of key employees should be a high priority risk for the council.

"Looking at the size of our council - and the marketplace at the moment - if we for any reason lost any of our key employees ... we would be really struggling to replace the quality that we currently have," Cherry-Campbell said.

Mark, a former Defence Minister, said nobody was irreplaceable.

"People do come, and people go," he said.

"There was a comment made yesterday at the Wellington Leadership Committee ... that there are something like 15,000 state employees about to be made redundant and they will be looking for jobs.

"Councils overall were saying that therein lies a pool of people that they will actively seek to resource from."

ACT leader David Seymour has signalled 15,000 state sector jobs could go to return the public sector headcount to 2017 levels.

The council discussion came after five risks were recommended to the council by its risk and assurance committee.

The key risks were strategic partnerships, climate change, delivery of critical services, financial control, and health, safety and wellbeing.

"Mark said it was right not to ignore the issue of losing key staff, and raise it as an issue within the risk context."

"But I support the risk and assurance committee's view that it lies within the delivery of critical services.

"Having good staff is part of maintaining a capability to deliver critical services effectively, efficiently and competently," Mark said.

Deputy-mayor Dale Williams said the 'loss of key staff' was effectively covered under the heading of 'delivery of critical services'.

The council heard the risk and assurance committee had thoroughly discussed relevant risks.

Risks considered by the risk and assurance committee had included reputational damage, lapses of health and safety, poor natural disaster response, data management system loss, loss of key employees, climate change, failure of asset/infrastructure, inadequate financial controls, inability to retain and/or recruit workforce, and water supply contamination.

CDC voted to adopt the five key risks as recommended by the committee.

The PSA did not want to comment on this issue.

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