22 Apr 2024

Nearly 140 roles proposed to go at Customs and DIA

6:04 pm on 22 April 2024
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Photo: RNZ /Dom Thomas

Nearly 140 roles are proposed to go at Customs and at the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA).

The DIA has advised staff that 59 roles are set to face the axe - of which 42 are currently vacant.

At Customs, another 78 roles are proposed to be disestablished.

The cuts at DIA are even larger than the PSA announced earlier today - which was 41.

The PSA said the cuts at DIA included workers from teams dealing with child exploitation, money laundering and counter terrorism.

If you have been affected by job cuts or have documentation about them contact Nick.James@rnz.co.nz

A Customs spokesperson said they were now in consultation with staff over the proposed changes.

It was required to make cost savings while ensuring Customs retains its ability to deliver frontline border services and critical supporting functions as well as delivering on government priorities, the spokesperson said.

"None of the positions under consideration would impact Customs' ability to deliver frontline border services and critical support."

PSA Assistant Secretary Fleur Fitzsimons said the cuts are irresponsible and dangerous.

"It has taken years for successive governments and our Customs Officers to set up our internationally renowned border management. These cuts will harm New Zealand for years to come."

Fitzsimons said the false promise of 'no cuts to the frontline' has again been exposed with these proposed cuts.

"These are the very people whose job it is to be exposed to some of the most vile and traumatising material imaginable and those who control our long borders as a last line of defence on behalf of us all.

"What could be more frontline?"

Labour leader Chris Hipkins said the government had "hung out a great big 'open for business' sign to money launderers, to those who are involved in organised crime, those who would seek to bring drugs and illegal tobacco into New Zealand" with the cuts.

"This is a government that have their priorities squarely wrong. They are making these cuts to pay for tax cuts that are unaffordable and that are recklessly irresponsible in the current economic climate.

"The government said they were going to protect frontline services. Protecting New Zealanders from online scammers is a frontline service. Protecting New Zealanders from money laundering is a frontline service. Protecting our border from illegal tobacco importation is a frontline service. And today they are being cut ... Every day we are seeing examples of where frontline services are now being cut in order to pay for an unaffordable tax cut promise.

"Almost every economist in the country told the National Party before the election that its tax cut promises were unaffordable, they chose to ignore that and now New Zealanders are seeing the true price that will be paid for them."

The cuts come on top of 33 voluntary redundancies or early retirements at Customs.

DIA has previously announced a first round of job cuts - with 28 jobs set to go at the National Library and its Māori Strategy and Performance team as part of cost cutting measures.

Meanwhile it has confirmed the vast majority of the more than 400 staff working on the previous Government's national water reform will be gone by end of the month.

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