2 May 2024

Public sector job cuts: All Stats NZ staff offered voluntary redundancies

12:44 pm on 2 May 2024
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Photo: RNZ /Dom Thomas

All Stats NZ staff have been offered voluntary redundancy, the Public Service Association says.

The PSA said it was concerned that the voluntary redundancies being offered to staff by Stats NZ will impact on the agency's ability to deliver on its core functions.

PSA assistant secretary Fleur Fitzsimons said they were supportive of staff having the option of taking voluntary redundancy where it met their needs.

But Fitzsimons said they were worried about the disruption it would cause.

"We remain concerned that the constant rounds of cuts required by the government to pay for tax relief for landlords will impact the ability of Stats NZ to deliver the quality collection and analysis of data that businesses and communities depend on."

The government agency has told RNZ that there were 29 job losses in December 2023 as part of its change process.

Labour was concerned Stats NZ's approach to voluntary redundancy risked creating a negative culture at the agency.

Statistics spokesperson Reuben Davidson said it was a dramatic and blunt way to manage a department.

"There's definitely a risk that the best and brightest will disappear. There's also a risk that you ask a question, and then if you don't like the answer, you go against that," he said.

"You give people the opportunity to apply for redundancy, and then if you decide further down the track that you're not going to grant it, you've sent a really strange signal to your staff and to your team, and I think that creates risks of creating a really negative culture within your workforce."

Davidson said it suggested Stats NZ had a picture of its future that it was not communicating with staff.

It comes as nearly 3500 public sector jobs have been cut or are set to go as a result of ministries and agencies slash expenditure by either 6.5 or 7.5 percent as directed by Finance Minister Nicola Willis.

Other ministries that have offered voluntary redundancies include the Ministry of Social Development, the Ministry for the Environment and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

But cuts are also being made beyond the core public sector, at Crown entities such as WorkSafe and Callaghan Innovation, and Crown research institute Niwa, for example.

More than 3000 jobs were proposed to be axed so far.

Minister for Regulation David Seymour previously indicated it could hit 7500.

More to come...

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