24 Sep 2008

National promises no radical reform of public sector

6:03 pm on 24 September 2008

The National Party has assured the Public Service Association that there would be no radical reform of the public sector under a National Government.

Party leader John Key addressed about 150 people at a conference of the public sector union on Wednesday.

He told the conference that times are tough and it is not an ideological statement to say that restraint is required. However, he does not believe there is any need for extensive reform of the public sector.

Mr Key reiterated that resources under a National Government would be focused on what he termed "front line services".

He said he disagrees with a PSA advertising campaign which equates National's tax cuts with the loss of public sector jobs.

PSA not convinced

PSA national secretary Brenda Pilott says delegates were not persuaded about the affordability of tax cuts.

Ms Pilott says delegates are concerned that a National government would scrap the Partnership for Quality agreement which the public service has had with three consecutive Labour governments.

She says delegates were pleased Mr Key spoke at the conference, but they were not convinced that National would not make cuts to the sector.