26 Mar 2010

State mergers mean jobs will go

12:13 pm on 26 March 2010

The Government has announced three public sector mergers, saving an estimated $20 million over three years and costing up to 55 jobs.

The merger involves amalgamating the Food Safety Authority back into the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

Archives New Zealand and the National Library will be amalgamated into the Department of Internal Affairs, and the Foundation of Research, Science and Technology will merge with the Ministry of the same name.

State Services Minister Tony Ryall says the changes are part of the Government's programme to reduce duplication and operational costs within the state sector and improve efficiency.

Mr Ryall says some agencies are going to have to work differently within their existing budget to meet the Government's expectations.

Opposition parties voice concerns

Opposition parties fear consumers and exporters will suffer because of the merger between the Food Safety Authority and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

The two were split by the previous Labour-led Government three years ago, with international best practice being cited.

The Green Party says reversing that is a retrograde step that will undermine consumer confidence in food safety.

The Labour Party says it may threaten the export sector because New Zealand can no longer guarantee it has an independent and robust food safety authority.

But the Government says the merger will provide international assurance about the quality of food service and the products that are exported and imported.

A spokesperson for the Library and Information Association, Heather Lamond says librarians are disappointed at the lack of consultation over the merger of the National Library and Archives New Zealand into the Department of Internal Affairs.

She says there is a risk of the dilution of specialist library resources within a larger department, which could have a negative impact on all libraries in New Zealand.