Magazine article New Zealand Management

A Matter of State

Magazine article New Zealand Management

A Matter of State

Article excerpt

When is growth not good news? When it relates to the size of the nation's state sector and it's election year. Back at the start of this year, Treasury revealed in a report to Cabinet that the state sector wage and salary bill had been expanding by eight percent a year. Totted up all together, state sector staff now number around 190,000. That's around 13 percent of all the nation's employees and is 14 percent more than six years ago.

Or put it into perspective another way. If you added up all the people working for Fonterra, Telecom, Fletcher Building, Carter Holt Harvey, Air New Zealand, The Warehouse, NZ Post, Spotless Services (around 9000 employees at last count), Restaurant Brands and McDonald's, you'd still only be talking about some 94,000 employees.

No surprise then, that the management, effectiveness and function of the state sector is sharpening up as an election issue. As writer Colin James notes in this month's cover story, "the National side sees the state as at best a necessary evil and unproductive. The Labour side sees it as an instrument for improving society and revving the economy." National "reckons there is fat to be trimmed and rendered down into tax cuts". Labour argues National's trimming will "cut flesh and so hurt middle New Zealand". …

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