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Nick Mills: Public service cuts will actually help Wellington thrive

Publish Date
Mon, 27 Nov 2023, 12:45PM
Photo / Mark Mitchell
Photo / Mark Mitchell

Nick Mills: Public service cuts will actually help Wellington thrive

Publish Date
Mon, 27 Nov 2023, 12:45PM

We all know the new Government wants to cut the public service down to the numbers we saw in 2017.

That alone would mean 15,000 fewer public servants.

Remember, National campaigned on a 6.5 percent reduction on spending across the public service.

Apparently right now there's around 63,000 public servants, and about 28,000 of them live in Wellington.

A drop to 2017 levels would reduce the national count to 48,000, and could see as many as 6000 fewer jobs in the capital.

Nicola Willis, who is incoming public service minister said on Q&A there is no specific targets for the headcount reduction, but job losses were expected.

Then came David Seymour, who said 15,000 would be the most they'd cut, however about a third would be knocked off due to population growth.

Wellington Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Simon Arcus said senior managers and contractors would be most at risk and most public servants were probably not under great threat.

Well, I actually like this idea.

As somebody that's lived in Wellington since primary school, and as someone who has always had a great deal to do with the city, my thoughts are going to concern a few people.

For me, Wellington as a city has thrived most when it's been less about public servants and the government, and more about creativity.

Hear me out.

Who started the craft brewery trend in New Zealand?


Who started New Zealand's bright movie industry?

Yes the Jacksons, but also Wellington.

We as a city do far better when there's less government workers and more creative people in it.

I'm not saying lets get rid of public servants all together.

But so many public servants right now are former creatives that have worked in other industries, but have got dragged into working for the government during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Once again I'll say water finds its own level.

And if some of those people lose their jobs and go back into being in creative environments, that will help our city.

So let's not start panicking just yet.

I am excited for our future and I think this is a good thing.


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