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The state sector will be more expensive, less accountable and more centralised under the Government’s proposed reforms, National’s State Services spokesperson Nick Smith says.

“These reforms will deliver a bigger and more centralised State Sector. It will mean more taxpayer money going into Wellington bureaucracy and less into the important front-line public services that New Zealanders use every day.

“It will make our Health Boards less responsive to community needs and the dozens of other public institutions like Callaghan Innovation and Antarctica New Zealand more bureaucratic and less innovative.

“These reforms repeat this Government’s errors with KiwiBuild and the Polytechnic reform in believing that bigger government is better government. The failure of KiwiBuild shows that centralised government agencies cannot build houses faster or more cheaply. Nor will centralising New Zealand’s 16 Polytechnics into a mega-polytechnic deliver better skills training.

“National is not convinced of the need to rename and rebrand the State Services Commission into a new Public Service Commission. This is change for changes sake and a further waste of public money.

“There are some changes in these reforms that National can support. It is useful to enable public servants to move more easily between different agencies, this is something we championed while in Government. There are also some useful changes that make the process of re-organising state agencies more efficient.

“These state sector reforms are a recipe for a bloated bureaucracy. The Government has already appointed a record number of Ministers and working groups. The core state sector is growing at the fastest rate in over a decade. National will be pushing back on this expansionist view of the public service and seeking a greater focus on value for money and quality in our public services.”

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