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The Government’s must ensure that its decision to remove the cap on public service numbers will not see bureaucracy spiral out of control as it did under the last Labour Government, National’s State Services spokesperson Nick Smith says.

“Between 2003 and 2008 under Labour, public service expenditure grew by 50 per cent with no improvement in outcomes for New Zealanders.

“Today’s announcement carries the risk that we’ll see another blowout of the public service and taxpayers’ money will again be frittered away on pointless bureaucracy.

“It comes at a time when the Government has outsourced most of its work to 122 working groups which could cost up to $1 million each.

“There is little point in boosting the public service’s policy capacity when the Government on key decisions like ending oil and gas has sought no advice and extraordinarily made decisions without going to Cabinet.

“The previous National Government introduced the cap on the number of core public service staff so that public sector agencies would have to work smarter and more efficiently, and ensure that taxpayers’ dollars were spent more wisely.

“The Government bureaucracy will always be biased towards funding policy advisors and administrators in Wellington over putting the money into frontline services for New Zealanders. We will be closely monitoring this change of policy because it risks taxpayers’ money for important services instead being wasted on paper pushing.

“The Government must ensure that removing the cap will not mean millions more being spent on a bloated bureaucracy and that any increase in public service spending will come with better outcomes for New Zealanders.”

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