“Nicola Willis made reckless commitments about tax cuts which she couldn’t afford and now she’s sneaking in larger cuts than she signalled before the election. This is a broken election promise.”
Willis said the policy was consistent with National’s pre-election commitment to restore discipline to government spending.
“We were very upfront about our commitment to get a reduction in consulting and contracting spend across government; to move resources out of bureaucracy and into the frontline.
“An inclusion of those [all] agencies in this exercise is entirely consistent with those promises we made to New Zealanders.”
National has promised frontline services will not be impacted by the cuts, but Public Service Association national secretary Duane Leo said this was not possible.
“6.5 or 7.5 percent is going beyond the removal of contractors and efficiencies; it’s basically going to cut to the bone in terms of services and staff.”
Public sector bosses will present their savings plans – including potential risks – to the government soon, before ministers and Cabinet decide whether or not to accept their proposals.
Willis is looking to slash annual public service spending annually by $1.5 billion.
The bulk of that will come from a reduction in consultant costs and savings already announced by the previous government.
The remaining $600m will be made up of further cuts.
Exactly where these savings are made will be revealed in May’s Budget.
Some government departments are already making changes.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has confirmed it had offered its staff voluntary redundancy this month, having signalled the process late last year.