MAF Job Cuts Threaten Other Industries

24 August 2011 - Which Way to Pay

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MAF Job Cuts Threaten Other Industries

The Governmentís bid to save money resulted in the merging of fisheries management back into the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry earlier this year. This morning employees were warned of cuts which will be adopted in October when the company is set to restructure. As a result, 466 jobs (189 in Wellington alone) will be cut. However, it is anticipated that the merger will also create 225 new positions. The Public Service Association (PSA) also warned that the folding of the fisheries independency could threaten some of New Zealandís most important industries.

The PSA have said that a net job loss of 241 positions nationally can be expected. The PSAís national secretary, Richard Wagstaff said;

"Many of these people provide the analysis for sound practice on the ground that protects our forestry, fisheries and agriculture industries... These industries are critical to our economy and we shouldn't be putting them at risk.''

Paramount to Mr Wigstaffís concern is the potential loss of knowledge and management ability within some of New Zealandís key industries as a result of the job cuts;

"Some of those skilled people will go overseas, so the loss of knowledge and expertise won't just be to the public service, it will be to the whole of New Zealand industry,'' he said.

Indeed, the latest developments are reminiscent of Government decisions which resulted in the disastrous 1990s restructurings that impacted the public service industry and had economic costs for the whole country.

In 1995, the Ministry of Fisheries was split off from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, and in 1997, forestry was folded into agriculture to create the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Following this, the standalone Food Safety Authority was split off from MAF and the Ministry of Health, only to be blended back into MAF last year.

Mr Wagstaff said MAF was slashing hundreds of jobs in a bid to save $18 million in reaction to the Government's indiscriminate and unjustified public service budget cuts.

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