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Govt Defends Growth In Public Sector

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Oct 1 NZPA - The Government is defending the growth of the public sector, saying it is line with that of the private sector.

National today criticised the Government for a 42 percent increase in the amount of office space leased by public servants in the past five years.

National's state services spokesman Gerry Brownlee today released figures showing Wellington public servants had leased an additional 13.2 hectares of office space since 2003.

State Services Minister David Parker said Mr Brownlee was bureaucrat bashing for political purposes.

Office space was in short supply everywhere because of years of economic growth.

"The overall public sector has grown by 11 percent since 2002 compared with 13 percent for the labour market as a whole," Mr Parker said.

Mr Brownlee said the Government now paid $106 million in rent.

He reiterated National's policy of capping numbers in the core public service and putting more government spending towards front-line services.

"At a time when householders are desperately trying to contain their personal spending, the Government should be doing the same.

"The uncertainty in the global economy means that setting the right priorities is now more important that it has been for quite some time."

The Government has previously accused National of running down the public service during its last stint in office, to the point where many departments could no longer properly carry out their functions.

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