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Dr Muriel Newman

A Snapshot of New Zealand in 2014

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2014 has been a turbulent year – with the rise of ISIS, the outbreak of Ebola, the shooting down of a fully laden passenger jet … and closer to home, a general election that was hijacked by dirty politics and scandalmongers. While opposition parties have tried to revive the pre-election scandal and rouse public concern, New Zealanders believe there are far more pressing issues to worry about.

Meanwhile, the machinery of government rolls on. After each general election, briefing papers are prepared by public agencies for the incoming government. They provide us with a snapshot of New Zealand in 2014.

According to the State Services Commission, the government agency charged with overseeing the performance of the state sector, New Zealand’s government is bigger than ever before – and more expensive. With total Crown expenditure set at $73.1 billion for this financial year, the per capita cost of running the New Zealand government exceeds $16,000.

Some 229,631 people are employed in the wider state sector – an increase of almost 10,000 since National took office in 2008. Of those, 44,500 work in the core public service. The Ministry of Social Development employs the most staff with 9,931, followed by Corrections with 7,555, and Inland Revenue with 5,641. The agency with the fewest staff is the Ministry of Women’s Affairs with 23.

The state sector is made up of literally hundreds of government agencies. In their briefing to the incoming government, the Commission highlights that poor performance is a key challenge. They point out that while the functions of state sector agencies have been placed at arms length from Ministers, “Improving Board performance is the major way that Ministers have of driving for results in the wider State sector. Board performance has a range of determinants, a major one being the quality of Board appointees.”

Yet outside of the school sector, “There is no overall system to manage the candidate pipeline for the Crown and no standard appointment process. Some agencies interview potential candidates and some don’t; some advertise, some do background checks, but there is no consistent approach.”

Since Ministers are responsible for appointing between 2,000 and 3,000 members to more than 520 boards – at a cost in excess of $43 million in annual board fees – this is a serious issue of concern. 850 board appointments will be made in 2014 alone.

The briefing by the Ministry of Education to the incoming government reports that while education is a major public investment, accounting for one dollar in every five of total government spending, failing students and falling standards remain major concerns.

They explain that the education sector is divided into three distinct areas. The early childhood sector receives $1.6 billion in government funding, to provide services to over 200,000 children, delivered by 22,000 teachers, in over 5,000 centres – including kindergartens, kohanga reo, playcentres, and day care establishments. The primary and secondary sector receives $5.8 billion for over 750,000 students and 52,000 teachers, in over 2,500 state, integrated, independent and partnership schools. And the tertiary sector receives $4.2 billion in government funding for over 565,000 students and 600 providers – including universities, polytechs, industry and private training organisations, and community providers.

The Ministry of Education – which employs 2,610 staff – explains that, “International studies show that results for nine and ten year olds are declining in maths and science and that fifteen year olds are not doing as well as they have previously in reading, maths and science. In these studies and in these learning areas, New Zealand is not keeping pace with other high-performing countries.”

They outline key areas of failure – “In 2012, for example, 79% of Year 8 students were below the expected curriculum level in science” – and of successes: “The ECE [Early Childhood Education] sector has increased participation, so that now approximately 96% of children starting school have attended ECE. The persistent gap in take-up of ECE between children from European and higher socio-economic status backgrounds, and other children is reducing, but not quickly enough.”

The briefing by the Ministry of Health explains that current health expenditure of $15.1 billion, accounts for more than a fifth of all government spending: “Real spending has increased from $583 per person in 1950 to $2987 per person in 2011.”

The country’s 20 District Health Boards play a pivotal role in New Zealand’s health care system. Along with the Ministry of Health and the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC), the DHBs are the main purchasers of public health services, with PHARMAC working on their behalf to prioritise and procure pharmaceuticals.

The DHBs provide hospital care and purchase primary and community health services for their local populations. While general practice and aged care services are funded by DHBs, they are provided by non-government organisations and private businesses. The Ministry of Health also purchases health services directly, including some disability support services. And as part of its no-fault injury insurance cover, ACC provides medical treatment and rehabilitation services through bulk funding arrangements with DHBs. Services that are not subsidised include optometry, orthodontics and most adult dental care.

The Ministry of Health’s three key goals are ensuring, “New Zealanders are healthier and more independent; high-quality health services are delivered in a timely and accessible manner; the health and disability system is sustainable.”

The New Zealand Police briefing explains that, in addition to the 12,000 staff located in 12 Districts around New Zealand, there is a small international Police presence in China, Singapore, London, Washington, Fiji, Australia, Indonesia, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, Tonga, and Pitcairn Island. The broad range of activities they are involved in includes keeping the peace, law enforcement, crime prevention, maintaining public safety, national security, and emergency management.

With crime at a 35-year low, and last year’s road toll the lowest ever recorded, the main challenges faced by the Police relate to changes in criminal activity. This includes gang-related activities, the increase in violent crime (especially family violence, child protection and adult sexual assault), and the over-representation of Maori offending and victimisation. In addition, there is growing concern over the rapid growth in non-crime demand – including mental health – that requires more complex and intensive multi-agency responses: “In 2013 alone, the Police Communications Centre fielded 32,000 attempted suicide and mental health related calls for service, 22,000 of which Police employees subsequently attended. The standard two Police officers per event response cost the Police an estimated $10 million.”

Of the Police’s $1.5 billion budget, 72 percent funds personnel, 19 percent is used for operating costs including fuel and forensic expenses, and 9 percent for asset operating and ownership costs. Around $300 million – 21 percent of the budget – is used for road policing.

As the government’s lead economic and fiscal advisor, the Treasury has provided a number of briefing papers – including on health, ACC and climate change. Their report to the Minister of Finance focuses on lifting New Zealand’s economic performance and living standards: “New Zealand needs to reduce its foreign debt levels and shift the balance of economic activity towards the investment and export growth needed to support higher living standards over the long-term”.

They discuss a range of matters including the vexed issue of how to improve the country’s poor productivity performance: “While there is a wide range of potential explanations, three main themes emerge from the debate. One set of arguments emphasises a weakening in the pace of economic policy reform over time and the role of the state sector in restraining economic performance. Another set focuses on the links between New Zealand’s lower productivity, high real interest rates and exchange rate, low level of saving and consequential lower level of investment and exports. And a third line of argument focuses on the constraints to New Zealand’s economic performance from our small population and distance from international markets.”

Their analysis identifies three key strategic challenges – improving our international markets, moving towards export-led growth, and “enabling all New Zealanders to participate in the economy and society”. On this point they note, that while New Zealand’s overall employment rates are high, some groups are under-represented, including those with no or low qualifications, Maori, the disabled, and solo parents: “New Zealand is particularly unusual in terms of the high proportion of our children in sole parent households and our low employment rates for solo mothers. In many OECD countries solo mothers have similar or higher employment rates than partnered mothers. However, solo mothers have significantly lower employment rates than partnered mothers in New Zealand.”

They state that since welfare is the main source of income for two out of three children living in low income households, paid work is an important route out of poverty. While such families often face multiple barriers to work, overcoming them “can bring wider personal and social benefits to the parents, their children and the community. These include the long-term economic, social and fiscal costs from the related impacts of joblessness, like crime or anti-social behaviour, and poor housing, health, and educational achievement.”

Treasury supports the welfare system’s new focus on investing in those who are most likely to remain on benefits in the long-term: “Policies that assist beneficiaries to move out of long-term welfare dependency and participate in the labour market are not only likely to improve outcomes for the most disadvantaged families, including children, but will also enhance economic growth.”

The Reserve Bank plays a central role in New Zealand’s financial system. Its briefing to the incoming government, explains that it “manages monetary policy to maintain price stability, promotes the maintenance of a sound and efficient financial system, and supplies New Zealand banknotes and coins”.

As part of its monitoring role, the Reserve Bank issues comprehensive reports on a regular basis. This week’s NZCPR Guest, economic commentator Frank Newman, has examined the Reserve Bank’s half yearly Financial Stability Report and shares his analysis – including his concerns about the Governor’s proposed new restrictions on property investors:

“Reserve Bank Governor Graeme Wheeler commented on the possibility of regulations to curb buying by larger property investors (those owning more than five rentals). The Reserve Bank’s proposal would require banks to treat loans to residential property investors owning more than five properties as commercial lending.

“SME [small and medium sized enterprise] bank lending is considered to be higher risk lending and is charged a higher interest rate. To target larger residential property investors is a truly absurd notion given the diversification of a large residential property portfolio actually lowers risk – larger investors should pay lower interest rates than the single property owner.

“The true purpose of the regulation is obviously to put the brakes on house prices by targeting existing property investors, just as they targeted first home buyers when they changed the loan to value ratios last year. At this stage the Reserve Bank is still considering the proposal.”

In this newsletter, we have provided just a taste of the extensive information available in the briefing papers from over 60 government agencies on the Beehive website. We encourage those with an interest in any of the organisations listed below* to follow this link to their briefings.

*ACC, Callaghan Innovation, Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority, Careers New Zealand, Civil Aviation Authority, Creative New Zealand, Crown Law Office, Department of Conservation, Department of Corrections, Department of Internal Affairs, Earthquake Commission, Education New Zealand, Education Review Office, Electricity Authority, Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, Environmental Protection Authority, Fair Way Resolution Limited, Families Commission, Housing New Zealand Corporation, Inland Revenue, Land Information New Zealand, Maori Television, Maritime New Zealand, Ministry for Culture and Heritage, Ministry for Primary Industries, Ministry for the Environment, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Education,  Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs, Ministry of Social Development, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Natural Resources Sector, New Zealand Artificial Limb Service, New Zealand Customs Service, New Zealand Defence Force, New Zealand Police, New Zealand Productivity Commission, New Zealand Qualifications Authority, New Zealand Teachers Council, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, NZ on Air, NZ Transport Agency, Office of the Children’s Commissioner, Parliamentary Counsel Office, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, Serious Fraud Office, Social Workers Registration Board, Sport New Zealand, State Services Commission, Statistics New Zealand, Te Mangai Paho, Te Papa, Te Puni Kokiri, Tertiary Education Commission, Transport Accident Investigation Commission, Treasury, Veterans’ Affairs New Zealand, Work Safe New Zealand.


What is your view on the size of New Zealand’s government – is too big, about right, or not big enough? 

Vote x 120

*Poll comments are posted below.


*All NZCPR poll results can be seen in the Archive.


Click to view x 120


I thought that this government was committed to capping the size of government (that blew out under Helen Clark). What happened to that?? Laurie
Should be half the size that it is just as councils should be as well. Glenn
Far too big for a country of 4.5 m. Peter
It dispels the myth that National is for small government. It also dispels the myth that private enterprise is better than public service. If it was, national would not have grown the public service to the current record level. David
How much does it cost to run a country? I thought the Labour party had to many sub Depts all drawing from the trough ?? Now I have my doubts. Wayne
I find it difficult to make an informed comment. However, I think that MMP does require a few more people to get a proper balance of views. The people who set up our MMP structure did a remarkably good job – in my opinion. Noel
There needs to be no Maori seats; climate terrorists Greens need no more than one seat at half the salary. Next parliament there will be no Maori, United or Act parties as it should be. Monica
120 MP’s for 4.5 million people is absurd!! Peter
Far to Big. Time to get real.. Clive
Trying to compete with USA Warren
We have the same population as Sydney so why such a large beauracacy?? To many unproductive people especially in the Maori sector. Graeme
It needs to be cut by half. Tim
The money saved in wages could be used in the medical field saving lives. Isn’t a persons life more important than creating a job that brings back nil return. John
Remove maori seats, and it’s still too big. Don
Gravy Train; Big spoons; nice jobs if your cronies can sort you work. Public Servants? Zoran
In a true democracy an MP wins the right to be in Parliament at the Ballot Box.The failure is in having a list from which Parties can nominate further MPs many of whom the majority of citizens would never have in Parliament. Roger
Too many, too costly and not much for the taxpayers money. Audrey
Far too big. We have too many organisations in NZ for the size of the country. Frank
Too many sucking on the taxpayer teats! Jim
Why is it that each incoming government feels the need to increase the size? It just goes on and on and needs to be seriously addressed. Joan
Some are doubling up or overlapping each other or unnecessary! Theodorus
Less MPs in parliament would work with me. along the lines of the ignored referendum. Neil
Yes it is too big. Theo
I want less & Less government bureucrats! Cyril
Far too big, they should give it all out to Private Tenders, & if they do not preform they get the DCM ( Dont Come Monday) Govement Workers do not care as it is not there Money, if they where runing it as a private business, they would care about how money was spent. Geoff
Remove the Maori seats and the umber should be about right. David
Every year those employed by State services, and those employed by local government increases by abnormal amounts. The private sector is constantly pulling in it’s head as things get tight, but governments, and local bodies do the opposite. Lloyd
Its a lot of bloody nonsense, just look at the goings on in the debating chamber, very few turn up !!?? No room in this little country for politics, it should be run like a very good business. Alfred
Too many many unelected politicians in Government.. Even Andrew Little leader of Labour Party is unelected. Dene
When local governance is included, NZ has way too many desk warmers. About 17 members of Parliament should be able to handle the business of a country of 4 million. The problem is (rightly) the inability to trust the people charged with government, because human nature is basically self-centred, and easily twisted towards easy short term solutions. Then to evil. Only an outside standard of good vs bad will resist the decline into self-serving rationalisation of decisions, both personal and administrative. William
I am not an expert on this subject but I do have a strong gut feeling that the bigger our government sector grows (and we are a darn small country) the more we have so called experts telling us how to suck eggs and even requiring us to do it their way much to our disadvantage as innovative Kiwis and to the disadvantage of our country. Big government is costing us all, big time, and the return for our taxes is in inverse proportion to the size of government. Rob
For a country of 4.5 million people 60 MPs is enough. With MMP we are carrying a number of MPs who do contribute little and draw an excessive salary. It is high time that we cut back on overpaid be beaurocrats both in local and national government. Peter
Grossly exaggerated.even a 50% cut in the number of govt organizations would still be exaggerated. Michael
Its taken the political system about 7 terms of government to take a prosperous nation and place in on the edge of an abyss. (NZ is not alone as most of the Western world has copied NZ). Whilst there is no such thing as “perfect” there has been too much “crappy” law emerging following vested interest political input from governments with the power to do so. National Interest is needed now more than ever before – and the voter can not get it from governments. The politics of the day is obstructing the rational that needs to emerge. NZ must return to production for domestic needs. This will re-introduce compound economics that will point NZ towards prosperity. Thus eliminating growing poverty. The answer to the question is a small Upper House based on the Tasmanian model that would be independent of political parties. Much of the messes that governments have made (Like the anti-smacking Bill) would not see the light of day! (Tasmania has 8 Independent Legislative Councillors) Frederick
It’s too big. The throat grabing grasp of the skinny fingers of the bureaucracy continues to keep real enterprise sort of oxygen for real growth. Ronmac
Too many pid to do little or nothing. Bev
Totally too many politicians for the size of this country, and it follows too many electorates. Whole country with a population about half or less than New York/London, NZ is a country village compared to these two cities and each do not have the numbers of politicians to run them as we do. Not only over subscribed with politicians, economically a shameful waste of taxpayer funds. David
Too many on the gravy train at my expense. David
100 is plenty. Richard
To many hanger ons. Some need to go. Robert
The problem is all governments step outside their core responsibilities of External defence, Internal defence and maybe standards. Eg. why do we need departments of womens’ affairs, maori affairs, etc. And what of the enormous cost and bureaurocracy surrounding the maintenance of APARTHEID in NZ with separate seats in Parliament? Geoff
Unless we get a govt that has the guts to change the civil service, nothing will change Sam
Once our darling Hellen promissed to bring the ministers number back to 93 in a NON-binding (money wasting ) referendum. What happened? NOTHING Shame on her and following governments. Peter
Out of control.Too many useless people sucking on the public tit Mike
Do away with the maori seats for a start. John
Obviously full off otherwise unemployable people, with the sole objective of keeping the unemployed figures down. George
Bureaucracy in NZ is again becoming out of control. This is especially evident in the huge income increases for senior civil servants & local body chiefs. Why is this so??? They produce nothing of economic value and are really only overpaid servants of the government. or ratepayer -Now is the time to reassess public & local body salaries at the upper levels. Brian
Every year the subject is brought up. However getting a government to do anything about reducing the number of parliamentarians will never happen. Dennis
And over paid. John
Too much spent on rubbish – not enough on required technology. Christopher
They contribute nothing worthwhile to the country, they are there to make everything difficult for small business people. Francess
Definitely not sustainable. Les
Way too big, from the number of MP’s through to the public service sector. Most managers in public service areas couldn’t manage their way out of a wet paper bag. Graeme
All we get are repeat suggestions. Malcolm
All mp’s should be voted in by the pepal not by the party. Richard
Parliament should be cut to 7 or 9 people Ministers should be contracted to carry out their job and fired if it isn’t done properly. Rick
For a country so small we have one of the biggest in the oecd. This country is so top heavy with govt and public servants sucking the life blood out of us i’m amazed we are able to float. Ron
We dont need so many, taking so much for doing so little. MMP has a lot to answer for.
Keeps us all poorer than we should be. Lawrie
Is it any wonder NZ is slipping down the list of Rich countries per head of population. Countries like Singapore and small government, low taxes and tough laws while NZ has the 3 opposites. They are well on the way to becoming the richest country in the world per head of population while we continue to fall down the list to a banana republic where everyone knows their rights but few want to know their responsibilities. Colin
Ruth Richardson reduced the Government sector but now after Clark and currently Key they are increasing dramatically. Errol
A borough of London with a population of over four million gets along quite happily with a council about a fifth the size of NZ govt & their budget is about the same as ours. Alan
Bureaucracy stifles productivity. Mitch
We don’t need 120 odd people to run this country. Graham
A 50% reduction is necessary, they are mostly passengers, at great expense to the taxpayer for very little accomplishment. Monty
I have worked with many government departments and found they are populated by under-achievers. NZ Senior Bureaucrats are unimaginative, impractical and self-serving and do not work [or serve] the public [their employers]. David
Yes for such a small country our Government is far to large. Peter
FAR too big. Too much governance nationally and locally and getting worse. You get what you deserve – we are reaping what we sowed by re-electing the same crowd that were unsustainably governing the country. Don’t blame me – I didn’t vote for them. John
Even Winston thinks so. David
Up to 30% to big and local Govt. can also be included to the same extent. Stuart
100 is about right. Barry
We grow Government Weeds at the expense of Entrepreneurial Fruit. Roger
Too big, bloated and bureaucratic. Peter
We would have to be the most overregulated country in the world. we should start by reducing the number of parliamentarians by half. Frank
It is about right. Geoff
One civil servant with nothing to do got an assistant then there were two, two civil servants kept the job alive till more were appointed then there were five .Five civil servants slaving with pen formed a department then there were ten. Ten civil servants, you’d think would be plenty but being a department extended to twenty. Twenty civil servants with a head so haughty doubled the number then there were forty. Forty civil servants with reasons good and weighty needed assistants then there were eighty. So the game went on and on – it;s really rather fun, to make a hundred joblets where formally was one!!! Ian
The all-to-frequent call to ensure X “will never happen again” invariably results in more regulation and … more bureaucrats! Colin
A population of /- 4.5million does not need 120 MPs in Parliament – 60 for a lower house (reps) and 20 for an upper house (senate) is enough. 2 tiers of local government is ridiculous. Andrew
What’s your view on the size of New Zealand’s government? Judging by the excessive number of Ministries, boards, sub boards and organisations that make up the governing of this nation the only sane answer must be the obvious question WHY? Why does a nation this small, need so many non-productive governmental agencies? They contribute nothing but restrictions and idiotic rules to our economy? The question posed this morning on Radio Live concentrated upon the salaries of the highest Public Servants in the land. When the real question should have been why the vast increase in the Public Service? (Another National election promise broken.) Like many Western Governments our Public Service sector is bloated with excessive number of State servants…. a growing Pyramid of cost. CAUSE Successive New Zealand governments are, and have been basically socialistically inclined, and the remedy of decreasing Governmental bureaucracy is a hot potato. This idea of reducing the Public Service is thwarted by its own structure; and no head of a department is going to advise his or her Minister that a staff reduction is necessary! New Zealanders by their laid back attitude fail to grasp that a democracy must be protected, not only from external forces, but also from the danger of an ever expanding internal bureaucracy. This increasing Public Service is placing an un-deserved strain upon our Business and Farming sector, already facing huge problems in the costs of producing and exporting. We now see a constant abuse of our Dairying sector over the high returns of previous years, and an indifference to the 50% drop in the GROSS income in Dairying. This a total lack of appreciation and knowledge that those exporting are price takers; not price setters. The size of our Government bureaucracy should be of immense concern to us all, as it is an ever increasing factor in any future financial downturn. ‘Leave it to the Government’ is NOT an option, as little socialistic ‘Fortress New Zealand’ no longer exists in the real world. Brian
For the size of population the number of politicians in our government is out of proportion. Jill
40 MPs, and a cut down bureaucracy. Terry
Big does not equal efficient. Witness the increased size and cost of Auckland s Super City and the hugely decreased services and efficiency. Fred
As more demands for services are received, as population increases, as the world becomes more complex more state employees are needed as technology alone can’t replace people. Mike
Whatever pushes the price of second hand housing up and consequently mortgages is money not producing anything but profits for the non producing banks. Second hand housing should never be allowed to be treated as a speculative investment only enterprises producing something for the economy should. Huge amounts of New Zealands potential investment capital is tied up in the non producing over priced real estate market. Government fail again. Pity the sheep in this country could not see the potential in Kim Dotcoms proposal for a future looking vibrant tech sector. This country is so held back by an ignorant,naive,gullible, apathetic, unimaginative, gutless electorate and an overblown, regulating control obsessed, incompetent government. Such is the land of the long white silent majority. Peter
And getting bigger by the day, time for some civil servants & hangers on to find a real job, like how many goods follow John Key around now…. Wayne
Far too big. Geoff
Far too many they just create problems to justify their existence. Clark
They all should be only in parliament if they get voted in not from the party list. Cherryl
Too big by half. It has been expanded over the years to incorporate minorities in city enclaves, to give them a voice. Roy
Trim the fat, and get rid of the fat cats! Graham
Top heavy. Elsa
Far too big for the size of NZ.. It is growing in the same way as local bodies annually. Rog
The Govt only needs 60 at the most for a small country like ours the present number is way out of reality what does every body do there apart from acting like school children and talking in a language that is from over sea I presume plus all the advisers 40 years ago Prime minister had 3 or 4 now last I heard was 170 odd so talk about a rip off. Russell
Maori MPs and list MPs should pay all ther own expenses because they are not elected. They should not be there at the expense of the NZ tax payer. Johan
Way too big. Gregor
About right.  Katrina
Too big, so many have to be free loaders. Fewer people and only those who wish to work for the benefit of NZ. Elizabeth
Could be half the size and the country would function better. John
It is ridiculous for governing only 4.5m people. Chris
Get rid of race based and gender based sets. S
It’s far too big and too many don’t work as hard as those in private industries and they’re overpaid! Ray
Trying to reduce numbers would be akin to a turkey wishing for an early Christmas. Too much good stuff in the trough to turn away from. Gordon
$16,000 cost per Citizen, read another $4,000 odd for various local body functions and in direct taxes and you have $20,000 per citizen but less than 50% of citizens are actively productive in any monetary capacity so we are left with a range of $40,000 to $50,000 per working tax contributing citizen, does that explain the massive blowout in debt borrowing over the past several political terms, Yeah Right, ITS A SICK JOKE. Another plank in the UN boardwalk to global overlordship. Sack the Racist Tribunal, Sack all the quasi bodies who pontificate, Abandon the RMA and Gut the so called Management of Civil Services, Cull 39% or the government role starting with non essential cultural and education. Contract out incarceration as indentured workers to foreign contractors and suspend /revoke citizenship for the duration of any incarceration. Cut the dole, pay a dividend for private unemployment savings. incentivize private employment so that employers are oriented to avoid under the table payments and substantially increase domestic services employment. Reduce personal taxation to a 10% flat rate and graduate GST based on basic foods, locally sourced energy 10%, General goods, 15%. and luxury, imported and imported sourced energy, energy consumptive goods 20%/ make our taxation system guide choice and aide or expectations. Ditch the concept of Political Correctness and adopt a needs must policy. Forget the UN, TPP and Agenda 21 It doesnt take rocket science to balance the budget, just honest determination. To stave off the worst effects of global recession we need to avoid mid east oil wars and dependence on volatile export markets and ensure self reliance based on full localized employment by incentivizing local employers and incentivizing local sourced consumption. Limiting immigration to self supporting immigrants with wealth building skills would help, cut the relatives and hanger-on immigrants unless they pay in their share of tax contribution.NZ should be as discerning in accepting immigrants as Switzerland, Litchenstien and Guernsey, And we need to broaden our banking base with a dozen world banks, not be dominated by the gutter politics of Melbourne and Canberra. Only by comprehensive change will the problems of over staffed government and wanton over regulation be addressed. Richard
Didn’t we have a vote on this before and the government ignored it. Of course we could cut some of the list seats and get their numbers down, but our leaders won’t do it. Eric
Big Brother syndrome. Keith
Far far too big. We certainly don’t need the current number to administer our country and as a consequence it’s far too costly. Imagine what good use the extra money could be put to if we reduced the numbers. We should have no more than 99. On top of that the Maori seats should go. We have plenty of part-Maori MPs and the seats just skew Parliament out of proportion. Helen
And too costly. When is KEy going to do as he promised and reduce the number of govt employees? And get rid of ALL list MPs and about 75 percent of the ridiculous boards, committees and unproductive drones. Oh, I forgot, Key will probably go to live in Hawaii after he has sold us out to the Asians. In a decade or two we will look back and say “did we really allow that to happen?” Carolyn
Ridiculously ballooned out of proportions to run a country with just over 4mill people! Gerd
It needs to be leaner and accountable for goals. Stae Services Comm on $610,000 is borgering on onscene.Say 210 working days-that is close to $3,000 per day. How do you justify that? Dick
Far too big! Selwyn
Get rid of the Maori seats and MMP for a start then set about an even division of population with a maximum number of Members of Parliament of below one hundred. That would be a democracy. Chris
Our Politicians are too vacuous to realise that the total cost of administration of four million people is totally out of keeping with reality. Peter
Far, far too big, and in dire need of fundamental restructuring. Peter
Democracy is just a word with this government, we are now a racist country. There are no pure Maori. Edward
Should take a leaf out of Switzerland, that’s the government we should aspire too. Ian
Size only matters when performance is out of balance and unfortunately it would appear to be so. Lance
Every extra politicians gets a salary and perks – from our tax $$$. Mark
Way too many and way over paid. Stevo
Too big, there are more slouches than couches. James
It is too big, too greedy, lazy and not only is non-productive it gets in the way of those who want to be productive. Peter
The bigger they get the worse the performance. MP’s seem to follow either their own agendas or the agendas of those who gripe the loudest. When are we going to experience some commonsense? Oh, I forgot, It’s all about gathering votes isn’t it! Judith
Far to big for the number of departments it has to administer. Dave
4 Million people do not need so much Govt. Put those educated brains out into the private sector. This will create in time a more vibrant economy. Every interest group has a department. Stupid. Immigration should concentrate on christian Northern European. This will lift the education of the whole country while maintaining the heritage of hard work and self support. Wayne
Way too fascist, as fascism is the endgame of socialism. Larry
Implementation of the referendum would be a good place to start. Geoffrey
Philadelphia in the USA has a population of 4.5 million people and is Governed by a Council of 25 people. It is the “quality” of the people that you elect; not the number that makes for the right decisions being made. Graeme
What happened to National’s commitment to reduce the size and cost of government? Graeme
NZ’s bloated bureaucracy is holding the country back. Jim
The government is way too big for such a small country. Big reductions are needed – not in front line teachers, nurses and the Police, but in most other government departments, Andrea
Reduce the size of government and bring in tax cuts, then watch the economy boom! John
There are too many politicians and too many government workers in this country. they should all be reduced. Simon