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Google contract idea results in debate over New Zealand public services

(Xinhua)

15:41, February 14, 2012

WELLINGTON, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- The New Zealand government is controversially considering Internet giant Google and other multi-national corporations to contract out work currently done by the public sector, according to Radio New Zealand Tuesday.

Prime Minister John Key has signaled further restructuring, with mergers of government departments and redundancies.

He said the U.S.-based Google could well end up with some contracts.

"We've had some people up there talking to them; I had some discussions when I was there and they showed us some technology we thought was pretty cool. There is definitely in terms of their cloud technology the capacity to use that," he told Radio New Zealand.

"They're just one of a number of large, both multinational and New Zealand, companies that could play a role."

In its first term from 2008 to 2011, the National Party-led government cut at least 2,500 jobs from the public service, according to the report.

In the next phase, Key said some existing jobs would be eliminated, but jobs would be created with the introduction of new technology.

Key held two meetings with Google executives last year -- the first in Auckland in June and the second in San Francisco in July, on his way to Washington for a state visit -- but he has made little public comment on his discussions.

The main opposition Labor Party said arbitrary cost-cutting would not make public services any more efficient.

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