New Zealand gov't expects to save 826 mln USD with public sector changes

14:41, May 31, 2011      

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New Zealand's government expects to save up to 1 billion NZ dollars (826 million U.S. dollars) with changes to the state sector over the next four years, Finance Minister Bill English reportedly said Tuesday.

English made the comment when announcing a proposal to reduce the number of government agencies as the government sought better value for money, less duplication and improved co-ordination across the state sector, the National Business Review website reported.

The proposals included disestablishing five Crown (state-owned) entities and three tribunals, merging two government agencies, establishing shared corporate services across the government's three central agencies and consolidating the services of others.

Officials would gather financial and other information from the affected organizations by July, after which the Cabinet would make final decisions, English said, according to the report.

"We expect these changes to result in savings over the medium term, which will be offset by some initial upfront costs."

He said there was no set goal for staff reductions or money saved.

"New Zealand currently has 39 government departments, over 150 Crown entities of various types, not including school boards of trustees, and more than 200 other agencies," English said.

The costs of running government were too high, with too much duplication and waste, he said.

"Change is now a necessity," the report quoted him as saying.

The government had set up the Better Public Services Advisory Group to help ensure any changes would improve the focus and results of the public sector as a whole, English said.

"The group's members will help bring a clear focus on value for money, innovation, high quality service provision and effective change management," said English.

Source: Xinhua
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