More ministries shedding staff

Public servants' jobs are on the chopping block. Image: RNZ
Public servants' jobs are on the chopping block. Image: RNZ

By Ruth Hill

The number of jobs going or gone at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has more than doubled to 286, up from 111 reported in March, it has confirmed.

Public servants' jobs are on the chopping block as the sector scrambles to meet the Finance Minister's cost-cutting targets.

MBIE employs 6650 staff and further cuts were possible, it said. 

A spokesperson said the 111 staff to go were in the first round of voluntary redundancies.

A further 175 full-time roles were disestablished between December 2023 and March this year. 

MBIE has completed its first round of voluntary redundancies, with 111 staff already gone. Photo:...
MBIE has completed its first round of voluntary redundancies, with 111 staff already gone. Photo: RNZ
Corporate services deputy secretary Richard Griffiths said the ministry was "actively managing" the size of its workforce.

"The removal of 87 of these roles was as a result of implementation of stop work notices, function disestablishment and legislation repeal."

Formal change processes were under way to cut the workforce further. It includes those in the Digital Data and Insights Group (DDI) and Te Whakatairanga Service Delivery group's branches of employment services, and engagement and experience.

"These proposals are subject to the formal consultation process. As these are active change processes we are not in a position to provide a confirmed number until final decisions have been made."

Applications for a second round of voluntary redundancy for those not in scope during an initial one closed this week with decisions to be made by April 15.

"Further formal change processes are likely as we work to streamline and achieve further efficiencies," Griffiths said.

"MBIE is taking a measured approach to workforce reduction across our organisation.

"Retention of the appropriate levels of specialised skills and capability will enable us to continue to deliver to the scale and breadth of the government's work programmes and maintain service delivery to New Zealanders."

Losses in arts sector 

RNZ understands the Ministry for Culture and Heritage is set to lose 18 percent of its workforce.

Under the proposal put to staff last Friday, the number of roles would be cut from 184 to 150. Of those, 23 were already vacant and there would be 11 redundancies.

The ministry, which leads government work in the arts, heritage, broadcasting and sport sectors, has asked for expressions of interest in voluntary redundancies.

It has been approached for comment.

In another blow for the arts, the Film Commission was also believed to be facing job losses.

Cuts were also expected to be announced at the Department of Internal Affairs on Friday. 

Yesterday, the Department of Conservation announced a proposed restructure with a net reduction of 130 jobs.

Next week would also be a big one, as announcements were likely from large government departments the Ministry of Education on Monday and Oranga Tamariki, slated for Wednesday.