State Sector Overhaul Progresses

by Desk Editor on Tuesday, June 25, 2013 — 10:00 PM

The largest overhaul of the state sector since 1988 has completed its second reading in Parliament.

State Services Minister Jonathan Coleman said Labour’s David Cunliffe and the select committee had taken a constructive approach and it was important the far sweeping changes in the State Sector and Public Finance Reform Bill had bi-partisan support.

Changes had also been made after a constructive interchange with the Public Service Association.

Coleman said the bill would give new tools to the State Service Commission, Ministers and the wide public service allowing agencies to work with each other and take a cross sector approach to issues and policy.

Chief Executives would have greater ability to delegate powers to those outside the public service, and there would now be a new organisational structure working across agencies.

Labour’s David Cunliffe said he offered rare congratulations to the Government for working with Labour to get to a position where they could support the bill due to its amendments.

The bill might not be flashy but it was important as it set the rules by which the public sector would run under.

The bill as introduced would have trampled over the employment rights of public servants and had been changed to satisfy Labour and the unions concerns.

There were still some concerns including about the redundancy provisions and the broad ability for a chief executive to delegate powers, however these and others were matters to be watched for possible future amendment and not enough to oppose the bill’s progress.

The Greens opposed the bill saying it did not go far enough to protect public servants.

NZ First Leader Winston Peters mocked the bill as “technocratic jargon” and “mumbo jumbo” that would deliver no benefit to the public. The bill would also lead to the politicisation of the civil service, he said.

The bill completed its second reading by 95 to 25 with Greens, NZ First, Maori Party and Mana opposed.

Earlier The Local Government Bill completed its third reading on a voice vote.

MPs completed the second reading debate on the Resource Management Reform Bill by 63 to 56 with National, Maori Party, ACT and Peter Dunne in favour.

MPs also completed the second reading debate of the Public Finance (Fiscal Responsibility) Amendment Bill by 74 to 42 with National, Greens, Maori Party, ACT and Peter Dunne in favour.

The House rose at 10pm interrupting the first reading of the Local Government (Auckland Council) Amendment Bill (No2).

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