Saturday, April 27, 2024

David Farrar: Hipkins wrong

Newshub reports:

Labour Party leader Chris Hipkins has stood by increasing the public service workforce during his time in government, saying it’s been proportionate to the growth in population.

The Coalition Government has directed the public services to cut costs by between 6.5 and 7.5 percent to help reduce annual public service spending by $1.5 billion. It’s resulted in thousands of jobs proposed to be axed across the sector.

The National Party has said it is trying to restore “financial discipline” with its cuts to the public service because the number of staff has ballooned under the previous Labour Government.

Since Labour came to power in 2017, the number of public servants has increased by roughly one-third, up just under 18,500 to a total of 65,699 full-time equivalent staff at the end of 2023.

However, Hipkins said the increase in public sector jobs was in response to New Zealand’s rising population. According to Stats NZ, New Zealand’s population has increased from just over 4.76 million at the end of 2016 to 5.3 million at the end of 2023.

That is a 33% increase in public service numbers compared to an 11% increase in population. So when Hipkins says the growth has been proportionate he is wrong, or you can use a term that rhymes with flying.

Hipkins said the increase in government spending over the last six years under Labour has been proportionate to the increase in population and increase in pressure the public services have been under.

Government spending was $78 billion in 2017 and $140 billion in 2023. That is a massive 79% increase.

“The size of the public sector workforce relative to the overall size of the workforce is actually slightly less than it was when we first became the government,” he said.

Again not true. The HLFS show the proportion of the workforce in public administration and safety went from 5.6% to 6.9% from 2017 to 2023. If he is talking about the entire public sector then he is not talking just public servants but also doctors, nurses, teachers etc. That is a red herring. Few if any say we don’t have enough of those.

“The country is not broke. We have actually got some of the lowest government debt levels in the OECD,” he told AM co-host Lloyd Burr.

Actually 15 OECD countries have lower gross debt. And for net debt, Michael Riddell shows us:

Click to view

So we are not near the bottom at all.

He said New Zealand was in a “difficult part in the economic cycle” and now is not the time for tax cuts.

A chocolate fish for a reader who can find anytime Chris Hipkins has said the time is right for tax cuts.

David Farrar runs Curia Market Research, a specialist opinion polling and research agency, and the popular Kiwiblog where this article was sourced. He previously worked in the Parliament for eight years, serving two National Party Prime Ministers and three Opposition Leaders.


Robert Arthur said...

i just hope Luxon does not engineer such a depression that the Left surge back. Grim prospect in itself but the inevitable accompanying maori control woud spell the end of NZ as a desirable country to live in.

Anonymous said...

NZ's young and bright professionals are already deserting NZ in droves and taking their skills and energies to Australia (a record 44,000 in the year to Feb 24) so disheartened and sick are they of what NZ is today. They and those already established in Australia will encourage ever more young NZers to migrate there until NZ becomes a country fit only for the old and for the losers. Too late imo for NZ I am afraid.