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National’s proposed tax cuts causing ‘uncertainty and anxiety’ for public service workers

18 September, 2023

Interview by Joshua Black, adapted by Ashley-Rose Redstone

A union representing public sector workers is concerned about the National Party's proposed tax cuts impacting public services.

The party has pledged to cut spending on government agencies by 6.5 percent, which they claim will save $594 million on average per year, allowing them to provide tax relief to middle-income earners they dub “the squeezed middle”.

Public Service Association National Secretary, Duane Leo, told 95bFM’s The Wire that if elected, National would have to take drastic measures to fund its promised savings. 

“It doesn’t add up. We are concerned there is potential for significant and deep cuts to essential services.” 

National has claimed it is possible to reduce what it calls "back-office" functions in government departments to help pay for its tax cuts, without impacting front-line agencies. 

But Leo argued that many frontline workers rely on the support of their colleagues who work behind the scenes.

"All parts of the public service work together to provide services for people and keep Aotearoa working — whether it’s a policy advisor helping politicians make good decisions or a border protection worker ensuring no biosecurity threats make it into our environment."

Leo warned that services provided by the court system, the Department of Conservation (DOC), and several other government ministries are at risk. 

“It is causing a great deal of uncertainty and anxiety for hard-working public sector workers.”

Listen to the full interview

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air