Tuesday, March 10, 2009

More slash and burn

last month, the government slashed and burned the Ministry of Social Development. Then they gutted the Tertiary Education Commission. And now they're doing it to the Ministry for the Environment, culling staff and slashing programs:

Environment Ministry restructuring will cost about 20 jobs, Prime Minister John Key said today.


Mr Key told reporters "some minor adjustments" were being made, partly as a result of a 30 percent cut in the ministry's baseline funding which he said was instigated by Labour.

"There will be some job losses but it's less than two dozen," Mr Key said.

To put that in context, MfE "employs approximately 300 staff" according to its 2008 Annual Report, so this is a serious cull. As for Key's claims of a 30% cut in funding, I dealt with them here last month: MfE's apparent budget "hole" is entirely the result of one-off costs and interyear transfers; there was no cut to baseline funding, and its 2009 baseline was planned to be the same in 2009 as in 2007. But from the depth of their cuts, National is planning to change that.

Meanwhile, they're cutting real programs, including the carbon neutral public service and public service sustainability initiatives. In other words, abandoning the public sector's leadership and market influence in this area. This is the petty action of an anti-environment party trying to demonstrate its anti-environment cred to its anti-environment base. And it will be our environment that will suffer.