Friday, April 12, 2024

Biosecurity to bear brunt of MPI job cuts – PSA

Neal Wallace
Union fears more redundancy rounds will follow.
The latest research by BLNZ and the MIA shows New Zealand red meat exports have benefited substantially from concluding FTAs, with tariffs reducing by 47% between 2010 and 2022.
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Biosecurity faces the biggest impact of pending job losses at the Ministry for Primary Industries with a net loss of 131 roles, according to the Public Service Association.

The union said other hard-hit sections are agriculture and investment services with a net loss of 80, policy and trade 52, NZ Forest Service 27 and Māori partnerships and investment 14.

This follows news that the MPI has started consulting staff on proposals that will see 384 jobs lost as it aims to trim its workforce by 9%. Around 40% of those roles are currently vacant and will not be filled.

The coalition government has asked the MPI to find savings of 7.5% in the coming financial year.

The MPI says 1100 new staff have been employed in the past five years.

PSA national secretary Duane Leo described the government’s funding cuts requirement as reckless and putting New Zealand’s export industries at risk.

“The roles that are being lost equate to about 9% of MPI’s workforce. That’s a big chunk to take out of the important biosecurity, farm animal disease control, food safety, fisheries, forestry and animal welfare work MPI is responsible for,” Leo said.

He fears further redundancy rounds will follow.

The MPI played a central role in supporting rural communities in the aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle and in eradicating Mycoplasma bovis, Leo said.

Data released by the PSA reveals the proposal is a mix of job losses and not filling vacancies, with some new positions being created.

Biosecurity will have a net loss of 131 positions with 162 roles being cut, of which 31 are vacant, and 31 new roles will be created.

Agriculture and investment will suffer a net loss of 80 with 115 roles cut of which 32 are currently vacant, and 35 will be created.

The net loss in policy and trade will be 52, with 77 roles disestablished of which 29 are vacant, and 22 will be created.

The net loss at the NZ Forest Service will be 27, with 35 being cut although there are 15 vacancies. Eight roles will be created.

The proposal is for a net loss of 14 roles within Māori partnerships and investment, with 24 cut including 10 vacancies, although 10 will be created.

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