Bill English fired up over Government decision to ditch public service targets

Bill English fired up over Government decision to ditch public service targets
Photo credit: Getty

Bill English is back and thoroughly fired up, calling the Government lazy, dumb and misery-serving for deciding to ditch Better Public Service targets in the long run.

Set up under National, the targets set goals in priority areas like health and housing.

Mr English says the decision to ditch the targets means the public service will lose focus on the people and have targets so broad "no one in particular is responsible".

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday: "We will in the longer term absolutely be replacing those Better Public Service targets.

"Our view always has been that those targets didn't give us the systemic change that we need for some of those big issues that the country faces."

She said the Government will set its own targets in areas like child poverty reduction.

Goals included having 90 percent of pregnant women register with a lead maternity carer in their first trimester, reducing serious crime victims to 10,000 per annum, and reducing the number of children admitted to hospital with preventable conditions.

"It's a step backwards to lazy, dumb Government," Mr English said on Tuesday afternoon.

"Those agencies had a clear sense of purpose."

The Government should be "using taxpayers' money to reduce misery, not just service it", he said.

Mr English pointed to increased participation in early childhood education as proof the targets were working.

At the time, that particular target was unpopular with education union NZEI Te Riu Roa, which said the goal to increase participation was driving down the quality of education.