Election 2023: Christopher Luxon warns Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment could see 30pct cut under National

Christopher Luxon has again refused to say what specific areas of the public sector he will cut under a National Government.  

It isn't the first time Luxon, the National Party leader, has done this. Last Sunday he refused to answer Newshub's questions on what was off the table. 

National unveiled its tax policy last month, which was aimed at helping the "squeezed middle" through tax cuts.  

To pay for its tax cuts, National needs to find $594 million a year to slice out of the public service, which equates to a 6.5 percent cut in spending across the organisations.

Luxon told AM on Wednesday National would go through all the agencies and stop the "dumb, stupid wasteful stuff".  

When pressed by AM co-host Ryan Bridge about which departments could be on the chopping block, Luxon said it included everyone.  

"Everybody can be looking at it because we don't want more farewell parties. We don't want Prezzy cards that [the Ministry of] Justice is handing out to people who go to court," he said.  

"We don't need a whole bunch of wasted money that's going on. We want everybody to go through, particularly in the back-office functions, and then we want in the cases of health and education, we want that money that's going to be generated from the backroom savings put forward to the front line." 

When asked if Crown Law, the Serious Fraud Office and the Ministry of Justice could be included, Luxon said it includes all the agencies.  

Luxon told AM the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) could "absolutely" be up for a 30-percent cut. 

"That'll be up for the CEO to determine but I am going to deliver a 6.5 percent savings out of the sum of those agencies and there are large agencies if you think about MBIE, as I just said, $500 million, you've got to say what are we getting for it," Luxon said.  

"The brief to the CEO will be pretty simple and I've done this a lot in my previous business life, you say, you're going to deliver the savings. You've got to stop filling vacant jobs." 

When asked by Bridge again if voters have to "vote and hope" National won't cut into front-line services too much, Luxon told AM he doesn't want "endless" communications staff.  

"I've said I would increase spending on health and education to protect frontline services but what I'm not up for is endless communications consultants, lots of back-office functions, people not focused on outcomes," he said.  

"I want everybody in the public service going to work this morning knowing what they're there to do. At the moment, they are not clear about that and they need to be clear because that's how we improve outcomes for New Zealand."

Luxon told AM all the "good things" around front-line services will be "safe".  

"Things that have real value, that are actually delivering frontline services to people, we are saying we want those protected," he said. 

"I want every CEO of every agency to be spending money as if it's their own and being responsible about that. With respect to [the Ministry of] Justice, we have to do a couple of things. We actually have to extend court hours and we have to embrace technology more to get through the court backlog that we've got going on."  

Watch the full interview with Christopher Luxon in the video above.