Christopher Luxon says it's 'encouraging' to see reported cost cuts at MBIE

Incoming Prime Minister Christopher Luxon believes the reported cost cuts at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) are "good" and applauds them for a change in thinking.  

An email leaked to Stuff from MBIE chief executive Carolyn Tremain to staff sets out some cost-cutting measures that may be on the table, including a 15 percent reduction in discretionary spending, a voluntary redundancy process and getting rid of $27 per person funding for end of year functions. 

MBIE insist the cuts were down to savings targets imposed by the outgoing Labour government and being mindful of the cost of living crisis.

It comes despite the three incoming parties for the new government – National, ACT and New Zealand First - all campaigning on getting rid of "wasteful spending" and "bloated bureaucracy". 

Luxon was asked about the cuts on AM on Monday morning and told the show he thinks "it's good".  

"I think it's good that the CEO is registering to be responsible with money and that's coming actually from the current government who also issued cost savings across the public service and that's very much where that's coming from," he said. 

Luxon told AM co-host Melissa Chan-Green he was pleased to see a change in the thought process of government departments. 

"What is encouraging about that is there is a bending of their minds to understand, 'Look, we need to get value from every dollar that's being spent' and so ultimately whatever is decided is up for CEOs," he said.  

"These large organisations are quite capable of making those decisions without input from the Prime Minister." 

One area reportedly being cut is $27 per person of funding for end-of-year functions.  

When asked about this, Luxon said he wants Kiwis to have "modest" end-of-year functions but didn't want to comment on what's an appropriate level for them. 

"I don't think I want to be the Grinch that Stole Christmas for people. I think we can have modest end-of-year celebrations for Christmas. But ultimately, that's a decision for each CEO to make for the government departments," he told AM.  

"I don't know what they do, what their tradition is. That's ultimately a decision for the CEO. By the time a Prime Minister is commenting on what's the right level of Christmas party celebrations or end-of-year celebrations, that's the wrong conversation for me to be in."  

When pressed if he would set a budget for National's Christmas Party, Luxon wouldn't say.  

"I really want everyone to understand if I'm going to spend my time getting into the level of detail about what's the appropriate appropriation for Christmas parties when we have big CEOs, we have bureaucracies, the senior leadership teams, those departments, that's a call for them," he said. 

Watch the full moment above. 

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