Ministry for Primary Industries plans to cut 384 jobs, Ministry of Health announces major changes

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has announced it's planning to cut 384 positions as it scrambles to find savings demanded by the new Government. 

Just before 1:30pm on Thursday, all staff were sent an email of the proposal. An hour later, meetings will take place to talk through the change process and next steps. 

As part of the upcoming Budget, MPI was asked by the Government to find savings of 7.5 percent for the financial year starting July 1. It's aligned with other government departments which have all be asked to cut spending by similar amounts. 

In an email sent to staff Newshub has seen, the MPI leadership team said it will commence consultation on proposals to reduce its staff numbers by an estimated 9 percent. The ministry said 40 percent of the cuts include positions that are currently vacant.  

"We have grown a lot over the last five years – by more than 1,100 people… This growth has allowed us to be very effective over a challenging period for our sectors, but with programmes now bedding down across the organisation and in the current fiscal environment, we need to make some efficiencies and change the way we operate while still delivering the excellent service and support our sectors require and expect," the email said. 

The ministry is not proposing any reductions to frontline services and statutory roles, such as veterinarians, animal welfare, fishery and food compliance officers, or biosecurity teams at the border.  

The staff have the opportunity to provide feedback until the end of the consultation period on April 9. Following consultation, a final decision will be made by mid-May. 

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health is proposing changes that could affect just over a quarter of its positions, including vacancies as well as disestablishing some positions. 

The ministry has been working through options to find 6.5 percent of savings sought by the Government. 

In a statement to Newshub, Geoff Short from the Ministry of Health transformation management office said a proposal for organisational change has yet to be finalised, however, staff have been provided with indicative timings for an upcoming consultation on a proposal. 

Consultation on proposals for organisational change will run April 5- 26.

Following feedback from staff and any changes to the proposals, final implemented in August.