Ministry of Health proposes 134 job losses as Government makes cuts

By Jemima Huston for RNZ

RNZ understands the Ministry of Health is proposing to cut 134 jobs to meet the government's demands to reduce costs.

NZ Doctor reports the ministry needs to reduce spending and is expected to slash its budget by $78 million between 2023/24 and 2024/25.

Over a quarter of all positions could be directly affected.

Ministry of Health staff are meeting on Thursday and Friday to discuss the proposal. Consultation will close on 26 April and a final decision will be made in June.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Social Development is expected to contact staff about voluntary redundancy options on Thursday morning.

Next week the Department of Conservation and the Department of Internal Affairs will announce their plans for cuts, and the following week Oranga Tamariki will do the same.

The Public Service Association earlier said Ministry of Health cuts would mean the country would lose vital expertise when it needed it most.

The PSA represents about 400 ministry staff and national secretary Kerry Davies said such a big cull was heartless and cruel.

It could also destabilise the health system, she said.

"A lot of these people have been working for the ministry and formed very strong bonds - particularly during the Covid period, giving their all to meet the demands of that pandemic crisis for New Zealand," she said.

"The work that is needed to prepare for the health needs of the country - that's really serious, important work. It's the backbone of the health system."