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MPI job cuts threaten biosecurity: union

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 12/08/2016

Proposed cuts to staff at the Ministry for Primary Industries would decimate its compliance team and hurt response to biosecurity threats, the public workers' union says.

The Public Service Association says MPI is looking at axing up to 49 jobs, including 30 in the compliance team - which is about 15 per cent of its workforce.

National Secretary Glenn Barclay said there were "grave concerns" about the impact those cuts could have on services.

"The proposed cuts will hit fisheries, animal welfare and food safety - and will damage the Ministry's ability to investigate and respond to risks like a foot-and-mouth outbreak or a fruit fly infestation," he said.

"Cuts to the compliance directorate could swamp the remaining staff with work, meaning that fewer checks are performed and biosecurity risks will increase as a result."

He asked for the Ministry to explain why it thought the cuts were necessary.

"The State Services Commission has told MPI it should not attempt further restructures, and we really need to hear why the Ministry is ploughing on regardless."

Comment has been requested from the Ministry.

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