A list of bureaucrats whose jobs will be axed after the election if National gains a working majority will be published in major newspapers this weekend.
The list contains the names of 3725 state sector employees National says can be removed from their jobs without any effect on their departments’ productivity.
A leaked copy of the list shows it to be comprehensive and specific. It runs alphabetically from Anthony A Aardvark, a 43-year old treasury employee with three children living at 27 Robertson-Pierce Rd in Kilburnie to Zoe Zemestik, a single, 27-year old social worker caring for intellectually handicapped children of 98A Ardmore Terrace Drive, Ponsonby.
The release of the list has been as a result of criticism about the lack of specifics in National’s policy platform of cutting wasteful bureaucracy.
Last night Dr Brash, addressing a rally of 15 party members and 27 journalists at an invitation-only function in Parnell said he was surprised that the list had caused such controversy.
“People have asked us repeatedly for specifics in our policies,” he told his audience, “and now they complain. I am baffled as to what people in this country want sometimes.”
Controversy over the list has been compounded by a statement from the party’s deputy leader Gerry Brownlee.
“I am not going to suggest for one minute that decent, law-abiding, hardworking mainstream Kiwis go round to the houses of these folk and demand to know what it is they do all day, “said Mr Brownlee yesterday.
“All we are saying is that the salaries of any of one these people could pay for two hip operations, keep a day care centre open for a week, and give us the money for a pay rise for nurses.
“Now if people don’t want those things and prefer to keep on lazy pen-pushers then that’s fine. We are just saying that cutting out the bureaucratic fat will allow for these essential services to happen.”
Winston Peters said a cursory glance at the list did nothing to convince him that the National Party were genuinely trying to root out “dead wood”.
“Any serious list would also have taken into account all the Hassams and Ching-Chongs and foreign gollywogs who have been let into this country and are taking the jobs of decent, hardworking, retired senior citizens,” he said.
Speaking to a rally of pensioners and two dogs in the Kakamoana Masonic Hall last night Mr Peters also took a swipe at Catholic fundamentalists “whose way of life of alien to this beautiful and tolerant country“.
“These people -- and even though I don’t understand Latin I can guess what they are saying -- are harbouring extremists in much the same way as the mythical Wooden Horse of Troy harboured Brad Pitt, or was it that other guy who was in Lord of the Rings?”
Dr Bishop Sir Brian Tamaki -- whose church opened its own university in a former state house in Ellerslie this week and awarded him an honorary doctorate in theology and corporate affairs -- said the Destiny New Zealand party would not be drawn into politics.
“All we want is to run this country and bring it back to God. These petty matters like lists are just diversions. If you want to see lists, we’ve got lists. Really long lists. And not just of bureaucrats either. We‘ve got lists of homosexuals and atheists, ballet dancers and Jews, and a really long one of all those bastards in the Serious Fraud Office. Mate, we’ve got lists.”
Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia said she thought the list fair, with the exception of the 1286 people on it who had strong iwi affiliations.
“I know all these people personally and they are all, every single one of them, doing an excellent job within a Pakeha-dominated system which is unsympathetic to their needs as Maori. I will do everything I can to see that they are kept on.
“The rest of them on that list are just bureaucrats standing in the way of tino rangatiratanga so I have little sympathy for them. Once they are kicked out then we can start replacing them with our own people and make some real progress.”
Interim leader of the Act Party Rodney Hide said he had seen the list and while he felt there were at least 274 more names which could be added he was slightly relieved to see neither his name nor the post-election position he had applied for were on it.
“We will be getting Rodney by other means,” said a smirking spokesman for National at a cocktail function in a downtown Auckland hotel last night.
In a sudden deluge of policy announcements Dr Brash also said yesterday that on Monday -- or maybe Tuesday, he’d have to check -- National will release details of its education policy. It will include where the new co-educational schools will be built, who will be allowed to attend them, and what teachers with Labour inclinations would “no way in a fit” be permitted to work in them.