Leaked survey shows disillusionment in Foreign Affairs

Press Release – New Zealand Labour Party

Plummeting morale in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and disillusionment with its leadership and direction will damage New Zealand’s interests, says Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesman Phil Goff.Phil GOFF Foreign Affairs Spokesman

15 January 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT

Leaked survey shows disillusionment among Foreign Affairs staff

Plummeting morale in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and disillusionment with its leadership and direction will damage New Zealand’s interests, says Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesman Phil Goff.

Mr Goff today released a confidential survey of the Ministry’s staff commissioned by Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) itself.

“The survey shows the Ministry’s staff are becoming significantly more disengaged, their confidence in their leadership has plummeted, and they are worried about the direction of the organisation,” Phil Goff said.

The key points of the survey are that confidence in leadership has dropped by 8 per cent since 2010, and is 10 per cent below the State Sector benchmark. The sense of the Ministry being a good place to work has dropped by a similar amount. The survey also shows that employee engagement has dropped sharply since 2010 with a significantly smaller proportion of engaged and significantly larger proportion of disengaged than in other state sector organisations.

“Increased disengagement will result in a higher staff turnover, wasting the valuable investment we make in our foreign affairs staff. Based on the figures provided by the company which did the survey, it could mean an extra annual cost to New Zealand of around three million dollars.

“From being the highly motivated and effective ministry it was, Foreign Affairs and Trade has become an unhappy place to work. Employees accept the need to find efficiencies and savings, but have no confidence in how it is being done.

“The random slashing of a fifth of the ministry’s workforce is taking cost-cutting and ideology too far and could end up costing us dearly,” Phil Goff said. “We risk losing trade opportunities and access and becoming more isolated.

“At the very time that we are striving to become a member of the UN Security Council for 2015/16 we are reducing our capacity win election to that body, and will be seen as less engaged in and committed to the international community.

“The safety net provided to New Zealand travellers by our consulate services will also be diminished. Kiwis facing traumatic experiences abroad, such as hospitalisation or imprisonment, will no longer be able to rely on consular visits from a New Zealand representative,” Phil Goff said.

“The changes being promoted by Murray McCully and the National Government will undermine the effectiveness of Foreign Affairs in the vital role it plays in promoting New Zealand interests and our trade.

“The proposed cuts could end up costing New Zealand rather than saving us money,” Phil Goff said.

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ENDS

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