NZ public servants may be sent to work in China

Last updated 05:00 09/08/2012

The Government was looking at the opportunity to sell public services to countries.

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Public servants could be contracted out to other countries under a proposal being considered by the Government.

Nelson MP Nick Smith went to the United Arab Emirates to discuss work on the development of an environmental standards agency for the Gulf country.

The Government was looking at the opportunity to sell public services to countries where New Zealand had particular expertise.

"It makes sense for us to be able to retain the high skills and the foreign exchange earnings from their good systems and staff," Dr Smith said.

He highlighted China and Middle East countries such as the UAE, as potential markets.

He was in the UAE a month ago to discuss the potential for helping it set up an environmental standards agency.

Though it was early days, there had been an exchange of letters on furthering the relationship.

Public Service Association national secretary Brenda Pilott said that using the public service in an advisory role was not uncommon, but this was different as it was a large money-making venture.

"It does seem ironic that at a time when the Government is running down the public service and taking out valued expertise and capacity, it is willing to consider using it to make money."

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