There will be more cuts in the number of public servants, but the Government is not willing to say how many more jobs will be lost.

It was announced today that 130 jobs would be going from the Health Ministry, as the Government released updated figures showing nearly 1500 jobs had gone across the core state sector.

The health ministry is looking to reduce full-time positions to 1390 by the end of this financial year and to 1290 by July next year.

The ministry currently has around 1420 full-time equivalent staff.

In October last year, the Government said as many as 500 jobs could go across the ministry and district health boards with a National Health Board established within the ministry, overseeing IT, payroll, procurement and logistics.

Deputy Prime Minister Bill English said the reduction in civil servants showed the Government was sticking to its plan of maintaining spending during the recession and then bringing the lid down from July this year.

"All these government organisations have had time to think about two things. One is how to provide better services to the public, because the public still wants better service and second is to make them more efficient."

Mr English said he would not guess about how much the public service might shrink overall, though most of the bodies are facing three to five years of budget freezes.

"Each entity is different. In some area numbers have actually gone up, police and Corrections. In other areas in some departments there is room for more efficiencies than others."

State Services Minister Tony Ryall today released final figures for last year, showing a drop in the number of people working in government administration.

National campaigned on reducing the bureaucracy and set a cap of 38,859 positions which included the core agencies and a number of others such as the Tertiary Education Commission. At the end of last year, the number of positions was down to 37,379.

Mr Ryall said Labour let the bureaucracy run out of control and in nine years the public service grew by 50 per cent.

Full-time public servant positions had reduced by 480, but front-line workers such as prison officers, who were not included in the cap, had increased by 540.

The figures were for the 2009 year and were slightly up on figures released in September, showing full-time public servant positions had reduced 1402 while front-line positions increased by 173.

Mr Ryall said had Labour been in government numbers would have increased.

"As many government departments adjust to no or little extra funding over the next few years, we would expect to see further reductions in these staffing numbers."

Labour Party state services spokesman Grant Robertson said the cap figures were a public relations exercise.

"They created a definition of core government administration and excluded some departments because they knew those departments were going to grow," Mr Robertson said.

"I think National has made a great play of wanting to make creation of jobs and protection of jobs a priority yet they have personally overseen the loss of nearly 1500 jobs. They are real people, with families, and they have been suffering."

Mr Robertson disagreed the service would have grown under Labour.

"No one would have expected a huge growth in the public sector during a recession but what we've seen here is much more than that it's a reversal of the Government's promise to cap, not cut, the public sector and you can't have these kinds of cuts without them undermining the services that New Zealanders get."

- NZPA