A tax department shake-up means thousands of staff could have to re-apply for their jobs or lesser positions.
There are 4200 jobs affected by changes announced by the Inland Revenue Department today as it moves to cut 1500 jobs, slashing its workforce by up to 30 per cent by 2021.
No job cuts were announced in today's reshuffle but an IRD staffer told NZ Newswire it could mean staff losses if people don't want to apply for the new positions, which include a decrease in management roles.
The department's 3300 customer-facing staff would be offered new positions, with some being confirmed straight into new roles, according to Inland Revenue Commissioner Naomi Ferguson.
A further 900 jobs will be replaced by new positions.
"But the makeup of these positions is different with fewer available in management, but more available in specialist roles," according to an IRD statement.
The reshuffle has added 18 specialist roles.
After consulting with staff, the plan is to implement the reshuffle from February 12 next year, pushed back from the original January 1 launch date.
"That gives everyone a bit more time to get through Christmas and New Year but keeps us on track to get all of this in place in time for the implementation of stage two of our transformation in April," Ms Ferguson said.
Staff will be given 15 days, instead of the originally proposed 10 days, to accept new roles.
The Public Service Association, which is representing 3000 IRD employees, said documents released by the department provided "little transparency" about the future of the organisation.
IRD shut down several services on Wednesday to explain the proposal to staff in in meetings.
"There's a lot of vague, corporate rhetoric and the language of restructuring being used by IRD management to hide the very real effects on expert staff," PSA's Erin Polaczuk said.
"Make no mistake - this proposal contains future commitments to reduce IR's workforce by 30 per cent by 2021, and this is the first step in accomplishing that."
IRD currently employs about 5800 staff.
Some have already lambasted the idea that services could remain properly operational with fewer staff.
Labour's revenue spokesman Michael Wood said there was a real risk staff will leave because of the uncertainty, even if their jobs are saved.
"Improving IRD does not require a whole-scale gutting of the organisation and loss of experienced workers," he said.
His party colleague Peeni Henare tweeted it was a "stupid idea [to cut jobs] considering when one waits for over an hour on the phone to talk to somebody".
That was echoed by Taxpayers Union researcher Matthew Rhodes, who said data showed 55 per cent of calls were rejected because IRD did not have enough staff to answer phones.
"The IRD should hold off with its proposed job cuts, until it can promise taxpayers that when they call, enough staff are there to pick up the phones," he said.