The number of permanent staff employed in New Zealand's public services increased greatly, but unevenly, during the 20th century. Two of the largest exceptions to the pattern of steady growth occurred just after the Second World War, when the number increased dramatically to cope with the needs of returning servicemen and their families, and from 1988, when a change in government economic and social policies resulted in a sharp drop in the numbers of public servants. The smaller drop in 1973 represents the transfer of public hospital staff to district health boards.
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Source: Alan Henderson, The quest for efficiency: the origins of the State Services Commission. Wellington: State Services Commission, 1990, pp. 397–398