Prime Minister John Key says several of Labour's "hug a polar bear" programmes are on the hit-list as the Government tries to cut costs.
Mr Key said his ministers had uncovered several ineffective programmes with the "nicest, friendliest sounding names" during detailed reviews of their departments.
"The 'hug a polar bear programme' will survive. It doesn't matter what recession occurs, it sounds like a really nice name.
"But the reality is if you look below the surface, the hug a polar bear programme might not do that much for polar bears. And if it doesn't, then we shouldn't continue to fund it."
Mr Key would not identify the programmes but said there was a series of them.
One example was the Ministry for the Environment's programme for a carbon-neutral public service, which has been cancelled as part of a restructuring expected to cost 20 jobs.
"It generated a huge number of bureaucratic appointments but a very inconsequential change if any to New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions," Mr Key said.
Great stuff. The core role of the public service is to serve the public of New Zealand. We applaud the pragmatism of the John Key-led government in immediately addressing the millions of dollars of wasteful public sector expenditure promoted by its predeccessor.