Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Kathy Dunderdale says her government will not announce any more public sector layoffs until this year's provincial budget is released, because of the stress the cuts are causing.

167 public sector layoffs of mostly temporary and contractual workers have been announced in the past week or so, including almost 100 on Thursday.

"We're making a conscious decision to stop this now until we get to the budget and then we can lay it all out and people can see where we are," said Dunderdale.

Dunderdale said the province's budget could be announced within a couple of weeks.

When that happens, Dunderdale said she expected the number of layoffs to be fewer than 500 in total. In addition, vacant jobs in the public service will not be filled.

Former premier defends his government's spending

Meanwhile, former premier Danny Williams said Friday he would not pass judgment or second-guess any of the decisions Dunderdale's cabinet is making.

Williams got to enjoy several budget surpluses when he was premier of Newfoundland and Labrador from 2003 to 2010.

Speaking on Friday with CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show, Williams defended his government's decision to spend heavily on infrastructure and jobs when it had the money.

"We came in, we had a government that was nearly bankrupt. We had a province that was completely devoid of proper infrastructure, roads deteriorating, schools deteriorating, hospitals deteriorating. We spent it because we had to do it," said Williams.

"We got through the tough times of the recession. and as a result, everyone will tell you right now,  Newfoundland and Labrador is a much better place," Williams said.

"So sometimes you have to pay and then you have to pay it back at other times too, and that's what's going on now."