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State Services Commissioner Welcomes Report

State Services Commissioner Welcomes Standards Board Report

Media Statement From The State Services Commissioner

The State Services Commissioner, Michael Wintringham, has welcomed the report of the State sector standards board. The Minister of State Services, Trevor Mallard, released the report today.

"The board has recognised that the foundations of the State sector are sound. Fifteen years after major reform, we still have a system that is among the best in the world.

"The questions that we face are less about the way the State sector is organised and more about the way in which we do things".

Mr Wintringham said: "Many New Zealanders have the impression that public officials have become preoccupied with efficiency and the demands of management, at the expense of the spirit of service.

"I do not agree. The vast majority of officials have the highest personal and professional standards.

"But, to the extent that there is a problem with our current system, it is that devolution and fragmentation have made it harder to share core values and take collective and coordinated action in dealing with some of the big problems that face New Zealand. The job is to hold onto the benefits of our reforms, but emphasise shared values and get the benefits of collective and coordinated action."

Mr Wintringham said that, to achieve this, the Board underlined the need for a stronger role for central agencies, particularly the State Services Commission.

Mr Wintringham said that the Government had asked him to report in June on practical steps to strengthen the role of the Commission.

"My proposals will draw on work the Commission has under way as well as some further steps I have in mind."

Mr Wintringham particularly welcomed the Government's decision to issue its own statement of commitment to the State sector.

"Few Governments are willing to go that far", Mr Wintringham said.

"This statement amounts to a formal and public recognition by Ministers that they and officials are united by the common aim of serving New Zealand. To achieve that requires a working relationship based on trust as well as statute and contractual relationships".

Mr Wintringham also welcomed the statement of expectations that the Government will issue to State sector agencies. "This will provide clarity, that has been lacking to date, and will help make working relationships between Ministers and the State sector more effective."


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