Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


In pursuit of State Sector Performance

28 February 2008


Immediate Release

In pursuit of State Sector Performance

The public sector has made performance gains since the reforms of the 1980s, but needs to strive continually for improvement, Secretary to the Treasury John Whitehead told a symposium in Wellington this afternoon.

In a speech entitled “Continuity and Change: The Ongoing Pursuit of State Sector Performance,” Mr Whitehead said public sector performance was of fundamental importance because of its economic implications and its effects on New Zealand’s economy, and suggested some areas of particular focus.

“While New Zealand’s existing arrangements have delivered good gains, public sector performance is still mixed, and there is scope for improvement in most agencies, particularly in the area of achieving results and more value-for-money,” Mr Whitehead said.

Mr Whitehead said that while it is important to examine the role of the public sector management system in improving performance, big gains can also come from the players within that system – how they behave and how they operate within the system.

"There are fundamental principles of the system that we need to maintain, and others that need to be further embedded. System fundamentals, such as the Official Information Act, political neutrality, the provision to Ministers of free and frank advice, and public service professionalism needed to be fiercely protected, and nurtured.

“Embedding recent and future changes, including the Crown Entities Act 2004, the review of accountability documents and working more closely with individual agencies and sectors are all things we need to do to continually improve".

Mr Whitehead said there were three areas that were worth exploring further in a bid to lift the public sector’s performance and produce better outcomes for all New Zealanders.

“As a first step, there is scope to look at performance incentives and the behaviour of the players and agencies in the system. Secondly, we need to put performance into a longer-term frame – to allow the development of enduring and sustainable long-term policies. Thirdly, we need to give greater effect to a whole-of-government collective approach, and leadership within the public sector.

“We have every right to celebrate the gains of recent decades. The public service has become more responsive and innovative, and delivers better services. However, public expectations are such that better is not good enough, and there are some service quality problems. The answer is not easy but … we all have a responsibility to achieve better performance and value for money in service provision,” Mr Whitehead said.

The full text of the speech is online at:


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Not Easy: Gordon Campbell On The Greens’ Ongoing Problems

Hard to treat the Greens’ belated decision to stand a candidate in Ohariu as being anything other than a desperation move, by a party whose own leadership is evidently concerned about its chances of survival...

A few months ago, the Greens felt able to forego that role in Ohariu in order to help a beleaguered Labour Party get its candidate Greg O’Connor across the line, and knock Peter Dunne out of the parliamentary frame. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On DHB Deficits And Free Trade

Currently the world is looking on aghast at the Trump administration’s plans to slash Obamacare, mainly in order to finance massive tax changes that will deliver most of their gains to the wealthy. Lives will be lost in the trade-off. Millions of Americans stand to lose access to the healthcare they need... More>>

Greens' Response: Slum-Like Rentals Exposed In Renting Review

“...The grim findings of the review are a wakeup call about the true state of rentals in this country. Too many renters are festering in slum-like conditions under the thumb of landlords who have largely unchecked powers and ignore tenants’ complaints when it suits them.” More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Life And Times Of Peter Dunne

The unkind might talk of sinking ships, others could be more reminded of a loaded revolver left on the desk by his Cabinet colleagues as they closed the door behind them, now that the polls in Ohariu had confirmed he was no longer of much use to National. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Labour’s Campaign Launch

One of the key motifs of Ardern’s speech was her repeated use of the phrase – “Now, what?” Cleverly, that looks like being Labour’s response to National’s ‘steady as it goes’ warning against not putting the economic ‘gains’ at risk. More>>


Lyndon Hood: Social Welfare, Explained

Speaking as someone who has seen better times and nowadays mostly operates by being really annoying and humiliating to deal with, I have some fellow feeling with the current system, so I’ll take this chance to set a few things straight.. More>>


Deregistered: Independent Board Decision On Family First

The Board considers that Family First has a purpose to promote its own particular views about marriage and the traditional family that cannot be determined to be for the public benefit in a way previously accepted as charitable... More>>


Transport Policies: Nats' New $10.5bn Roads Of National Significance

National is committing to the next generation of Roads of National Significance, National Party Transport Spokesperson Simon Bridges says. More>>





Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election