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State Sector reform bill introduced

Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman
Minister of State Services

30 August 2012 Media Statement

State Sector reform bill introduced
The State Sector and Public Finance Reform Bill has today been introduced in parliament, says State Services Minister Jonathan Coleman.

“This is an omnibus bill which amends the State Sector, Public Finance and Crown Entities Acts to provide the legislative grunt to deliver better public services,” he said.

“The amendments create a range of public sector management tools to foster an innovative, efficient public sector to deliver better identified results for New Zealanders,” he said.

“This year marks the 100th anniversary of New Zealand’s public service and the strengthening of the legislative framework is well timed,” he said.

The proposed changes provide for;

• government agencies collaborating more and organising themselves around results.
• government agencies sharing functions and services, purchasing goods and services, and developing systems together in order to leverage the scale and expertise of the State sector.
• greater financial and reporting flexibility and the provision of more meaningful performance information to Parliament.
• stronger leadership at the system, sector and departmental level to achieve the desired change in the performance of the state sector.

The State Sector and Public Finance Reform bill is expected to have its first reading over the next few weeks, with an intention for it to be considered by Finance and Expenditure select committee.

More information on the Government’s Better Public Services reforms, including the pre-introduction Parliamentary briefing provided to other parties and the Cabinet papers and decisions approving the legislative proposals, can be found at:


Fact sheet – Better Public Services legislation changes

The proposed changes to the State Sector Act 1988 will:

• Strengthen the State Services Commissioner’s role in leading the state services.
• Extend Chief Executives’ responsibilities to consider the collective interests of government and longer-term sustainability, rather than focusing on single departments or agencies.
• Add a new organisational arrangement – Departmental Agencies - to the options available for delivering public services. These operational agencies will be set up within a department to carry out a specific function and their chief executive will report directly to a minister.
• Improve governance across the system.
• Ensure the State Sector Act is modern, flexible and generally fit for purpose.

The proposed changes to the Public Finance Act 1989 will:

• Clarify Chief Executives’ responsibilities for strategic financial management and stewardship.
• Improve financial flexibility to support innovation and different ways of working within government.
• Provide more meaningful information to Parliament about what the government is spending and achieving.
• Encourage more strategic reporting on future intentions, and reduce related compliance costs.
• Specify the governance regime for Public Finance Act Schedule 4 companies.

The proposed changes to the Crown Entities Act 2004 will:

• Support sector-wide leadership by strengthening the alignment of Crown entities.
• Support leadership of particular functions across entities by expanding the scope for the use of whole-of-government directions.
• Simplify, streamline, and improve planning and reporting provisions.
• Formalise the role of the monitoring department and the Minister of State Services’ ability to request information.
Improve the operation of the legislation.

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