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Auditor-General Submission And Letter Published

Our submission on the Productivity Commission’s interim report A fair chance for all

We have published our submission to the Productivity Commission on its interim report, A fair chance for all – Breaking the cycle of persistent disadvantage. The interim report contains significant findings, discussion, and recommendations about the effectiveness of New Zealand’s public accountability system.

In essence, public accountability is about public organisations demonstrating to Parliament and the public their competence, reliability, and honesty in their use of public money and other public resources. This information has value for central and local government decision-making, Parliamentary scrutiny, and the public’s understanding, support, and trust.

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One of the primary findings in the Commission’s interim report is that the many issues with public accountability system settings are a major barrier to addressing the complex and intergenerational issues associated with persistent disadvantage. In response, the interim report suggests a number of accountability system setting changes, including a wider first-principles review.

We have for some time now been concerned about the state of public accountability in New Zealand. Our recent work suggests that while parts of the system continue to operate well, public sector information and accountability processes are falling short of what is expected by Parliament and the public in the 21st century.

We agree with the need for a wider system review and to tailor system settings where necessary. The challenge is to reshape the public accountability system so that it encourages and supports organisations (within and outside central and local government) and communities to work together towards reducing persistent disadvantage.

You can read our full submission on our website.

Letter to the Chairperson of the Officers of Parliament Committee

When the Auditor-General appeared in front of the Officers of Parliament Committee on 27 October, some members expressed concerns about a lack of transparency and accountability over the spending of public money on new initiatives.

We share these concerns and wrote to the Committee summarising our views. We think better reporting is needed about government spending and what is being achieved with that spending. Comprehensive financial and performance reporting on matters of most interest to Parliament and the public will not happen consistently without legislative change.

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