Mō mātou | About Us

Te Ratonga Tūmatanui | The Public Service

What does it mean to work in Aotearoa New Zealand’s Public Service?

The Public Service Act 2020 describes the purpose of the public service:

“The public service supports constitutional and democratic government, enables both the current Government and successive governments to develop and implement their policies, delivers high-quality and efficient public services, supports the Government to pursue the long-term public interest, facilitates active citizenship, and acts in accordance with the law.”

Public servants believe in the ideal of public service. They believe in serving our country and fellow New Zealanders. People sign up to the public service because they want to make a difference.

The fundamental characteristic, and driving force, behind the public service is acting with a spirit of service to the community.  The spirit of service is what unites our public service. It’s about being motivated by something bigger than ourselves; a higher purpose. It’s coming to work every day wanting to make a difference for New Zealand and the communities we serve.

Public servants uphold long-held public service principles that guide their work:  politically neutral, free and frank advice, merit-based appointments, open government and stewardship.

Common values underpin our work: 

  • impartial - we treat all people fairly without favour or bias 
  • accountable - we take responsibility for our work, actions and decisions 
  • trustworthy - we act with integrity and are open and transparent 
  • respectful - we treat all people with dignity and compassion and act with humility, and; 
  • responsive - we understand and meet people’s needs and aspirations.

The Public Service is committed to strengthening the Crown’s relationship with Māori under Te Tiriti ō Waitangi | the Treaty of Waitangi. Under the Act, public service leaders are expected to develop and maintain the capability of the public service to engage with Māori and to understand Māori perspectives.

The Public Service needs to reflect the communities it serves. We are working to make the Public Service a more attractive and inclusive place for all. Chief executives of agencies are required to build, foster and support diverse and inclusive workplaces.

Public servants are at the forefront of the biggest challenges facing the nation. We work together as one, a unified public service, to tackle complex issues and deliver services. We work hard for New Zealanders every day, often in challenging circumstances. Many on the frontline have tough jobs that they do without expecting any thanks.

Public servants are dedicated and passionate about making a difference every day.  It’s what we call the spirit of service and it is alive and well in Aotearoa New Zealand’s Public Service.

Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission

The role of Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission is to provide leadership and over-sight of the public service and ensure the purpose of the Public Service Act is carried out.

The Commission upholds long-held public service principles that guide the work of public servants:  politically neutral, free and frank advice, merit-based appointments, open government and stewardship.

The Public Service Commissioner is the Head of Service and provides leadership of the Public Service, including the performance and integrity of the system.

The Commissioner ensures public service agencies work as one system to deliver better services and better outcomes for the public.

The Commissioner promotes integrity, accountability and transparency across the public service, including setting standards and issuing guidance. The Commissioner is responsible for appointing public service chief executives, issuing a code of conduct for public servants and investigating poor performance in the public sector.

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