11 December 2019

Our 2019 WeCount survey aimed to explore the diversity and inclusion of Public Service rainbow employees and use this information to better understand and support all people in New Zealand.


We recognise that as New Zealand’s Public Service, we need to value, reflect and understand the communities we serve. Diversity is a driver of innovation; it improves decision-making, productivity and retention of staff[1]. Inclusive organisations foster a culture where employees can bring their whole selves to work without feeling the need to change aspects of themselves to fit in. Inclusion means moving beyond overcoming discrimination to actively working on ways that people are included for who they are. Through both diversity and inclusion, we can create visibility and proactively reinforce the sense that ‘if I can see you, I can be you’.

The WeCount 2019 survey was developed by the State Services Commission (SSC) and the Cross-Agency Rainbow Network (CARN) to explore both the diversity (who we are) and inclusion (how we are) of our rainbow[2] public service employees. Inclusion has many indicators. The WeCount 2019 survey tool used ‘comfort at work’ and ‘ease at being out’ as indicators of inclusion. To measure the full workplace inclusion of rainbow public service employees would require a much broader range of variables than possible in this survey.

This report shares the main findings and themes that were collected through the survey. Some direct quotes have also been used to highlight some key points[3]. All the information that was gathered in the survey is useful to us; it helps us to understand the current landscape, what we should do more of and what we need to change.  

Thank you to those who participated in this survey. This information helps us to better understand the opinions, thoughts and feelings of our Rainbow community. We strongly believe that ensuring inclusion for members of our own Rainbow community enables the public service to better support all New Zealanders.

[1]Bourke, J., & Dillion, B. (2018). The diversity and inclusion revolution: eight powerful truths. Deloitte Review(22); Merelo, G. (2019) Workplace Diversity Case Model. Diversity Works.

[2]Rainbow is an umbrella term used to describe lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual and others with diverse sexualities and gender identities.

[3]Please remember that support is available to you. You may choose to contact your HR representative for in-work support or if you are more comfortable contacting an external network, support can be found at OUTline NZ on 0800 668 5463, the Ministry of Health helpline on 1737 (text or call) or the PSA Rainbow Support Network on 0508 367 772.