A guide for public servants on matters of integrity and conduct

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa, welcome to He Aratohu. He Aratohu puts the expectations for integrity and conduct in the Public Service, into one easily accessible resource.

He Aratohu is a composite of two words ara and tohu. Ara is a route, path or course. Tohu are symbols, signs, distinguishing features or directions. An aratohu is a pathway that has been scouted and the distinguishing features marked to make the journey of the traveller safer. He Aratohu identifies important resources that help the Public Service navigate issues of conduct and integrity.

The resources available include the expectations set by Te Tumu Whakarae mō Te Kawa Mataaho, Public Service Commissioner through the Code of Conduct (including the separate Codes of Conduct for ministerial staff and Crown entity board members and Directors of Public Finance Act 1989 Schedule 4A companies), model standards and guidance either issued by Te Kawa Mataaho or endorsed guidance provided by another organisation.

As public servants, we and our agencies have a duty to uphold high standards of integrity and conduct. New Zealand’s public sector is in the privileged position of having high levels of public trust and confidence. However, this shouldn’t be taken for granted. We need to keep behaving in a way that retains the faith of Ministers, Parliament and people of New Zealand, or we will lose our legitimacy and undermine the credibility we need to do our work. We must be able to show we are trustworthy, that we act in the interests of the people in New Zealand, and never for our personal gain.

Please note: this is the first step in the evolution of He Aratohu. The Code of Conduct and model standards are currently issued under the State Sector Act 1988 and continue to reflect previous language. Further editions will provide updated language, including a refreshed Code of Conduct that aligns with the principles and values set out in the Public Service Act 2020. In the meantime, this version contains all current material.

He Aratohu consists of:

The standards of Integrity and Conduct (otherwise known as the Code of Conduct) sets out the minimum standards of conduct all public servants are expected to follow. A breach of the Code may result in disciplinary action.

Model standards set out the Public Service Commissioner’s minimum expectations on specific integrity areas.

Additional guidance to support public servants and agencies to maintain appropriate conduct on a range of integrity matters.

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