08 December 2022

In December 2022, the Public Service Commissioner, Peter Hughes, released the first ‘State of the Public Service’ briefing, Te Kahu Tuatini. This 3 yearly briefing highlights the progress the Public Service is making across key areas, stepping towards a vision of a leading edge, unified, trusted Public Service that serves New Zealand and its people.

State of the Public Service Digital (PDF, 8.6MB)

About the briefing

The Public Service Act 2020 put in place new requirements to provide for strong stewardship of the Public Service now and into the future. One of those is the requirement for the Public Service Commissioner to prepare a three-yearly briefing on the state of the Public Service, to sit alongside the Long-term Insights Briefings which have also been introduced.

Te Kahu Tuatini | State of the Public Service, the first report under the Act, provides a comprehensive view of the Public Service and how well it is performing right now.

The report shows that New Zealand’s Public Service stacks up well internationally, and that New Zealanders can trust and have confidence in the Public Service and its work. The report is also clear that there is more we need to do to ensure we are delivering the services New Zealanders want and need, in the way they choose to receive them.

What’s covered

Te Kahu illustrates a Public Service operating with a spirit of service to the community, developing its people and improving its delivery.

It highlights progress, as well as areas of challenge, across key dimensions of Public Service including trust, integrity, open government and Māori-Crown relationship building. The briefing also discusses the size and characteristics of the workforce and reports on progress being made on diversity and inclusion under the Papa Pounamu diversity and inclusion strategy.

Progress to transform and modernise the Public Service is also discussed. This includes ways new tools, enabled by the Public Service Act 2020 (such as interdepartmental executive boards and system leadership roles), are being used to join-up and improve services for New Zealanders.  

 At a glance - Our people

At a glance - Trust and our services

“Today, we can be proud of a world class Public Service: one that enjoys high levels of public trust and confidence, and is focused on delivering better services and outcomes for New Zealanders. But there is more to do.”

– Peter Hughes, Public Service Commissioner

Commissioner’s expectations over the next three years

Te Kahu also sets out the Commissioner’s expectations for the direction of the Public Service over the next three years. These are the things that will help to position the Public Service positively for the future.

Examples include more joining up of digital and face-to-face services around individuals, whānau and communities; more engagement and partnering with communities to develop services they want and that work for them; the Public Service stepping aside if communities can deliver better services themselves; and greater capability to engage with Māori and understand Māori perspectives.

Case studies

The briefing incorporates a range of case studies from across the Public Service and further afield. Together, they illustrate different ways public servants bring a spirit of service to the community in their work. And highlight areas where the Public Service can further improve its delivery in the future.