Tā te Kaikōmihana tirohanga | Commissioner’s overview

The mission of the Public Service is to support current and future governments to implement their policies and to deliver high-quality and efficient public services that New Zealanders expect and rely on. Fundamental to this is a Public Service that acts with a spirit of service to the community.

As New Zealanders’ needs and priorities change, so must the Public Service change. This annual report details the work done over the past year to improve our ability to respond and adapt to change. A common theme is learning to work even more as a single, unified Public Service rather than a series of relatively discrete agencies.

Excellent service and tangible assistance are reciprocated in the trust and confidence New Zealanders, and Government, place in us. The New Zealand Public Service is, by international standards, extremely well regarded by the public. More than anything, it is our strong record of delivery that underlies this high regard. For public servants motivated by the spirit of service, this trust and confidence is hugely significant and, in itself, rewarding.

This report further covers the work the Public Service is doing to develop a stronger common Public Service identity and to ensure high standards of conduct and behaviour. This is vital if we are to remain worthy of New Zealanders’ trust and confidence.

The report also outlines the work the Public Service is doing to support the Government in its relationships with Māori. This is an example of the Public Service ensuring that we are delivering on our constitutional role and also adapting to changing expectations of how we operate now and in the future.

People are always at the heart of public services. Their skills and motivations matter. It also matters that New Zealanders see themselves reflected in the Public Service. We have been working to ensure that Public Service people are diverse, reflecting the make-up of society, and that our workplaces support this with inclusive cultures and practices. This is part of earning the trust of New Zealanders.

The enactment of the Public Service Act in August 2020 represented a milestone not just in the year but in the development of the Public Service for the future. The new statute updates and modernises the legal framework for the Public Service, makes explicit the ethical basis for our work and provides a range of new tools and leadership roles to ensure that the Service is best placed to meet the needs of New Zealanders into the future.

We report on the activities of the Public Service Fale (the Fale) located within Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission (the Commission). It is a pleasure to be able to host this unit and, in this way, to give support and assistance to our Pacific neighbours and our Pacific public service colleagues.

This report shows the progress that has been made on leading change in the Public Service over the past year. It is a story of both continuity and change: continuity in the underlying direction of change towards ensuring greater trust, better services and improved outcomes for New Zealand; change in the continuing challenge of our country’s COVID-19 response and recovery; and change also in the challenge of using to best effect the new tools that Parliament has given us in the Public Service Act 2020.

As Te Tumu Whakarae mō Te Kawa Mataaho | Public Service Commissioner, my job is to lead the Public Service to deliver better outcomes and services that meet the changing needs and priorities of New Zealanders. I am proud to lead a Public Service that holds this mission and purpose at the centre of everything it does and the thousands of Public Service employees who bring a spirit of service to their work every single day.

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