A cornerstone of New Zealand’s Public Service is its commitment to political neutrality: as an institution, the Public Service avoids any involvement in the political competition between political parties. Risks to political neutrality are particularly acute during general election campaigns.
Each election year, the Commissioner issues election guidance for the public sector. In June 2020, we issued fresh election guidance, outlining the principles and processes that apply to enable the Public Service to do the right thing while upholding the principle of political neutrality. The new guidance covers the rights and freedoms of public servants beyond work, social media use and election-related processes that must be followed. We provided support to agencies in the application of the guidance in the period leading up to the October 2020 election.