Chief Executive Statement

Mā whero, mā pango ka oti ai te mahi – With red and black, the work will be complete
Photo of Renee Graham, Chief Executive of the Social Wellbeing Agency, showing her head and shoulders.

Tēnā koutou katoa,

The whakataukī above is about collaboration, in particular, collaboration between agencies and with communities to address complex issues. The Social Wellbeing Agency works for the social sector, supporting social sector leadership with strategic advice on issues that don’t fit neatly into the work of any single agency.

We have a new focus on the wellbeing of individuals, whānau and communities so that they can live the lives to which they aspire. This means our advice is not solely about optimising government spending but about optimising the wellbeing of New Zealanders.

To date, our foundations and strength have been in data and analysis. This reflects our early focus supporting the centralised provision of tools and data capability to support decision-making. For example we have successfully facilitated safe and secure data sharing between 10 government agencies and 42 non-governmental organisations with the Data Exchange.

In late 2019, Cabinet made decisions to refocus our role and functions. Since these decisions, we have put more emphasis on how our data, analysis and insights can inform decisions by social sector leadership and cross-sector programmes of work.

Much of the work over this past year has been carried out against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and its ongoing effects on the Government and New Zealand as a whole. Despite the pandemic, our people have shown resilience and flexibility in meeting their commitments to our work programme while supporting our partners’ initiatives.

As the 2020/2021 financial year draws to a close, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the former Chief Executive, Dorothy Adams, for her work in setting up the Agency for success and her leadership over the past four years. Her departure at the end April for her new role at the OECD is a wonderful acknowledgement of her skills and dedication.

Our refocused purpose allows us to redefine our work programme and direction, putting a much greater emphasis on our role providing advice on issues that cut across or fall between agency responsibilities. My objectives for the coming year are to develop a work programme that aligns our work with our purpose, enhance the visibility of what we do and our achievements, and partner with social sector agencies to improve outcomes for New Zealanders.

Staff at the Agency work here because they want to make a difference. I look forward to working with them and our colleagues from across the Public Service to realise our vision that people, whānau and communities live the lives to which they aspire.

Ngā mihi nui


Renee Graham

Chief Executive

Social Wellbeing Agency

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