Supporting the Government to develop and implement policies and follow lawful instructions from ministers to the best of their ability and irrespective of their own political opinions.
In serving the government of the day public servants must be politically neutral. Maintaining political neutrality helps to manage potential for conflict between the Public Service policy role and the government’s decision-making and advocacy role. The convention supports public servants to impartially implement government policies and follow lawful instructions to the best of their ability, and irrespective of personally held political beliefs.
Public servants have the same rights as other New Zealanders. This means that being politically neutral at work does not generally stop you from being politically active outside of work. However, it’s important that public servants use good judgement, and that any political interests or activities are identified and appropriately managed.
Political neutrality matters because it:
- allows public servants to maintain the trust of ministers
- allows public servants to serve successive governments as part of a permanent, career-based Public Service, which preserves capability and institutional memory
- maintains public confidence in the Public Service, independent of the government of the day.