Each Public Service department and departmental agency has a chief executive, appointed by the Public Service Commissioner. Public Service chief executives are responsible to a minister for the performance of their agency. They also have responsibilities to protect the integrity and role of the Public Service, and to work across the system to improve ways of working.

The role of Public Service chief executives is governed by the Public Service Act 2020 and the Public Finance Act 1989. Under this legislation, each chief executive has responsibilities to their minister or ministers, including for:

  • the performance and operation of their agency
  • providing advice to ministers
  • implementing the policy and programmes of the Government of the day
  • developing and maintaining the capability of the public service to engage with Māori and understand Māori perspectives
  • promoting diversity and fostering workplaces that are inclusive of all groups.

In their role, Public Service chief executives support and assist their ministers to be accountable in Parliament. Annual reports of Public Service agencies are presented in Parliament, and chief executives may appear before Parliamentary select committees to review their department’s expenditure and annual reports.

Public Service chief executives are responsible to the Public Service Commissioner for:

  • ensuring their agency upholds the public service principles
  • preserving, protecting, and nurturing the spirit of service to the community that public service employees bring to their work.

High-performing Public Service chief executives are essential to the delivery of quality outcomes for New Zealanders through their agencies. Together, chief executives have committed to build a strong and diverse workforce, unified around a spirit of service and capable of working across agency boundaries to better serve New Zealanders. 

Current Public Service Leaders