Written on 21 December 2020 by Peter Hughes


Kia ora koutou katoa,

Ngā mihi i roto i ngā āhuatanga i te wā.

It’s been a strange year – easily both one of the most challenging and one of the most rewarding of my career. I’m sure many of you feel the same way.

Obviously the COVID-19 pandemic has cast a huge shadow over 2020, and it has tested us all. But Aotearoa New Zealand has responded strongly, and the Public Service has been at the centre of it all. On top of that, we have dealt with the aftermath of Whakaari | White Island and the Christchurch mosque shootings, as well as stresses of an election. It has been a big year.

The scale and pace we’ve worked at has been incredible. Right across the system, without exception, public servants have stepped up and delivered. You’ve made huge sacrifices to keep serving New Zealanders despite such challenging circumstances. And for that I want to say thank you – tino pai tō koutou mahi.

2020 was a big milestone for the Public Service. Minister Hipkins introduced the Public Service Act, which is improving the way we deliver public services to New Zealand.

The Act enables a more modern and more citizen-focused Public Service, and that’s what we need now more than ever. A Public Service with common purpose, principles, and values, where we work together – joining as public servants. We’ve already had to develop new ways to work together rapidly this year. We’ve had to be innovative. Above all, we’ve shown we care. That’s the spirit of service in action.

The recovery from COVID-19 is going to be long and difficult, and all of us are going to have a role to play. There’s still a lot of work to be done to deliver Government's key priorities, but I think we all deserve a well-earned break. So please do take the time to unwind and enjoy time with your whānau and friends these holidays.

Kia ora rawa atu ki a koutou katoa. Thanks again!

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