Written on 23 April 2020 by Peter Hughes

Open letter to public servants

I want to thank you.

You have been at the forefront of the Government’s Covid-19 response effort, one of the biggest challenges New Zealand has ever faced.

I am proud of the way you have risen to the challenge. You did it following the Christchurch earthquake in 2011, the Kaikoura quakes in 2016, the tragedy of last year’s Mosque shootings and you’re doing it again now.

Your response to living and working in uncertain times has been to go the extra mile. You’ve come up with innovative ideas and new responses and solutions to help the Government and New Zealanders get through. 

You are putting in long hours to ensure New Zealanders get the support and services they need.

You’re doing this on the frontline as customs officers protecting our borders, as social workers and case managers helping families, as officials keeping our courts going and as corrections officers in our prisons. No less important is your work as one of thousands of public servants quietly getting on with the job in the background, working from home, to help those who have lost jobs or income. And many of you have volunteered to staff call centres on top of your normal duties.

You have done a tremendous job. Right across the system you have shown how much you care, how you are willing to help and how much initiative and determination you have. 

You also know the threat of Covid-19 is not over. You understand the public service must stay the course. You will be in readiness for the move to Alert Level 3 next week. You expect it to be as challenging as it has been under Level 4. You know there will be obstacles and at times it will be frustrating. But you will keep going. 

You chose to be a public servant because you want to make a difference for New Zealand and New Zealanders. It’s why you come to work every day.

Many of you have tough jobs which you do without expecting any thanks. It is your dedicated service that makes me confident New Zealand will emerge from this crisis in a stronger position.

It is in times of crisis when the spirit of service that unites you as public servants comes to the fore. Your commitment and leadership in these last few weeks have been the embodiment of that spirit of service.

You deserve the respect of all New Zealanders. 

Thank you.

Kind regards,

Peter Hughes
State Services Commissioner


Related Files

Peter Hughes - Open letter to public servants.pdf 199 KB | PDF

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