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Jonathan Coleman

22 November, 2012

Office strategy to save space equal to three Reserve Bank buildings

State Services Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman says a new Public Service property strategy is likely to reduce the office space foot print in Wellington by the equivalent of three Reserve Bank buildings.

Dr Coleman says Cabinet has approved the start of a centralised negotiation for future public service office space in the capital with accommodation leases due to expire for five large government agencies.

The leases due to expire include the Ministries of Social Development, Health, Education and Business Innovation and Employment, and the Crown Law Office.

The Property Management Centre of Expertise based within the Ministry of Social Development has been delegated to lead the negotiation for the accommodation needs.

“This is an example of the Better Public Services Functional Leadership initiative adopted this year,” says Dr Coleman.

“A centralised and co-ordinated approach, instead of each Ministry negotiating its own property space, is a sensible approach,” he said.

The Property Management Centre of Expertise is mandated to negotiate the future leases and also work with agencies on co-location and sharing facilities.

“It will be a big step in mitigating the rapidly rising property costs the Public Service faces,” says Dr Coleman.

A business case presented to Cabinet indicated a reduction of the office footprint in Wellington of 30 per cent will save $338 million over 20 years, which is a 20 per cent reduction in cost compared with the status quo baseline.

“An excellent example of what can be achieved is the State Services Commission. It moved into a different building saving thousands in annual rent, achieved efficiency by sharing back office functions with other agencies, and provided a more pleasant modern work environment for staff,” said Dr Coleman,

“The Property Management Centre of Expertise leadership ends the situation where different government agencies effectively bid against each other for office space driving up the cost to the taxpayer,” said Dr Coleman.

The Centre will aim to bring a Ministry into a single building or in a cluster with similar agencies, ensure work environments are safe and comfortable, and offer better furniture and ICT solutions. It will also achieve savings from co-ordinated purchase of property related services such as maintenance and cleaning.

Cabinet has approved the start of commercial negotiations and a final proposal on Wellington’s public sector office space will be put before Ministers for approval early next year.

  • Jonathan Coleman
  • State Services