Government sets public sector 5-year targets

  • Bill English
  • John Key
Prime Minister Deputy Prime Minister

Prime Minister John Key and Deputy Prime Minister Bill English today announced a set of ambitious targets the Government has set for the public sector to achieve over the next five years.

“These targets are central to the Government's plans to create a public service that is more innovative, enterprising, driven, and focused on results,” Mr Key says.

These measurable targets, which will be reported on regularly, sit underneath the 10 challenging results the Government announced in March for the public sector to achieve over the next five years.

“It’s about delivering what New Zealanders really want and expect from their public services. These targets are not a wish-list – they are a to-do list,” Mr Key says.

“We want to get further traction on difficult issues like reducing crime, reducing long-term welfare dependency and reducing educational underachievement.

“Some of these targets are very aspirational – in fact, some of them will be extremely difficult to achieve. But I make absolutely no apology for having high expectations and wanting New Zealanders to get the most out of their public services,” Mr Key says.

“We want targets that are going to stretch the ability of the public sector to deliver them, and will force change. This is not an exercise in ticking boxes.

“For example, we have set a target to reduce the number of people on a working-age benefit for more than 12 months by more than 20,000 or 30 per cent – from 78,000 to 55,000.”

Delivering better public services within tight financial constraints to New Zealanders is one of the Government's key priorities for its second term. The targets announced today will help deliver that goal.

Mr English, who is leading the Better Public Services reforms with State Services Minister Jonathan Coleman, says this move is about making government agencies work more closely together to deliver the results that matter most to New Zealanders.

“We want to change the way the public sector works so it is more focused and organised around delivering results, rather than just outputs.

“We’re making public sector leaders accountable for achieving things that make a real difference to the lives of New Zealanders, not just managing a department or agency.

“We also want to make it simpler for New Zealanders to interact with government. Doing business with government, and getting information from government agencies, should be easy.

“This is a fundamental shift that requires different thinking. We are not a government that thinks spending more money on something is an end in itself. We are a government that thinks getting results is what’s really important.

“This is also about getting greater efficiency and value-for-money out of our public sector. That’s important because the public sector is about a quarter of the economy so it has a big influence on our overall economic performance.

“Progress towards these targets will be reported publicly so New Zealanders can judge for themselves how well we are doing,” Mr English says.

Some of the targets that sit under these results have been announced over recent weeks, with the remaining targets being announced today. There are 14 targets in total as some of 10 results areas have more than one measurable target.

A minister has been appointed to lead each of the 10 results, and will expect chief executives to demonstrate real progress against them.

Each responsible ministry or department is already working on an action plan for how the targets will be achieved and these will be released over the next few weeks.

More information about the 10 challenging results and the related targets is available online at: