Name of New Department Released

  • Bill Birch

Minister of Employment Peter McCardle is pleased to announce the name of the organisation formed from the integration of the NZ Employment Service, Income Support, Community Employment Group, and Local Employment Co-Ordination Unit.

It is to be called the WORK AND INCOME AGENCY.

Its Maori name will be MANAAKI TANGATA.

Although that will be the trading name in dealings with the public, for official purposes the legal name for inclusion in the State Sector Act will be the Department of Work and Income.

The Agency will come into operation on October 1, alongside the introduction of the Community Wage.

Mr McCardle said: "The name fits the role of the new organisation perfectly. It is clear and simple, and reflects the direction of the Government's employment and welfare reforms. It also expresses the Government's belief in the importance of work in achieving personal, economic and social independence.

"Manaaki Tangata" conveys the message of "helping people", and captures the essence of the new organisation, without encouraging or implying dependency.

"The change process which will result in the Agency being up and running on October 1 is well underway, and on schedule. I am looking forward to other key elements of the public face of the Agency - such as the graphics, logo and other design elements - being released soon. I am confident they will express visually the character of a dynamic, forward-looking organisation.

"The selection of a new Chief Executive is underway, and a similar process has begun to choose the 13 Regional Commissioners and the executive team. These positions have been advertised in newspapers today and over the weekend.

"The Commissioners will have a key role in driving the Agency at a regional level. They can have the autonomy to come up with initiatives to tackle the unique issues in their area. The Government believes that local solutions are the best way of tackling employment issues in each part of the country.

"Putting more control into local hands is essential, as is establishing close relationships with local communities. Those principles are core parts of the Government's Employment Strategy.

"The Transition Team managing the change process is forging ahead with the major organisational changes needed by the new Agency, which will be one of the largest departments in terms of staff numbers," Mr McCardle said.

"Most current staff, the majority of whom are in frontline positions, are being transferred to the Agency. The final structure of the new organisation is still being established, so it is not possible to say at this stage what the staffing requirements will be. Consultations with staff are continuing over that structure.

"However I believe the outcome will be a dynamic organisation that will provide a more effective service for our clients."