State sector legislation passes Third Reading

  • Jonathan Coleman
State Services

The State Sector and Public Finance Reform Bill passed its Third Reading in Parliament today.

State Services Minister Jonathan Coleman says the legislation represents the biggest transformation to the public service in a generation.

“This legislation gives the public service new tools and increased flexibility to drive forward change,” Dr Coleman says.

“It will foster a public service focused on innovation, providing high quality services, managing change effectively, and delivering value for money. The Head of State Services, Iain Rennie, will have the powers to ensure this happens.”

The legislation changes will enable the public service to deliver better public services for New Zealanders and to ensure more effective and efficient results. 

“The Better Public Services Results update published recently show the Government is making good progress on these challenging targets, and agencies are working together more effectively,” Dr Coleman says.

“However, there is a long way to go to deliver the improved services that New Zealanders expect. We need agencies to continue to find ways of working to deliver better value and results.”

The legislation, which received bipartisan support in Parliament, amends the State Sector, Public Finance and Crown Entities Acts.

“I acknowledge the contributions made to this legislation and I am pleased that it has bipartisan support,” Dr Coleman says.

The amendments passed today mean that:

  • There will be more flexibility to move funding and talented leaders to where they can make the biggest difference; 
  • State Services Commissioner has greater responsibility for developing the capability and capacity of senior leadership, and in setting the terms and conditions of Chief Executives;
  • Chief Executives have greater powers to delegate functions, including to non-government organisations where appropriate;
  • Responsibilities of Chief Executives extended to consider collective interests of government and longer-term sustainability;
  • Option of using a new operational ‘departmental agency’, set up within a department to carry out a specific function to deliver effective and efficient services;
  • Improved financial flexibility to support innovation and different ways of working within government.

The Government is already co-ordinating efforts across departments in areas such as procurement, ICT and property management.  

The Property Management Centre of Expertise was, for example, set up to manage public sector office accommodation in a more efficient way, saving an estimated $110 million a year in three to four years’ time.