Australia New Zealand School of Government, Executive Masters of Public Administration

  • Tariana Turia
Social Development

I am delighted to say a few words of welcome and of acknowledgment of this very significant day for you all in your study journey.

I want to formally extend a welcome to Gary Banks, the Dean of the Australia New Zealand School of Government  and lecturers on the programme Michael Di Francesco, Zina O’Leary and Claudia Scott. I am also delighted to acknowledge Michael Mintrom, the Course Director of the Executive Master of Public Administration, Tim Wigg and Rosie Colosimo - the programme managers.  

Their dedicated commitment over many years their support and mentorship of EMPA students has made this programme the undeniable success it is. It is indeed fitting to be hosting the Executive Master of Public Administration here in Parliament.

There would be a generally held expectation that Parliament should focus its efforts on the highest quality of leadership and innovation from which to best design the shape of the future. The Executive Master of Public Administration can and should play a vital role in growing the architects, the designers, the tacticians and the strategists required for the public sector equipped for our future.

The post-graduate qualification is designed to assist future leaders to develop the management and policy skills required for today’s world. The question I guess that will be on all of our minds is how will your study be influential in the career pathway that you travel?

I am pleased that Michelle Hippolite the Chief Executive of Te Puni Kokiri, Brendan Boyle, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Social Development, Teresa Wall of the Ministry of Health and so many others who hold senior positions across our government agencies have joined us today, naumai, haeremai.

One of the greatest attributes of the Executive Master programme is that it has been developed in consultation with public sector Chief Executives across Australia and New Zealand.  

In this sense it is both pragmatic and principled - providing a thorough grounding in the theory and practice of public administration while at the same time asking searching questions - encouraging you all to think more broadly about the quality of the public sector you would like to be a part of.

A public sector in which all employees and employers feel a greater sense of responsibility and accountability for their performance across all groups.

In this nation, I truly believe that if we are to achieve results for all New Zealanders, we need a concerted effort to achieve better results for Maori. The implication of such an approach is that success for one will lead to success for all.

I was interested in a similar perspective promoted by Rupert Murdoch in a column a couple of weeks ago entitled Australia’s destiny will be shaped by its people.   In that article, he ended with a thought for today;

‘We must be leaders, not followers. We must be egalitarian, not elitist. We must be victors, not victims. 

It won't be easy.   But the Australia that I know and love has never shied from a challenge.’

Whether it be either side of the Tasman, perhaps that is the ultimate challenge - how do we ensure that our respective peoples do indeed shape their destiny?   Whose voices are being heard?  What peoples are represented in the advice that you put forward?

One of the greatest features of your programme has been the opportunity to benefit from case studies and practical exercises that are delivered by leading academics and guest speakers with extensive government experience.  

This practical experience - talking knowledge into place - has prepared you well to contribute right across the public sector.

I hope that you can see today as a launching pad towards creating a better way of life for all people who call New Zealand and Australia home.

The critical issue now, is how you use the opportunities that have been provided in this programme, to its best advantage.

And I want to end with an idea from Steven Covey, author of the Seven habits of highly effective people.

‘Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success -

Leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.’

During your programme you have acquired a critical understanding of the central concepts in public administration and public management.  

These skills will equip you with a broad view of management, of service delivery, of public policy.

But it will be up to your own unique leadership - your talents, your unique edge - that will guide you in the best way forward.

This is about playing to your potential - shaping a future which is driven by your greatest aspirations.

Within this I want to encourage you over the next few days to take some time out - to really focus on what it is that makes your heart stir - your passions run.  

What is it - or who is it - that inspires you, that drives you to aspire for a greater future?  Use those questions to really focus on how you can make a difference - how you can use your study to its greatest effect.

I wish you all a great time together - and even more so, extend my congratulations for completing the programme.  

May you use your new acquired knowledge wisely as you go forth, taking every opportunity to lead, to learn and to be forever guided by the people who will feel the greatest impacts of your policy creation.