Diversity and Inclusion in the Public sector

We recognise that as New Zealand’s State services, we need to value, reflect and understand the communities we serve.

To do this, we are growing our leaders and our talent to produce a more diverse and inclusive workforce and workplaces. We will work alongside other government agencies to collaborate on diversity and inclusion issues, as well as support chief executives in delivering a diverse and inclusive State sector.

Developing a more diverse workforce is not just about ethnicity. Diversity involves gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, education, national origin, and religion. Diversity encompasses a broad spread of experience, culture, perspective and lifestyle of those who live in New Zealand.

Similarly, developing State services that are inclusive ensures our people and the people we work with and for feel valued, supported, and respected. We are committed to building a culture where New Zealanders can achieve their full potential.

Our priority work

Our priorities are developing the following areas, so that we can meet the future and current needs of New Zealanders better:

  • leadership and talent
  • flexible work initiatives
  • diverse and inclusive recruitment and supply
  • inclusive workplaces
  • Communities of Practice
  • information and analytics.

We are working to develop specific initiatives for each of the above priorities.

WeCount 2019

As a first step towards formally understanding our broader public service rainbow community, the WeCount 2019 survey was developed and implemented by the State Services Commission and the Cross-Agency Rainbow Network (CARN). For more information on the work, survey and findings, follow the link to Inclusion and our Rainbow Public Service.

Using pronouns

Getting peoples’ pronouns and names right is one way to make our workplaces and delivery of services more respectful and inclusive. We acknowledge the impact that using pronouns in email signatures, on LinkedIn or in introductory meetings has on making more respectful and inclusive environments for everyone. For more information on how to use pronouns correctly and how to add them to your email signature follow the link to ‘Pronoun use in email signatures’.

Supporting disabled people in the workforce

Collecting data about disabled colleagues helps us understand and meet people’s differing needs in the workplace, helping ensure our workplaces are inclusive and equitable. Consistent and quality data collection helps agencies and the system track progress over time, contributing to a greater understanding of the total workforce, so we continue to value, reflect and understand the communities we serve. In consultation with disabled people, State service agencies and the Heads of HR working group, SSC developed guidance for collecting disability information on the State services workforce. For more information follow the link to Information Standards and Guidance.



As part of our work towards ensuring a more diverse and inclusive State sector, we have developed a number of resources, often in collaboration with others.

These resources include:

  • Workforce Data - This annual report provides a snap-shot of the people who make up the Public Service. There is also some additional information on timely topics, including diversity and inclusion, flexible working, and leadership development.
  • Accessibility Charter - The Ministry of Social Development has introduced an Accessibility Charter for the Public Service. The Charter follows the Chief Executives’ Disability Masterclass held in early 2018 and is part of the Papa Pounamu Diversity and Inclusion Work Programme. By signing the Accessibility Charter, chief executives confirm their agencies’ commitment to ensuring that all information is accessible and interactive for everyone, regardless of their needs.
  • LEAD Disability Toolkit - This toolkit has been developed by the Ministry of Social Development, with the support of SSC. It aims to assist Public Service employers to create more inclusive environments for employing more disabled people.
    • Mental Health Foundation: mental health in the workplace toolkits
      • Mental Health in the Workplace – Employee
      • Mental Health in the Workplace – Manager
      • Mental Health in the Workplace – Organisation

This toolkit has been developed by the Mental Health Foundation with support from SSC and other Public Service agencies. It aims to improve the capability of agencies when it comes to working with mental health issues.

  • Positive Workplace Behaviours - The Positive Workplace Behaviours guidance has been developed in collaboration with the Public Service Association (PSA) and provides good practice examples to State services on how the standards of integrity and conduct should be applied at agency, leadership and staff levels.

Diversity and Inclusion Network

We co-ordinate a Diversity and Inclusion Network for people from the State sector to discuss key diversity and inclusion issues, share best practice, and keep informed of new initiatives and resources.

The Network aims to meet every two months, and covers a wide-variety of diversity topics.

The Network helps to shape the work we are doing around ensuring our State services have New Zealanders’ current and future needs at the centre.

Our key partners

We partner with a range of lead agencies from across the Public Service, as well as organisations from beyond the Public Service to progress our work on diversity and inclusion:

  • Office of Ethnic Communities - The Office of Ethnic Communities is the focal point within government on valuing and including ethnic communities.
  • Ministry for Women - The Ministry for Women is the government’s principal advisor on achieving better outcomes for women in New Zealand.
  • Ministry for Pacific Peoples - The Ministry for Pacific Peoples is the Crown’s principal advisor on policies and interventions that improve outcomes for Pacific peoples.
  • Te Puni Kokiri - As the name implies, Te Puni Kokiri seeks to harness the collective talents of Māori to produce a stronger New Zealand.
  • Office for Seniors - The Office for Seniors is actively promoting a society where people can age positively, be supported in their communities, and have the same opportunities as everyone.
  • Statistics New Zealand - Although Statistics New Zealand does not have a direct focus on diversity and inclusion, the information they steward informs better decision-making around diversity and inclusion.

This webpage will develop over time as our work on diversity and inclusion in the Public Service progresses.

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