Our Public Service is changing to improve the way we work, what we prioritise, who joins and who leads.

International comparisons tell us we’re world-leaders in areas like responsiveness to government, effectiveness and integrity.

But we need to do better to keep up with the rapid technological advances we’ve seen in recent years. Consumer technology such as online shopping and smart phones have also fuelled increased public expectations of the Public Service. We need to change to meet the expectations of the people we serve.

The Public Service Reforms will help us find new ways to deliver the joined up services New Zealanders have told us they want from agencies using public money to deliver public services for public good. We will do this by:

  • creating a modern, agile and adaptive Public Service
  • affirming the constitutional role of the Public Service in supporting New Zealand’s democratic form of government.

Following public consultation in 2018, Cabinet has decided to repeal the State Sector Act 1988 and replace it with the new Public Service Act as part of the wider Public Service Reform programme.

There are five major areas in the new legislation that will enable the Public Service to join up services around New Zealanders’ needs, secure public trust and confidence and ensure it remains well placed to serve New Zealand in the future. They are:

  • A unified Public Service
  • Te Ao Tūmatanui ‒ Strengthening the Māori/Crown relationship
  • Employment and Workforce
  • Leadership of the Public Service
  • Organisations of the Public Service

A Public Service Bill was introduced to Parliament in November 2019. It is now before the Governance and Administration select committee and is expected to be reported back to the House at the end of April. Public servants are also able to make submissions – guidance is available on our website.

As part of the regulatory change process, Cabinet requires agencies to undertake an analysis of the impact of the proposed changes and provide the impact statement for Cabinet consideration. This helps ensure that the proposed reforms are as effective as possible.

Read the State Services Commission’s impact statement on the State Sector Act reform.

Read Cabinet decisions about Public Service reforms.

Read more information in a series of factsheets created for public servants.

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