In 2018/19, Public Service agencies spent a total of $914.2 million on contractors and consultants.  This was a small increase of 1.6% on the 2017/18 spend of $900.2 million. This year’s data includes two new government agencies - The Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and departmental agency Te Arawhiti – which combined spent $15.1 million.  Total expenditure comprises operational expenditure of $617.4 million (up 5.0% from $588.0 million in 2017/18) and capital expenditure of $296.8 million (down 4.9% from $312.2 million).

Operational expenditure on contractors and consultants was 12.8% of total Public Service workforce spend ($4,829 million), a reduction from the benchmark of 13.4% set in 2017/18.  This reduction was due to contractor and consultant operating expenditure increasing at a slower rate over the past year than total workforce spend (up 9.6% from $4,404.1 million).  This measure represents the balance between using external resources and building capacity and capability in the public service.

Contractor and Consultant Expenditure ($ million)

  FY2017/18 FY2018/19
Agencies OPEX CAPEX Total OPEX CAPEX Total
Crown Law Office $1.1 none $1.1 $1.0 $0.0 $1.0
Department of Conservation $11.5 $1.2 $12.8 $13.7 $0.6 $14.3
Department of Corrections $12.1 $32.1 $44.2 $18.4 $41.1 $59.5
Department of Internal Affairs $27.1 $31.4 $58.5 $33.0 $24.3 $57.3
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet $3.2 none $3.2 $2.2 none $2.2
Education Review Office $0.9 $0.0 $0.9 $0.7 none $0.7
Inland Revenue Department $124.7 $70.3 $195.0 $136.8 $69.1 $206.0
Land Information New Zealand $26.3 none $26.3 $13.0 none $13.0
Ministry for Culture and Heritage $1.3 none $1.3 $2.7 $0.1 $2.8
Ministry for Pacific Peoples $0.6 none $0.6 $1.0 none $1.0
Ministry for Primary Industries $32.0 $5.2 $37.2 $52.3 $3.6 $55.9
Ministry for the Environment $17.7 $0.0 $17.7 $12.5 none $12.5
Ministry for Women $0.7 none $0.7 $0.6 none $0.6
Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment $80.7 $14.3 $95.1 $76.5 $22.2 $98.7
Ministry of Defence $2.2 none $2.2 $1.4 $0.5 $1.8
Ministry of Education $56.1 $76.0 $132.1 $63.0 $84.0 $147.0
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade $17.1 $5.8 $22.9 $19.1 $4.3 $23.3
Ministry of Health $24.1 $3.7 $27.8 $18.1 $7.2 $25.3
Ministry of Housing and Urban Development       $12.8 none $12.8
Ministry of Justice $25.4 $11.2 $36.6 $25.5 $5.2 $30.7
Ministry of Maori Development $14.6 $0.5 $15.1 $13.2 none $13.2
Ministry of Social Development $20.0 $49.0 $69.0 $25.7 $20.3 $46.0
Ministry of Transport $5.6 none $5.6 $7.8 $0.7 $8.5
New Zealand Customs Service $11.6 $7.6 $19.3 $7.7 $9.6 $17.3
Oranga Tamariki-Ministry for Children $23.9 none $23.9 $25.9 $0.2 $26.1
Pike River Recovery Agency $0.5 none $0.5 $1.6 $0.6 $2.1
Serious Fraud Office $1.0 $0.7 $1.7 $0.7 none $0.7
Social Investment Agency $5.7 none $5.7 $5.3 $0.3 $5.6
State Services Commission $1.4 none $1.4 $2.2 none $2.2
Statistics New Zealand $30.7 $0.7 $31.4 $12.6 $1.0 $13.6
Te Arawhiti—Māori Crown Relations       $2.3 none $2.3
The Treasury $8.1 $2.4 $10.6 $8.1 $1.9 $10.0
Total Public Service $588.0 $312.2 $900.2 $617.4 $296.8 $914.2

Note that 2017/18 figures for some agencies have been revised since they were first published in 2019. The impact of these revisions is small, with the previously published figure for total Public Service expenditure being $899.3 million. 

Public Service expenditure on contractors and consultants data for the 2017/18 year was the first to be published using new SSC guidance on how to report contractor and consultant expenditure.  Before the new guidance, there was inconsistency in how agencies were reporting their contractor and consultant expenditure. 2017/18 expenditure is therefore the benchmark for future comparisons, and comparisons with preceding years are not possible.  

The focus is on operational expenditure, as the large one-off investments that capital expenditure typically represents are likely to have a different mix of public servants and contractors/consultants and the resulting expenditure is likely to be volatile over time due to the fixed-term nature of these projects. 

Definitions:

Operating expenditure (OPEX) – this is the money spent for contractors and consultants that are not for the purpose of acquiring or developing assets.

Capital expenditure (CAPEX) – this is the money spent to acquire resources to develop assets, tangible and intangible, through procurement of contractors and consultants.

Total workforce spend is defined as the sum of salary expenditure for permanent and fixed-term employees, and operational expenditure on contractors and consultants.

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