56 There are several general, machinery of government, criteria that can be used to assist with evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the various options for NZFSA. From the viewpoint of ensuring that the institutional arrangements operate efficiently and effectively, the following criteria have been considered:
- Clear accountabilities must be maintained. Without clear accountability, incentives to deliver against the Government's desired outcomes are diminished.
- Roles and responsibilities must also be clear. If they are not, there is greater risk of gaps or duplications in service delivery.
- The structural arrangements should promote effective decision making and enable achievement of the Government's desired outcomes. This means assigning decision making responsibilities to those who have the best information and right incentives to consider the options and make the right trade-offs.
- The arrangements should promote efficiency and effectiveness; that is, decision making should lend itself toward selecting the right mix and level of outputs (effectiveness) and further that those outputs are produced with no waste of resources (efficiency). Much of the work of NZFSA and Biosecurity NZ has a strongly technical and scientific element. This requires input from specialist personnel the availability of which is relatively scarce. Accordingly, there is even greater onus than normal to ensure that resources are utilised as effectively as possible.
- The arrangements should also be cost effective. Costs in this context include both the costs incurred by MAF and NZFSA as well as costs imposed on others including compliance costs for industry.
- Risks should be effectively managed as part of achieving the Government's objectives (which is not to say that there should be no risk).
57 In addition to these criteria that apply generally across all machinery of government issues, there are other criteria that have special significance in the context of the work undertaken by NZFSA and MAF and which link to the achievement of Government objectives:
- maintain an effective, credible and respected regulatory framework and environment governing food and related products. This is critical to NZ's ability to trade internationally and to maintaining public confidence around domestic food safety, and
- maintain an effective emergency response management framework. This is also critical to NZ's ability to trade.