New Zealand's Public Service today

New Zealand’s Public Service belongs to you, the people of New Zealand, so it’s important it works for you.

The Public Service oversees our health and education systems, issues passports, keeps pests out, collects taxes, keeps our communities safe, protects our heritage and provides help for those in need. It has to keep getting better at how it does all of this.

Today’s Public Service law was written thirty years ago and improved the way individual departments worked for Government and New Zealanders. But times change. New Zealand now needs departments to join up and work together more often, and be quicker and more flexible in how they change to meet new demands.

We can do better by taking a more sophisticated, compassionate and citizen-focused approach that puts the people we serve at the heart of every decision, every time. This includes acknowledging the special relationship between the Crown and Māori.

New Zealanders need a public service that can respond effectively to some of our biggest challenges like child poverty, affordable housing, family violence and water quality. One department, dealing with one part of a problem at a time, can no longer fix complex issues like these which just don’t fit neatly into a box.

While we can sometimes move people and services around to suit the needs of New Zealanders, red tape and rigid rules often get in the way. The Public Service has worked around these roadblocks with some success, but it’s hard to do and hard to sustain. With the best will in the world, we’re not always going far enough or fast enough for citizens.

It’s time to update the State sector and Public Finance laws to make sure our Public Service has the leadership, agility and adaptability it needs to best serve you, the people of New Zealand.


You can read through a brief overview of the proposals here then come back to this page to share your thoughts below.

Related Documents

You can view all the documents related to this consultation including Frequently Asked Questions; PDF versions of the consultation documents and a calendar of consultation events here.


If you have any questions or would like to reserve a spot at one of our consultation sessions, please email us at 

Making a submission

Closing Date

Consultation closes on Friday 12 October 2018.

You are unable to save your answers as you go, so you may prefer to open the proposals in a new window on your browser so you can refer to them.

If you do not have enough time to answer all the questions at one time, please answer what you can, hit the submit button, and when you return, only answer those questions you have not responded to previously.

You can email your submission to

You can send your submission to:

State Sector Act Reform Consultation
State Services Commission
P O Box 329
Wellington 6140

Official Information Act 1982

We intend to publish all written submissions on the SSC website.

Please note also that all submissions are subject to the Official Information Act 1982, and that your submission may therefore be the subject of a request.

If you do not want your submission to be made public, please state this clearly, together with your reasons, and whether your objection relates to your whole submission or to a part or parts of it.  Any personal information you supply in the course of making your submission will be used by us only in relation to the matters covered in this discussion paper. Please clearly indicate in your submission if you do not want your name to be included in any summary of submissions that we publish.

Submissions have closed