IPANZ E-Update - 18 March

Kia ora koutou

This week we have decided to suspend our physical events schedule for the next few months and offer a ‘virtual-events’ schedule in its place.

We’ve made this decision to ensure we continue to best serve our members — knowing that many of you will already be reducing in-person social interactions to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

This e-update gives you some context for our decision and what you can expect over the next few months. There’s also a round-up of news and insights including from our recent events and from around the sector.

We have the next issue of the Public Sector Journal coming out later this month, so look out for that. It will be a feast of thought provoking ideas: climate change impact, conversations about principles and values, great ideas from the submissions on the public service bill, engagement with Maori communities, an opinion piece on merit, and digital inclusion, to mention just some of them.

Please keep sending us your comments. We enjoy hearing from you.


Decision to Suspend In-Person Events

We put a high value on face-to-face events and interaction, however it is clear that one of the best ways we can all contribute to slowing the spread of COVID-19 is to limit in-person interactions where possible.

We have therefore decided to suspend in-person events, and will be focussing instead on delivering a virtual programme.

The good news is that we’re well positioned to offer you a virtual programme that continues to support your development — through this e-update, our social media platforms, and video content.

We can’t emphasise enough the importance of staying in regular communication with each other during this challenging time – continuing to engage in constructive conversations and to support each other — and we’ll be contributing to that as much as possible through our electronic communications and virtual events.

If you have thoughts on how we can continue to provide the best possible support to our members at this time, we would love to hear from you. Email Shenagh.

Latest News

The Impact of Social Distancing

If you haven’t seen this short matches video clip, illustrating how social distancing can help stop the spread of COVID-19, we highly recommend it. The animated video, shows a row of matches catching on fire until one steps aside and stops the blaze in its tracks. It clearly shows the power of each individual creating some distance. If you’re still wondering if social distancing is the right thing to do, it’s worth watching.

Technological Change and the Future of Work

The Productivity Commission’s latest inquiry, Technological Change and The Future of Work, is examining the evidence for concerns about possible widespread job disruption through automation technologies.

Its final report is due on 31 March and in the meantime it has released five draft reports and has been sharing ideas and promoting debate through the FutureworkNZ blog.

This topic is highly relevant for all of us and we recommend checking out the draft reports and/or the blog — a couple of posts in particular we found interesting:

  • Debunking Fallacies — Technological Change: NZ’s biggest challenges with technological change are that we are not adopting new technologies fast enough to respond to social, economic and environmental challenges; and we need to be better at helping people to adapt to change and share in the benefits of progress.
  • Bite Sized Learning: There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to micro-credentials and the government needs policies that enable relevant and high quality bite-sized learning opportunities. Micro-credentials complement other learning and offer flexibility and options that can plug knowledge gaps quickly.

An Opportunity for Young Leaders

The Auckland network of our New Professionals, has an opportunity for new people to join their Steering Group.

The network provides a platform for debate, networking and information-gathering for the next generation of leaders, thinkers and policy shapers in the public sector — through organising and running professional development events and networking opportunities, and facilitating career development and mentoring for new professionals.

Being on the steering group is an opportunity to build relationships across the public sector, develop professional and personal skills, and influence the public sector of the future.

If you’d like to know more, please email Breanna Hawthorne, Auckland New Professionals co-convenor.

Addressing Workplace Bullying

We had a lively discussion at our recent panel discussion on bullying, with employment lawyer Steph Dyhrberg, Education Review Office CEO Nicholas Pole, and people and strategy consultant Debbie Francis.

NZ schools have the highest rate of school bullying in the OECD, and the panel talked about how this flows through to bullying in our workplaces too. According to the panel, while many executive teams feel that they have “nailed it,” staff generally disagree.

So what can we do to address bullying?

  • Leadership is the key: modelling, setting expectations and setting the culture
  • The more it is talked about, where everyone in the organisation takes responsibility for calling out bullying, the better it is
  • Policies may be in place but organisations have to lay out explicitly and often what positive behaviours are like
  • People need accessible channels for reporting bullying — HR departments are not enough as they may be regarded as protecting senior managers

Debbie Francis summed it up well with a slide showing “Six things I’ve seen work” to stop workplace bullying (pictured).

We’d also like to hear your thoughts on workplace bullying and how we can contribute to safer workplaces for all. If you have thoughts to share, email Shenagh.

Creating an Inclusive Culture in our Workplaces

At a recent event held with Victoria University of Wellington School of Business and Government, an expert panel discussed with a very big audience, the challenges for New Zealand organisations in creating diverse and inclusive workplaces — along with the immense opportunities that exist.

The discussion highlighted that, while progress is being made, there is still a long way to go.

Key takeaways included:

  • The importance of focussing on improving diversity and inclusion (not just one or the other);
  • Elevating marginalised voices;
  • Encouraging and planning open dialogue that everyone feels comfortable engaging in;
  • Not being afraid of conflict; and
  • The benefits that creating diverse and inclusive workplaces have for businesses, society, and individuals.

Introducing Pasifika Student to Public Sector Careers

Staying on the subject of diversity, The Tupu Tai Pasifika Public Sector Summer Internship programme is an MBIE-led interagency initiative that supports Pasifika students to explore public sector policy careers. In 2018/19, 15 public sector agencies and eight teams within MBIE hosted 32 Pacific interns.

MBIE has been doing a wonderful job of telling the stories of some of the interns, highlighting the need for more Pasifika people in the public sector with a series of videos that are well worth watching — like this one with intern Tayla Sumner. The series is a great example of very engaging public sector communication on an important issue.


As noted above, we have suspended our schedule of in-person events however we are still taking registrations for the following events, and wherever possible will send video content and/or written content on the topics to everyone who has registered, as well as sharing content in future e-updates and on our social media channels.

The Forces Shaping Public Service Culture

IPANZ will be exploring the organisational culture of the public service throughout 2020 — grounding this exploration in the context and drivers which shape our culture. We have two outstanding speakers to start this journey in thinking about the organisational culture of the service in which you work: NZ Transport Agency Chief Executive Nicole Rosie and The Office of the Children’s Commisioner’s Acting Chief Advisor Māori, Dr Kathie Irwin.This session will give you new insights into why things are as they are and how they should or could be, and will enable you to understand and influence this culture.

Find out more and register here.

External Reviews Matter - Preparing and Responding Effectively

This session will explore how the leaders of public sector departments prepare for, co-operate, assist with and respond to external reviews to develop better ways of working.

Two senior public service leaders will discuss the ways they have worked through the review process and the important lessons they have taken from the review process: Secretary for Transport and Chief Executive of the Ministry of Transport Peter Mersi and Chief Executive of Oranga Tamariki, Ministry for Children Gráinne Moss.

Find out more and register here.

Effective Engagement with Māori

Our next Effective Engagement with Māori workshop is scheduled for October in Wellington.

The workshop is designed to help public service professionals gain a greater understanding of Te Ao Māori (Māori world view) and Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and provides practical tools and techniques for effectively engaging with Māori.

Find out more and register here.


Critical Transitions

The Society for Local Government Managers (SOLGM) have produced a thought-provoking document outlining five critical transitions for us all to navigate. The challenge is focused on local government, and communities, but these transitions will impact all public sector professionals and the New Zealanders they serve.

These transitions are to:

  • low emissions living
  • living in a disrupted climate
  • low waste society
  • community interconnectedness
  • learning-empowered communities

For each transition there is helpful information about assumptions which may underpin our current way of operating and how these assumptions need to change. There are some good examples for systems setting required for the future and new ways of doing things.

This does not present simple answers. This publication does a much more important thing. It encourages everyone to question and renew assumptions, put into action different ways of doing things and to develop solutions together. Great work SOLGM. You can read the full document here

What We're Watching

We’ve been thinking lately about unconscious bias, the impact this has in our workplaces and how we can overcome it - and will be talking about this more in future months. In the meantime, we’ve seen some good videos that we’d recommend to anyone wanting to know more about unconscious bias with ideas on how to reduce its negative impact.

Please Stay In-Touch With Us

IPANZ is upping our presence on social media to give you more ways to find out about our events and receive helpful information from us. If you’re not already connected with us, please follow our new page on LinkedIn.

If you found this update useful, please share it with your friends and colleagues. We’re always looking to reach more people with our news, events and insights. If you have friends and colleagues in Christchurch or Auckland, we would be particularly happy to hear from them.

And if you’ve received this update indirectly and would like to sign up to our mailing list, email us at admin@ipanz.org.nz