IPANZ E-Update - 3 April

Nga mihi aroha ki a koutou katoa

As New Zealanders respond to the challenge of Covid-19, we are overwhelmed by the impressive work of public sector professionals everywhere. The frontline contribution is evident every day on our news feeds. We also know that for everything delivered in extraordinary timeframes — work subsidies being just one of a myriad of examples — many of you will have worked tirelessly to make it happen.

Every time our Prime Minister and Ashley Bloomfield talk to us, I think of the incredible amount of research, writing, analysis and decision-making that it takes from public sector professionals to enable our leaders to perform as they do. IPANZ will continue to seek out and celebrate this dedicated work. It is indeed the spirit of service in action.

We also see this spirit way beyond the public sector. We see it in individual New Zealanders, whanau, neighbours, supermarket check-out staff, businesses of all sizes, food growers and producers, truck drivers, and community services such as foodbanks, shelters and refuges. We can be in awe of the culture of this country which means that this spirit of service shines when it is most needed.

We are trying to find the right balance in our communications, helpful and reassuring for our new working and home situations, and also interesting and thought-provoking articles because life and work go on regardless. Tell us if we have the balance about right for you.

Shenagh Gleisner - shenagh@ipanz.org.nz

Latest News

From Our Public Sector Journal

Our inboxes and newsfeeds are overflowing with Covid-19. We have plenty on that in our e-update too but first, for something different, there’s lots of good reading in the current issue of our Public Sector Journal which you can read here. Here are two of our picks:

Insights not Fluff

The Public Service Legislation Bill has stepped to move the policy focus towards future generations. Chief Executives will prepare long-term insights briefings every three years, but Jonathan Boston writes that the current requirements are inadequate and flawed. These briefings must include:

  • going beyond data and facts to assess the implications of trends, risks and opportunities;
  • free and frank advice about how to mitigate risk, including comment on existing policy options;
  • deep insights about improving public sector stewardship, however politically inconvenient.

Read Jonathan Boston’s brief commentary, but more than this, read the Bill and consider what you will do to build long-term thinking.

Climate Change - A Catastrophic Challenge

Our article on creating climate-resilient communities shows the importance of local and central government professionals working together with genuine engagement with communities. It shines the light on a few trail-blazing initiatives, illustrating:

  • decision-making tools which communities can use alongside officials;
  • real partnerships with the farming community, coupling research with financing and on the ground expertise; and
  • creating supportive frameworks where joint decision-making can occur and be sustained.

The message to all of us is that we will have to work differently to make such initiatives fly. This is very urgent. Can we learn from our response to Covid-19 and apply applicable lessons to the serious challenge of climate change?

Spare a Thought for our Policy Makers

IPANZ wishes to shine the light on the terrific work public sector professionals are doing during the Covid-19 response, including those behind the scenes: challenging the decision-making is with inevitable knowledge gaps; continually thinking both short-term and long-term, and how long this pressure could continue.

Dr Alan Bollard says in a recent article, that, having been in leadership positions through crises such as the GFC and the 9/11 disaster, he thought he knew something about crisis management … however, he believes this crisis is bigger, different and uncharted. He points out that policy makers are carefully navigating their way forward: "We want to keep our intervention options wide and open for long enough to get necessary information, but not too long to miss their impact”.

As Dr Bollard says of the economic policymakers: "spare them a thought”. You can read the full article here.

Communicating About COVID-19

In a time of crisis we can use good messages to provide hope, communicate urgency and bring people together. So to support anyone with a direct or indirect role in communicating about Covid-19, The Workshop has created an exceptionally useful ‘How to Talk about COVID-19’ guide.

It includes evidence-based advice on narratives and messages to help people:

  • respond collectively, putting caring for each other first;
  • understand more deeply the role that public institutions and collectives play in ensuring our shared wellbeing;
  • engage in good decision making based on a respect for best knowledge and science;
  • build better systems that centre on caring for people and the planet to cope with our next crisis.

We encourage you to read it and share it widely.

Being in the Bubble

For a different take on Covid-19 and our responsibilities in that, E-Tangata published an opinion piece from Moana Maniapoto, including a letter to her whanau explaining the importance of staying in our bubbles. The piece gives a good insight into the reality for many families, and how staying in our bubbles relates to tikanga.

Here’s a taste:

“Forget tātou tātou for now. No pinching anyone else’s towels or sheets. Pimp your cleaning and constant hand washing.

Also, we need to ensure that all those kaumātua who are eligible have their flu vaccinations. GPs are still doing them, so ring in and ask. Nan gets her own bedroom too.

Anyone who’s sick gets their own room. That’s going to be tricky for big families in overcrowded houses but we must put a rāhui around any sick whanaunga…..”

You can read the full article here.

Getting Used to Working at Home

With a majority of us now working from home, many will be feeling some overwhelm, disconnection, and exhaustion. It’s perfectly normal as we’re experiencing so much change, including new distractions, new pressures, and an increase in information flow. Forbes published an excellent article helping to explain work from home overwhelm, and how we can reinvigorate. If that sounds like something you need to read, you can find it here.


While we might not be able to get together in the same room for events at the moment, we want you to know that we're fully operational and working (from home) on alternative ways to stay connected, and to keep providing you with opportunities for learning, development and sharing ideas.

We are working on some new ways to deliver events and information virtually, including video content, and will make this a permanent part of our programme. You can expect to see this start as the people that we would like to interview or host our virtual events become available. Please let us know if you have any ideas or suggestions for topics or people that you’d like to hear from, to add to the ideas that we are already working on.


We have been reading articles from the Harvard Business Review. One that caught our attention was an analysis of learning from Italy in its handling of COVID. We can hear the way our politicians and public servants continually adapt as they get your feedback and watch what is happening overseas. So learning is of the essence. We hope you get some insights from this article.

Please Stay in Touch with Us

IPANZ is upping our presence on social media to give you more ways to stay connected 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