IPANZ E-Update - 12 May

Kia ora koutou

Opportunities to serve others in times of crisis can be key moments to bridge professional, political and personal differences and bring people together. But we should not forget that crises create but temporary unity. Some of this dissipation of collective effort and unity is revealing itself already.

In the work of public sector professionals, trust will have been gained across and beyond the public service and this could create the foundations for greater collaboration. We are sure much has been gained, and much will be sustained.

IPANZ is aware of those important partners of the public service in the non-government charitable sector, such as the Wise Group — a family of community organisations with a shared purpose to create fresh possibilities and services for the wellbeing of people, organisations and communities. The Chief Executives of the Wise Group have sent the Government a paper called ‘Please Press Pause’ with an important message about taking the time to reflect on some of the sector transformation that has been nimbly achieved over the past seven weeks, so that we don’t lose any of the social good that has been gained through the COVID-19 crisis. You can have a look at this excellent document on the IPANZ website. You can also access it on the Wise Group website.

Shenagh Gleisner

You can contact me anytime at shenagh@ipanz.org.nz


Celebrating the Work of the Public Service

IPANZ has been gathering some awe-inspiring stories of what the public sector has achieved in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and we look forward to sharing these in our next Public Sector Journal.

We’ve put together a brief snapshot of some of things we’ve been hearing, which you can read here.

We know there will inevitably be critique of aspects of the work that’s been done; that with the speed of response some unintended consequences may appear; and that there will be adjustments and lessons to learn. However, we do not want to lose this moment to wholeheartedly applaud the exceptional work going on behind-the-scenes in the public service.

Honouring the Māori World View

It’s incumbent on public sector professionals to consider how we take account of and also learn from te ao Māori — and that is even more pertinent at times of crisis.

Fortunately, there are some great examples of this happening during the Covid-19 response.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson recently noted that decisions that shape the Covid-19 recovery should be guided by three conditions: sustainability, productivity and inequality. And this article from E:tangata emphasises the importance of taking a Māori world view to guide the decision-making if equity for Māori is to be achieved.

Meanwhile, The Spinoff has published an excellent article that touches on the vital role iwi have played in this crisis. The networks of iwi and hapu reach deep into communities, households and to individuals: connecting them, distributing supplies, keeping them informed, caring and supporting. Public sector organisations and professionals need to know and appreciate much more about this work, which is occurring all over New Zealand.

How we are Shaped by Multiple Ethnicities

New Zealand is a melting pot of people with multiple ethnicities.

Statistics NZ, which asks Kiwis about their ethnicity at every Census, says on its website that New Zealanders often identify with multiple ethnicities: “It is not uncommon for people to change their ethnic identification, adopt additional ethnicities as their lives and families broaden or they learn more about their heritage, or locate themselves within multi-ethnic environments. New Zealand is no exception to this.”

EeMun Chen, a senior analyst with MartinJenkins, has written about multi-ethnicity and the consequences of this for public servants — whether policy professionals or service providers. She particularly makes a plea for a greater focus on qualitative research to provide a more accurate and nuanced understanding of the lived experience of this group, which now stands at more than half a million people in New Zealand.

You can read EeMun’s paper here.

What will Change in our Work Lives

One thing is certain, life post Covid-19 will be different to the life we knew before. But what will those changes look like?

IPANZ has identified three changes in the way we are working now that we believe may become the “new normal” for public sector professionals:

  • People will work more from home than before, in more flexible ways. The footprint of our office buildings will decrease. Management practices will have to change.
  • Online engagement has penetrated new customer segments at a much faster rate and will be maintained. New service delivery practices will become a permanent fixture.
  • New mechanisms for teaching, learning, education and training will become embedded in the mainstream, with a hybrid, more diverse mix. Some learning is best done face to face, do we know what types of learning and why?

What do you expect to be the enduring changes in the work behaviours and habits of public sector professionals? We would love to hear your views. Please email your thoughts to us at shenagh@ipanz.org.nz

Meet the Team

We've started a series of articles introducing the team who make things tick at IPANZ.

This week we introduce Clare Toufexis, who joined our Board last July.

Clare joined the public service in 2003 after five years working in the private sector, and says she hasn’t looked back. She’s now a staunch advocate for the public sector and the importance and quality of our work.

She has worked in a range of roles at Housing New Zealand, the Department of Building and Housing, MBIE and now the Department of Internal Affairs.

After nearly 4 years at DIA, Claire has just started a new role — General Manager Hāpai Hapori / Community Operations. Hāpai Hapori provides advisory and funding services, aimed at supporting Iwi, Hāpu and community groups in being resilient and achieving their aspirations.

You can read our article about Clare here.


As we move into Alert Level 2, we hope to be able to gradually reintroduce our face to face events, taking full account of the restrictions of gathering sizes and physical distancing. We expect this to be phased and we will continue to develop and share videos, webinars and zoom interviews.

IPANZ will always offer events for networking, facilitated debate, questioning and discussion — and we hope to be able to do this again soon face-to-face. Watch this space!

And remember, we still have our Journal, with excellent in-depth articles, our e:update with more concise gems, and our social media channels including our LinkedIn page with a mix of relevant content.

Our recently added videos include the following:

Effective Partnership Across Agencies and Sectors

The Covid-19 pandemic illustrates the complex, inter-connected and unpredictable nature of issues faced by society today. Collaboration between departments in the public service — already a focus of the public sector reforms — and with other sectors, will be critical as we navigate an uncertain future.

As individuals and organisations in the public service, how can we enable effective collaboration?

In a series of four short videos, Belinda Gorman an Associate of the Global Partnership Brokers Association has shared some ideas and reflections on what effective cross-agency/ cross-sector collaboration requires.

The insights and practical tips in these videos will provide a foundation to regularly turn to as you seek to collaborate well through partnerships.

You can watch all four videos on our Youtube page here, or jump straight into the first in the series here. You can also access them anytime via the events section on our website.

Digital Inclusion

You can also still tune in anytime to hear public sector ICT expert Laurence Millar talk about the challenges of digital inclusion, what is needed, why exclusion happens, and the future beyond Covid19. You can view this video here. And access it any time via the events section on website.

External Events

The New and Future Role of an Active State in a COVID-19 World with Max Rashbrooke - Wednesday 13 May, 12.00-1.00pm

The PSA have launched a webinar series: Possible Futures for Public and Community Services, to create opportunities to engage on the continued need for reform of our public services.

The PSA has a track record of presenting thought provoking and relevant stuff, and this is the latest in their Progressive Thinking series.

The first of these webinars that we’d like to draw your attention to takes place tomorrow. There is much current comment about what we can learn from the pandemic response about public services and the role of the state. Max Rashbrooke cautions that not everything about this crisis will teach us the right lessons and argues for a state in which citizens are more directly involved in decision-making

As Max said in his book Government for the Public Good, “ordinary citizens are not a risk to be managed, but a power to be drawn upon”.

The current list of webinars is here. Book yourselves in!

Gender Impact Analysis Policy Forum: Women workers and COVID-19 in Aotearoa - Wednesday 13 May, 4.00pm

The Public Policy Institute at the University of Auckland is hosting the first of a number of Gender Impact Analysis Policy Forums tomorrow at 4pm. Chaired by the Institute’s Director, Dr Jennifer Curtain, this series of online panel discussions, explores the gendered impacts of government policies.

The first forum, Women workers and COVID-19 in Aotearoa, explores the gendered impacts of COVID19 and the governments pre-Budget 2020 policy responses.

You can register here


As we move on from the immediate response to Covid-19 to the recovery phase, the inevitable questions will be asked about how well prepared we were to respond to a pandemic? Are we prepared for future crises?

The World Economic forum releases a global risk report each year. One was released in January, so just before we were immersed in the pandemic.

In the report, climate change dominates the top long-term risks, especially deeply felt among young people. Biodiversity loss will have a profound impact upon food systems. This comes out as the second biggest risk. The Forum also mentions the danger of information infrastructure breakdown. We will all be aware of our dependence on this infrastructure now, knowing too that it is not accessible to all, therefore increasing inequities.

You can read the full report here and we suggest reading the executive summary for a good overview.

We wonder if the priorities for public sector professionals need to shift to address these risks? There is an urgent need to gain public acceptance for short term and significant changes now so that we may be in a better position to avoid or reduce (probably not “eliminate”!) the worst of the next crisis.

In this context, we also recommend this article outlining climate change and other environmental risks, and suggesting actions that can now be taken in in New Zealand, authored by Ralph Chapman and Dr Paul Blaschke.

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