IPANZ E-Update - 2 June 2020

Kia ora koutou

We are sending a very warm welcome to our new members of IPANZ. We are delighted that new entities such as the Climate Change Commission, and agencies in our wider state sector, such as the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra have decided to join us. More local authorities are also joining, which is so important as their voice is essential. When we talk of government, we mean local as well as central and need to always reflect this diversity of experiences. We are also very pleased that some NGOs and businesses have joined too.

It is so important for the public service to work collaboratively with other sectors. We are very keen to hear and share different perspectives. Please send us your insights, articles, blogs and perspectives and we will do our utmost to share them so that everyone across the system can be inspired and informed.

To celebrate the breadth of the IPANZ family, here is a 30 second glimpse of one of the NZSO players working from home. During the lock down the NZSO demonstrated innovation and agility by producing wonderful music with ensembles of musicians each in their own homes and yet perfectly in time and tune.

Shenagh Gleisner

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


Acknowledging our Public Sector Communications Professionals

Public sector communications professionals have done a great job in recent weeks and it is time to give them credit. They are not often praised — indeed often criticised and described as purveyors of “spin”.

They work on the interface of the political and the public service worlds, and this is always a challenge, particularly in assuring the commitment of the public service principles and values, including political neutrality. The Public Service Bill will soon pass into law. This will be a chance for affirmation for these principles, demonstrating accountability to them.

We have shared an article acknowledging the work of our public sector communications professionals in responding to Covid-19, which you can read on our website here.

Going "beyond services" and the Promise of Whanau-Led Approaches

The fundamental premise of the thinking by the Southern Initiative (which is part of Auckland Council) is for the public service to be thinking about the interrelationships between government and communities. This has a more preventative focus. It is more than delivering services, it is enhancing people’s capacity to solve their own problems, alongside basic services that are needed. Making this happen is a challenge and shift for the public service.

The Auckland Co-Design Lab has shared a think piece about what this experience has looked like in the context of Covid-19 — “a visible lesson in what collaboration across the system can look like when we are aligned on a common goal”.

The Initiative has demonstrated that there are practices, knowledge, resources, skills, strengths and people distributed across the system that have key roles to play in enabling wellbeing outcomes. The paper — which you can read here — talks about the concept in practice. Pay particular attention to the whanau-to-whanau models that are noted.

Showing the measurable impacts of these models will be the important next step.

Perspectives on Budget 2020

Deloitte have prepared an interesting set of papers in response to the Budget, from a range of perspectives.

In their summary of initiatives for Pasifika people, they refer to “The conch call for action”. They write, “The 2020 Budget acknowledges the contributions Pasifika people make to New Zealand’s economy and sets out a bold and flexible funding package that will benefit them. This contribution is despite the challenges Pasifika people face daily — challenges that demand resilience. This is definitely worth a read and you can find it here.

You can access all the Deloitte budget papers here.

Innovation and Leadership in COVID-19

In response to our last e-update, we received comment about the innovation, leadership and collaboration shown in many sectors. One that we particularly enjoyed was an update from Te Awakairangi Health Network, about the response through a primary care lens.

It talks of the transformation that took place in the primary health care sector and recognises the response that has occurred at a local and national level. While it focusses on the great things that have happened in the Hutt Valley, it will be repeated in all parts of the country. The strong partnerships, knowledge and skills of many people — communities, health providers, Maori groups, local government and others — demonstrates how collaborative we can be across all sectors. You can read it here.

The GovTech Accelerator is looking for projects for the 2020 programme. It is a three-month, accelerator-style innovation programme that takes projects and staff from government agencies who are tackling complex problems, and applies proven and effective service design methodologies to create solutions that work. You can learn more here.

Meet the Team

We’ve started a series of articles introducing the IPANZ team and this week we’re introducing our Executive Director Shenagh Gleisner. Shenagh joined IPANZ a year ago, with a drive to inspire public sector professionals and connect them with thought provoking ideas, and a deep passion for improving the wellbeing of New Zealanders.

“I really love this country and everybody deserves to thrive. So I want people to feel included and involved and contributing because that is crucial for individual and community wellbeing.”

You can read about Shenagh (and learn a few surprising facts about her!) here.


We soon hope to start gradually reintroducing our face to face events, taking full account of the government restrictions of gathering sizes and special precautions. We expect this to be phased and at the same time, we will continue to develop and share videos, webinars and zoom interviews.

Our recently added videos include the following:

A Career in the Public Service

Dame Karen Poutasi shares insights from her career in the public service, in an interview with IPANZ Executive Director Shenagh Gleisner. Dr Poutasi was named in the Queens Honours yesterday as a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to education and the State. She has served as Director General of Health at the Ministry of Health and Chief Executive of the New Zealand Qualifications Authority. Last year she was seconded from NZQA to serve as Commissioner for the Waikato District Health Board.

She shares some of her successes, some of her ‘fails’ and some of the valuable lessons she has learned along the way.

You can watch this on our YouTube page here or also access it anytime via the events section on our website.

An Update on the Public Service Legislation Bill

Hannah Cameron, State Services Commission Deputy Commissioner for Strategy and Policy, heads the team who has lead the work in the Public Service Legislation Bill. In an interview with IPANZ Executive Director Shenagh Gleisner she gives an update on the legislative process, some impacts and insights from Covid-19, and how we will all contribute to the implementation of the Act.

You can watch this on our YouTube page here or access it anytime via the events section on our website.


In the early 2000s, Demos produced a vast array of books, articles and ideas that were innovative and far thinking.

This included the book, Network Logic. Who Governs in an Interconnected World?, edited by Helen McCarthy, Paul Miller and Paul Skidmore. In a chapter entitled ‘Leading Between — Leadership and Trust in a Network Society’, Paul Skidmore writes about the kind of leadership that we need for a networked society. We have summarised some key points below, and if you’d like to know more, we recommend reading this chapter (or the full book).

Although it is from 2004, it has some important ideas about contemporary leadership that are still relevant today. We would love to know if up and coming leaders in the public service are being encouraged to develop these qualities?

What kind of leaders do we need for this interconnected world?

Network leaders lead from the outside in

They start with the deepest needs of their users and work back to establish the configuration of resources and capacities needed to meet those needs.

Network leaders mobilise disparate supplies of energy

They know that the tacit and explicit knowledge of front line staff matters. They create a language that enables people to cross boundaries. They focus on structuring the right kind of conversation. They know leadership is less about decision and more about deliberation.

Network leaders foster trust and empower others to act

They know that agreement is not precondition for action, but adequate trust is. True authority empowers others to act.

Network leaders help people grow out of their comfort zones

Our silos help us to maintain our established routines and give us a sense of identity. Network leaders set incentives for people to move out of this zone and tap into people’s sense of professionalism and sense of moral purpose.

Network leaders are lead learners and not all-knowers

They make the point of not having all the answers. They do not let the “certainty of their vision” blind them. They listen.

Network leaders nurture other leaders

They see self-government as the ultimate goal of leadership. A great network leader results in people saying “we did it ourselves” because they have self-organised in meaningful and productive ways.

Network leaders, above all, preserve the trust upon which their networks depend.

If you would like to read more, you can link to the book here - Network Logic. Who Governs in an Interconnected World?

Please Stay In-Touch with Us

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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.

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