IPANZ E-Update - 26 April 2023

ANZAC Day has once again caused our nation to reflect, 108 years since 15,000 New Zealanders landed at Gallipoli. How ever you chose to spend April 25th, it provides a powerful message that reflection is important – to give respect, learn lessons and protect those giving public service.

I hope the articles in this e-update also give you pause to reflect – on your work and the ethos in which that work takes place.

Kay Booth
Executive Director


Working in the Public Service survey report out now

The report on the BusinessDesk/IPANZ survey of public servants is now available here. Our thanks to everyone who gave their time to complete the questionnaire, telling us how you see the public service principles being implemented, and about aspects of your workplace. We are very grateful to Allen + Clarke for preparing this report and to Perceptive for administering the survey in the first place.

Articles in forthcoming issues of the Public Sector journal will provide indepth analysis on the topics covered by the survey – the June issue will examine political advisers and the principle of stewardship.

Trust in the public service must be earned

Social licence to operate it essential for an organisation like Stats NZ. You cannot gain this social licence without trust from New Zealanders. So, ensuring people in New Zealand understand and trust the way in which big data is handled is vital.

This article most helpfully describes the Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI), it explains how it operates including the five essential safety checks, one of which is absolute privacy for all individuals. Above all it outlines how, through a co-design process with Iwi, the trust of Māori in the use of these data is assured. Trust amongst Māori communities in the IDI is building.

Enabling access to the IDI for research and analysis is important, but it cannot begin to thrive without the understanding and trust of the people of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Avoiding the polarising debate about whether Mātauranga Māori is a science

This is a long and thoughtful article about the nature of Mātauranga Māori from E Tangata. There is much to think about in here … it puts the arguments on each side and sees value in both. There is no simple answer as to whether Māori knowledge is a science – but, if any recognisable form of knowledge is a science, then so is Mātauranga Māori.

However, it may be more accurate to say that parts of Mātauranga Māori are science and parts are not, particularly those with more spiritual and religious content which is not subject to empirical testing.

Potential for a four-day working week trial for the public service in Australia

You have undoubtedly read about the four-day working week (100% salary for 80% of the week with 100% productivity) as described in this brief article. What is interesting here is that the four-day week is being considered as an option (probably a pilot) in the bargaining process for the Australian Public Service. The four-day working week is gaining momentum, although not universally popular. It remains unclear how best it would work in parts of the public sector. What is your view?

We need to design public sector organisations for the future

It is rather surprising that organisational design work has not moved to a more diverse set of organisational design models, with guidance about what models work for what tasks. In this brief paper you can read about a number of new dimensions of organisation design and new models, for example: Meshes’ combine vertical and horizontal structures and flows both inside organisations and outside them. ‘Multiple centres’ act as complements to more traditional pyramidal organograms. And ‘outside-in’ designs bring in externalities, systems and wider accountability.

All of these can help with the design of institutions for the transitions ahead – to a zero-carbon world, to handle inequality, democratic distrust and a world of powerful AI. Surely, we can be more future-thinking and innovative?

Interesting global research into trust in AI

Trust is so important to government and public service. This global study of trust in AI is an important early insight – some of the results are:

  • The majority of people trust AI but are more comfortable about its use in health care than in HR practice.
  • People perceive many risks, with cyber-security top of the list.
  • Governance and independent oversight are seen as crucial, but only 39% of the sample consider this is currently adequate.

The brief summary offers ideas on what would drive trust – something all public servants will be giving considerable thought to. Worth a read.

“The care of human life and happiness is the only legitimate object of good government” Thomas Jefferson

This brief summary of a bigger study argues that wellbeing is the overriding role of government. One of its authors is Richard Layard, an early writer on ‘happiness’ and an important thinker who has influenced the wellbeing approach taken up in Aotearoa New Zealand. A few brief insights to deepen your understanding of this topic and help encourage the full realisation of our wellbeing policies:

  • Wellbeing is best measured by subjective assessment.
  • Nordic countries are consistently top of the list for wellbeing – it is easy to see why.
  • 80% of the variation in happiness is within countries – so major inequities exist.
  • Work is crucial to wellbeing, partly for the non-monetary benefits.
  • Employee wellbeing and productivity are strongly linked – so pursuit of wellbeing is not just the right thing to do, it is “the clever thing to do”.


• 26 April: Ministers and Officials: Building the relationship with political nous - IPANZ and ANZSOG are partnering to explore issues at the political administrative interface. This event will delve into this vital topic with a panel well versed in the relationship between politicians and officials. This event is sold out but you can register here for the waitlist in case spaces become available.

IPANZ New Professionals: Meet the Chiefs Breakfast series in Auckland and Wellington - Join the IPANZ New Professionals Leadership Team for a light breakfast and the opportunity to meet with Chief Executives from the public sector.

  • 2 May: Meet the Chiefs Breakfast with Geraldine Clifford-Lidstone, Chief Executive – Ministry for Pacific Peoples. WELLINGTON Register here.
  • 3 May: Meet the Chiefs Breakfast with Margie Apa, Chief Executive of Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand. AUCKLAND Register here.

Parliament in Practice - Designed for departmental and crown entity kaimahi (workers) who are new to the public sector. Join us for a unique opportunity to learn about the operations of Parliament, from those working within Parliament walls and tasked with supporting Parliament.


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