16 March 2012
Key Notes: Better Public Services

In this issue of Key Notes, I share the basic outlines of what we're doing to improve public services. I also pay tribute to Jock Hobbs. It was with great sadness that I learnt Jock lost his long battle with leukaemia this week.   We'll all miss him very much.

Click here to watch my special video journal on changes to public services.
watch this video on YouTube

Focusing on results for you and your family
Yesterday I delivered a Better Public Services speech in Auckland outlining how the National-led Government will improve services, reduce costs and deliver better results for you and your family.

We expect our public sector to be innovative, efficient, and focused.  That means health care you can rely on, quality education for our children, a strong justice system, welfare supporting those who need it, and better overall business interaction with government.

We'll be requiring the public sector to focus on delivering the results that really matter to New Zealanders.

In my speech, I outlined three major changes for the public sector:

A new results-driven focus
We've set 10 results we want achieved over the next three to five years.  We know achieving some of these may be challenging, but I make no apology for having high expectations of our public service.

Our results fall within five broad themes, which are:

  • Reducing long-term welfare dependency
  • Supporting vulnerable children
  • Boosting skills and employment
  • Reducing crime
  • Improving government interaction with New Zealanders.

I've appointed Ministers to lead each result, and public service chief executives will be accountable for real progress against our results.  You can read more detail about each of the 10 results here.

Many of the results fall between or across the responsibilities of individual government departments.  That's part of the reason they are difficult.  Achieving results means changing the way the public sector works.

We'll announce specific and measurable targets within each of the 10 areas by 30 June this year, and we'll regularly report progress in each area.

Resetting the cap on core government administration numbers
In my speech I also announced that we will reset the cap on positions in core government administration to 36,475 full time equivalent positions (FTEs).  We're already operating under this number and we intend to remain under it.

This is something we campaigned on at the election last year, so we're delivering on that promise.

Placing a cap on staff numbers worked extremely well in our first term of Government and was successful in turning around a huge increase in public service numbers under the previous Labour government.

Our revised cap won't include those at the frontline such as teachers, police, hospital staff, and prison officers.

Creating a new Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
The third change that I announced was the creation of a new business-facing government department - the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

We're going to do this by merging the functions of:

  • The Ministry of Economic Development
  • The Department of Labour
  • The Ministry of Science and Innovation
  • The Department of Building and Housing.

The new Ministry will make it easier - and simpler - for Kiwi businesses to engage with government.  It's also going to help us drive another of the priorities I have for this year - to build a more competitive and productive economy.

Saying goodbye to Jock Hobbs
It was with great sadness that I learnt Jock Hobbs lost his long battle with leukaemia this week.   I knew Jock well, and I always enjoyed talking and laughing with him.  My thoughts are with Jock's family and many friends at this difficult time.  He was a fine New Zealander and an asset to the game of rugby.  We'll all miss him very much.

From my diary
Next week I'm heading back to Wellington for Parliament, after a busy recess week.


John Key
Prime Minister


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#1 - Hamid Amini 2012-03-16 19:23 - (Reply)


#2 - Jeff Bryant 2012-03-16 22:24 - (Reply)

Why are WE building another new multi, multi, multimillion dollar prison with an annual tag of a hudred thousand plus per prisoner? Excuse me, arn't we short of money?

#3 - Dianne 2012-03-17 06:36 - (Reply)

Your doing an excellent job John. Very interesting Newsletter.

#4 - Jillie Sharples 2012-03-17 10:20 - (Reply)

Thank you for emailed newsletter's, I appreciate this service. It's very reassuring having a PM and people that can work together who all carry the vision for a purposeful, economically focused place for New Zealander's, across a broad spectrum of people and Industries. Thank you for caring about the little thing's and wanting more for everyone, that other PM's have historically not represented. May your journey's always bring you peace of heart and fulfillment from the knowledge that your intention is honoured by the greater good working within you. Blessings to you all for being Inspiring people. Jillie Sharples Sharples Logging Ltd Rangiora, Canterbury.

#5 - Brian Batie 2012-03-17 12:13 - (Reply)

Prime Minister you are doing a good job however we still need a greater reduction in public sevants.There are far too many and this is creating inefficiencys.

#6 - Max Legg said:
2012-03-17 17:04 - (Reply)

Prime Minister, you are doing an excellent work for our great Nation. I believe you are right on track in rebuilding our economy and social structure...its a huge mission to rebuild,repair,and restore what has been lost. Thank you for setting out a clear vision for the next five years. It will allow us to go from project to purpose to Destiny. Shalom. Max

#7 - John Siew 2012-03-17 19:16 - (Reply)

To National, I support your stated policies and programmes. No one owes us a free lunch and the sooner we improve efficiency and productivity the better. As a migrant for 8 years, I believe the matter of foremost importance is to ensure sustainable growth of the economy, build unity and mutual respect among all in this multi ethnic population, eusure a high moral and behaviourial standard and and maintaining living standards. Keep on improving and do not give up national resources such as the seabed.

#8 - Lindsay Fergusson 2012-03-17 22:24 - (Reply)

I fear that the new super ministry will not help small business in dealing with Government. The MED was created by Labour to pander to that great socialist Jim Anderton's ego. Why would National - as proponents of small government - create an even bigger monster, where day to day operations will be even further from top decision makers than they are now, with more and more junior officials, with little or no business experience, dealing with buiness people.

#9 - Bruce 2012-03-18 08:23 - (Reply)

Thank you for granting my request for an increase for cost of living for NZ Super. It will be well appreaciated.

#10 - David Fleming 2012-03-19 12:34 - (Reply)

I am concerned re the slow down of our economy. This can easily be seen by the number of vacant stores throughout the cities. Could the National Govt. be a little too concerned in getting us back into the black rather than stimulating the economy. maybe Quantitative Easing could work for us as well? It would certainly help the tax take!

#11 - Tom Ledger 2012-03-20 23:35 - (Reply)

Hmm better government communications with New Zealanders. Does this mean that when you get a letter from the Tax department it wont be full of heavy handed threats about their punative, unjudicial powers? Or that if you have to pay child support that you will only have to pay a reasonable and equal half share of the cost of child rearing? Or that they are going to stop financially clobbering one party because the other went on the DPB? That they are going to stop useing child support as extra government income for the welfare budget? Welfare that they willfully choose to hand out and destroy families with? Or that the child support agency will also have to write polite non-threatening letters to the vast majority of parents who are willing to financially support their child? Does this mean they will try to stop the police from gratuitously attempting to obtain convictions rather than help resolve social issues, conflicts and pettycrimes?

#12 - Roger Youmans 2012-03-21 10:23 - (Reply)

Dear John, You are doing allright. In relation to Nick Smith, I am in the Nelsopn electorate and have compleat faith in Nick Smith. Of course the Opposition are howling for his blood, you would expect that from them. No one is perfect, we all make mistakes and I do not see the crime in what he did. The raising of his case of contempt of court, I spoke to the Maori father involved, who had the highest regard for Nick. It was the Family Court who were wrong. Nick stuck his neck out, but only to help someone. As you know he has a lot of support in Nelson.

#13 - Glenn McIntyre 2012-03-21 21:53 - (Reply)

Nick Smith having acknowledged that he made a grave error of judgement did not deserve to be forced into foregoing his ministerial posts. We all hope for ministers to be above reproach but that in reality is a pipe dream as all are human (with maybe one or two exceptions!). Why did Nick not get the normal employment termination courtesies that are requirements of good workplace practice??? The mandatory letters of warning etc etc, HR counselling?? and all the other time wasting nonsense that every other employee gets offered as part of their workplace conditions? Surely that would be fair and reasonable or is the political handbook of "How to carry on in the hallowed halls" so pathetically historical that it allows nitwits like Winston Peters and the Labor Party with the support of the left leaning media hacks to drive good men out. Unless there are other matters not yet aired in this matter I would suggest to Nick to take a case to the employment court for unfair dismissal as I guarantee this ludicrous situation was not voluntary.(Clearly he won't, but it would be interesting) He would win of course as I can't think of case where employers have been successful even when they were clearly justified in their actions!

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