NZ cuts welfare dependency on way to a ‘Better Public Service’


The executive offices of New Zealand's Parliament (AKA "The Beehive") sit beside Parliament House.

Across the Tasman, progress is being made in several difficult policy areas through collaboration and innovation in the public sector.

New figures out of New Zealand this week show public servants making headway in some difficult policy areas that were put under the microscope in 2012 through the Better Public Services (BPS) initiative.

BPS is based around measurable targets and seeks to overcome 10 difficult policy challenges, such as reducing violence against children, increasing the number of students who finish high school, and making interactions with citizens cheaper and easier through e-government.

“For public servants, it’s about really embedding a culture of innovation, of continuous improvement,” explains State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie. “It’s about helping public servants have access to some tools that will allow them to do their jobs better.”

Among the headline results, welfare dependency — measured by the number of employable people on payments for more than a year — decreased 8.5% over the year to March. This compares with a 3.6% drop over the previous year and shows the Ministry of Social Development is on track to meet its BPS target of a 30% reduction by June, 2017.

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