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The Treasury Statement of Intent 2012-17

Our changeable operating environment

The ability to adapt quickly and to assist government in dealing with changes in circumstance are core capabilities of the Treasury. In the past we have devoted significant resource to matters of urgency; for example, the Canterbury earthquake response and in response to the global financial crisis. We may not be able to predict where the Treasury will be drawn in the future in response to issues of particular national importance, but we maintain a flexible and capable range of abilities when such issues arise. A challenge for the Treasury is to continue to invest in issues of longer-term importance during uncertain times, and to ensure that we are equally effective in reducing our commitment on issues where it is no longer critical.

The Treasury's ability to manage in an uncertain and changeable operating environment is enhanced by the quality of our risk management (risk is defined as "the effect of uncertainty on objectives"[5]). The Treasury has a range of approaches to risk management. This is led by our senior leaders regularly identifying and assessing our biggest strategic and emerging risks, and ensuring we are taking appropriate actions to manage these. We manage risks relating to our various change initiatives and projects, as well as day-to-day operational risks, to ensure that we anticipate and deal with uncertainty as effectively as we can.

One of the Treasury's priorities is to continue its internal change programme, making continuous improvement a part of business as usual in the Treasury. Like the public sector more generally, the Treasury will also continue to prioritise its expenditure to meet the Government's objectives while managing cost pressures associated with a reducing and then flat baseline (primarily because fixed-term projects, such as the Retail Deposit Guarantee Scheme, wind down). Managing these pressures will include a reduction in staff over the medium term.


  • [5]NZ Risk Management Standard - AS/NZ ISO 31000:2009.
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