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Putting It Together: An Explanatory Guide to New Zealand's State Sector Financial Management System

Introduction by the Secretary to the Treasury

Financial management systems provide the government of the day with tools that focus resources on its policy and service delivery priorities, and ensure that public servants use taxpayers' money appropriately.

Our financial management system has served governments of different persuasion, met rising expectations of the public and brought the nation through fiscal and economic crises without faltering. It has done this not by forcing compliance but by giving users the flexibility they need to deliver a myriad of services to the public and to respond to unexpected demands. In return for flexibility, transparent reporting ensures that Ministers, boards and chief executives are accountable to Parliament, taxpayers and the public.

The financial management system has evolved and continues to evolve to respond to new challenges, to lift performance and to help Ministers deliver results. The system works to ensure:

  • government can deliver on its priorities and help us to improve our quality of life
  • policy settings remain affordable and sustainable, well into the future
  • financial and other resources are governed well and used responsibly
  • goods and services are produced economically and are fit for purpose
  • democracy is supported by transparent, comprehensible reporting.

The legislative and administrative requirements of the financial management system set minimum expectations for fiscal responsibility, appropriation, resource management, and reporting. It is of course Ministers and public servants who must provide drive and ambition, who must innovate and cull and who continuously improve the quality, cost and effectiveness of everything the Government does for New Zealanders.

Ultimately, people have to make the financial management system deliver results for the Government, Parliament and the people of New Zealand.


Gabriel Makhlouf
Secretary to the Treasury

August 2011

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