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Media Advisory: Treasury emphasizes diversity, stewardship in Annual Report

15 Oct 2013

The Treasury's Annual Report for the fiscal year that ended on 30 June 2013 has been tabled in Parliament and published on its website.

In his introductory comments, Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Executive Gabriel Makhlouf outlined his commitment to diversity and stewardship as guiding principles underpinning the work of the department.

“Diversity is recognised as critical to business performance around the world. At the Treasury we are intent on creating a culture where there is diversity of thought, with leaders who are able to bring out diverse thinking and to harness it.

“An example of our progress on this during the year has been the embedding of the Living Standards Framework in our work. Our vision is to be a world-class Treasury working towards higher living standards for New Zealanders, so our policy advice considers five key dimensions that are important for living standards: economic growth, sustainability for the future, increasing equity, social infrastructure and managing risk.

“Real-world challenges have also encouraged us to diversify our thinking. The global financial crisis has taught us a few important lessons that have shaped our policy advice. In particular, it reinforced the need for a strong fiscal policy platform and emphasised the importance of identifying and managing systemic risks.”

“Stewardship has to be shown at all levels. At an agency level, leaders need to ensure their organisations have the capability to work effectively for current and future governments and provide them with free, frank, expert advice. At a sector level it is imperative that we work towards the sector's broader goals, which can mean putting aside departmental interests for the greater good, or perhaps taking on accountabilities outside our normal ambit. And at a system level, we have to put our efforts into driving the capabilities, processes and actions that will lift performance across the State sector and maximise its collective impact. 

“At a policy level, agencies need to ensure advice that informs government decisions is built on a strong foundation. We have to make sure what looks like a good policy idea is backed up by solid evidence and quality analysis. It is also our duty to review how effective we are being. That means taking a hard look at whether a policy is having the impact we thought it would, whether a service is delivering value for money or what the connections are between an area of regulation and economic, social and environmental outcomes.”

Looking Ahead

Looking ahead, Mr Makhlouf said the Treasury has some big opportunities and challenges before it.

“The world is more complicated, more volatile and changing faster than ever before. It makes effective policy-making more challenging than ever before. But I also believe this is a fantastic moment in time for our country. We are now part of the region that is the centre of global economic activity and where demand for our products and services is growing – New Zealand needs to grab that opportunity.

“Across the State sector, delivery of better public services within tight financial constraints is important. The Treasury and the rest of the State sector will need to have a relentless focus on results and have these results underpin how we design policy, implementation and incentives. We also need to evaluate the results and change our approaches if we need to, accepting that sometimes you have to fail if you are to learn and improve. It is part and parcel of stewardship.

“The Treasury will also remain committed to thinking, acting and engaging differently. It is absolutely fundamental to us being an effective and influential organisation, respected for providing sound advice that policy-makers and the public can be confident about.”

Media contact:

Anna Symmans | Communications Manager
Tel: +64 4 890 7214
Mob: +64 29 917 6192
Email: anna.symmans@treasury.govt.nz
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