Chief Executive’s foreword
Mahia i runga i te rangimārie me te ngākau māhaki
With a calm mind and a respectful heart we will always get the best results
The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s (DPMC's) purpose is to ensure New Zealanders live in a country that is ambitious, resilient and well-governed.
We work by leading, advising, stewarding and delivering, and we are committed to our values. We are courageous – we stand up – we are connected – we join together – we are committed – we believe in what we do – and we do it with respect. These values are reinforced by the Public Sector Spirit of Service and the standards of integrity and conduct for public sector agencies.
DPMC cannot do its work alone and I acknowledge the support and contribution of other agencies over the past year, particularly our fellow central agencies, the Treasury and the State Services Commission. Collectively we work to deliver on the Government's priorities for the people of New Zealand and provide leadership across the system to make this happen.
The effective functioning of executive government requires relationships of trust and confidence with the Governor-General, the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Cabinet Office and Government House play particular roles in relation to this through their support and advice to the country’s leaders to enable them to work effectively on behalf of the nation. In a time of international uncertainty, the integrity and effectiveness of our national institutions is more important than ever.
High-quality advice remains critical to effective decision-making. The Policy Advisory Group provided the Prime Minister and Ministers with timely advice, with a particular focus on helping to shape and deliver on the Government’s priorities. We also continue to strengthen the quality of advice across the public sector policy community through the work of the Policy Project.
The passing of the Child Poverty Reduction Act in December was a significant milestone. The Act requires the government of the day to set targets on a defined set of measures to reduce child poverty and to report on them annually. The Child Wellbeing and Poverty Reduction Group within DPMC led multi-agency work and broad community engagement over the year as it worked to develop the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy for release in 2019. This work is intended to break the cycle of child poverty and provide a brighter and healthier future for New Zealand’s young people.
The terror attacks of 15 March 2019 saw DPMC activate the National Security System and the National Crisis Management Centre in support of the national response and recovery.
We worked closely with central government agencies, local government and communities in the days immediately following the attacks. We also contributed to the Government’s strategic policy response and are continuing our efforts to reinforce New Zealand’s counter-terrorism settings. The findings of the Royal Commission of Inquiry will be material in this regard.
DPMC is also working to strengthen the national system for responding to and managing natural disasters and other emergencies, and to increase levels of national preparedness and resilience. We released the new National Disaster Resilience Strategy, outlining the characteristics of a resilient New Zealand and setting out a programme of work over the next 10 years. In addition, the Wellbeing Budget 2019 provided funding for the establishment of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to replace the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management. NEMA will provide strong focus for strengthening the performance and capability of New Zealand’s national emergency management system as a whole.
Through the work of the Greater Christchurch Group (GCG), significant steps were made towards the transition of greater Christchurch back to local leadership. The Crown was able to take a step back from its extraordinary role in Christchurch with the City Council resuming control over its district planning processes. GCG provided advice that enabled unique legislative powers to be used to fast track changes to district planning documents. GCG led negotiations with the Council that resulted in an Agreement in Principle being reached on Global Settlement, which will be a final agreement on key regeneration matters. GCG also coordinated and supported work across government agencies to address outstanding issues that remain from the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes, including insurance matters and work to establish the Public Inquiry into the Earthquake Commission.
While the year covered by the Annual Report saw DPMC achieve much, there remains much more to be done. Across the Department, we are committed to continuing our efforts in the coming year to support an ambitious, resilient and well-governed country for the benefit of all New Zealanders.