The myth of public service neutrality

Roger Partridge
NZ Herald
7 September, 2023

Earlier in the year, this column argued for a public service reset. It was prompted partly by the ballooning size of public sector headcount. But it was more a response to the decline in public service outcomes. Everyone should be concerned about the deteriorating state of core services like education, health, and law and order. And the bureaucracy should expect to be held accountable.

The column also focused on the growing phenomenon of activist civil servants when, traditionally, they have at least given the appearance of political neutrality. Former Te Whatu Ora chairman Rob Campbell is the most prominent of them. But the first half of the year was peppered with copycat outbursts from senior public servants.

But are our public servants still “neutral”? And if they are not, is the architecture of the public service fit for purpose?

Read more here.

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