Part 4: What we must manage well

Annual report 2018/19.

There are six key resources (or capitals) that we must manage well to improve our organisation and support the delivery of our strategic intentions to 2025. A detailed description of each resource is on our website.

Our independence and reputationOUR INDEPENDENCE AND REPUTATION

Our independence and strong mandate that underpin all our work and activities.

We cannot do our work without being independent, and being seen to be independent. Our reputation is critical to maintaining Parliament's and the public's trust and confidence in our work.

To protect the quality and independence of our audit work, we:

  • actively monitored and managed potential conflicts of interest for our staff who carry out and report on audits and inquiries on behalf of the Auditor-General;
  • ensured the independence of the private sector auditors appointed to carry out audits on behalf of the Auditor-General. We received 84 requests from the private sector auditors appointed to carry out audits on behalf of the Auditor-General, to carry out other work for the organisations they audited. We decided whether the potential effect on their independence that the other work presented meant they could or could not carry out that other work; and
  • announced stronger independence standards from 2019/20, limiting the work that may be carried out by firms that audit public organisations on our behalf to work of an assurance nature only.

Our peopleOUR PEOPLE

Our skills, competence, and engagement that enable us to deliver high-quality work.

The experience, knowledge, skills, and commitment of our people are vital to our work and our ability to deliver on our statutory responsibilities and our strategic intentions.

To ensure that we can deliver high-quality work, we:

  • modernised all of our people and capability policies, to attract and retain great staff – including new flexible working arrangements;
  • introduced career boards to help our staff identify and build their career paths and capabilities;
  • continued the training and development of our audit staff, including supporting their qualifying as chartered accountants and holding 44 training events to further develop their capability;
  • introduced leaders' programmes for our managers;
  • held more than 20 workshops on how to have courageous conversations; and
  • invested in our capability and competence in engaging with Māori – staff were trained in te reo, and were encouraged and supported to learn their pepeha.

Equal employment opportunities

Under the Public Audit Act 2001, the Auditor-General must develop and publish an equal employment opportunities (EEO) programme, ensure that this programme is complied with, and include in the annual report an account of how the programme was met.

We consider quality of employment opportunity critical to creating a workplace that enables all our staff to contribute to their full potential. The principles and practice of equal employment opportunities are embedded in our human resources policies. Through our work on EEO, we aim to better understand how we can further promote equity and diversity in our workplace. For example, we have embedded a flexible working arrangements policy and guidelines, and we are actively improving our Māori cultural competency, including use of te reo Māori.


Our collective knowledge and expertise about the public sector.

We collect and analyse a wealth of information as we carry out audits and our other work. This information, the knowledge we gain from it, and the methods we use to store, analyse, and share it are vital to our role and our ability to create value and insight.

During 2018/19, we laid the foundations for a step change in how we manage information. We:

  • replaced much of our core computing infrastructure, increasing security, resilience, and capacity – in particular to support our increasing data analytics work;
  • started work on a data and knowledge strategy, to make sure that we focus on the data that would most improve the usefulness of our reporting;
  • invested in our research and development function, hiring more data and analytics specialists;
  • improved security and functionality for our staff by upgrading our systems;
  • commissioned an external review of the security of our ICT environment to give us assurance about the security of our systems and information;
  • continued to invest in ICT infrastructure and improving our document management system; and maintained the integrity of our record-keeping processes by updating our retention and disposal schedule.

Our relationshipsOUR RELATIONSHIPS

Our mutually productive and respectful relationships with all our stakeholders.

Effective working relationships with our many stakeholders are essential to our work and our ability to create value.


  • strengthened our relationships with public sector and audit profession groups by providing briefings and presentations on good practice, emerging risks, and sector insights;
  • held a series of events for the government procurement community, so practitioners and decision-makers could hear from leaders of some of New Zealand's biggest procurement projects;
  • started briefings on our key reports for members of Parliament in addition to our briefings for select committees;
  • increased our focus on liaising with audit and risk committee chairs, including establishing new forums to be hosted in Auckland and Christchurch starting in 2019/20;
  • provided a series of all-day events in five cities, so finance teams and other public sector staff could hear about the latest accounting and auditing developments, standards, issues, and opportunities;
  • collaborated with Transparency International New Zealand to host a number of events focused on strengthening public sector integrity and transparency;
  • further strengthened our international relationships through sharing our skills, knowledge, and expertise with audit colleagues from around the world, including hosting training in a self-assessment tool for audit organisations like ours to analyse integrity risks and assess the maturity level of their integrity managements systems, and hosting six international delegations; and
  • enhanced our relationships with Pacific audit offices by training staff in their offices and in ours in support of improving accountability, transparency, and good governance in the Pacific.

Our financial and physical resourcesOUR FINANCIAL AND PHYSICAL RESOURCES

Our use of financial and physical resources to support our work.

The financial and physical resources we use are essential – we cannot deliver value without investing in the assets that support our work.


  • were successful in our bid for further Crown funding to address demand, impact, and capability needs for the Office; and
  • had an independent effectiveness and efficiency review of Audit New Zealand carried out.

Our use of natural resourcesOUR USE OF NATURAL RESOURCES

Our use of natural resources and managing the environmental impact of our activities.

Most auditing work is done on site so that our auditors have direct access to records and people. This means that our main environmental impact is from greenhouse gas emissions generated by the flights and driving required to do our work.


  • arranged information sessions for managers, set up an online centre for resources, and produced a range of guides, all with the aim of reducing our environmental footprint;
  • commissioned the Sustainability Trust to carry out a sustainability audit for our Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch premises;
  • progressively moved to a paperless meeting environment;
  • presented regular features for staff on the Office's intranet. For example, we told staff how much paper we were using and encouraged less printing, and we promoted keep-cups; and
  • gathered data from our suppliers to collate a baseline of the Office's environmental footprint, giving us a better understanding of the environmental effects of our flights (domestic, international, and trans-Tasman) and vehicle use (rental, taxi, office fleet, and pool cars).