Part 1: Introduction

Reporting on the public sector’s performance in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland.

In this Part, we discuss:

Context for this report

More than 1.7 million people live in Auckland. The population has increased rapidly in recent decades, largely because of immigration. Auckland is projected to account for about 40% of New Zealand’s population growth to 2048.1

According to the 2018 Census, almost a quarter of all Māori in New Zealand live in Auckland,2 and more than 40% of people living in Auckland were born overseas.3

As the largest commercial centre in the country, Auckland produces about 37% of the country’s gross domestic product. About 35% of all businesses and 61% of New Zealand’s top 200 companies are in Auckland. Auckland also provides 35% of the country’s total employment.4

Two recently released reports, Reimagining Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland: Harnessing the region’s potential5 and The state of the city,6 highlight the critical role Auckland plays for the rest of New Zealand. The Reimagining Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland report said that:

Auckland is arguably New Zealand’s only city of global scale and relevance, and is a critical asset to generate the cultural, social and economic energy that helps the country to thrive.7

Both reports highlight the need for central and local government to work together for Auckland to reach its full potential.

Given Auckland’s significance to the rest of New Zealand and the need for a well-functioning public sector in the region, we wanted to understand how public organisations report on their performance in Auckland.8

What the public sector is looking to achieve in Auckland

Auckland Council sets out its high-level outcomes in its Auckland Plan 2050. This describes its view on how to deliver a better Auckland in the long term. In developing the Plan, the Council consulted officials in central government organisations, noting this was not a joint plan with central government.

Central government does not appear to have a shared set of outcomes or strategic intentions for Auckland, except for in the transport and housing sectors. As a result, most central government organisations largely work towards outcomes, objectives, or priorities that have a national focus.

Therefore, it is difficult to establish a comprehensive view on specific outcomes the public sector wants to achieve in Auckland. This reflects commentary that fragmented decision-making constrains Auckland and that it lacks a vision and strategy that central and local government agree on.9

Recent central government reforms have aimed to improve how public organisations work together. To support this, twelve Regional Public Service Commissioners were appointed across New Zealand to cover 15 regions, including Auckland.

These changes enable an all-of-government approach to co-ordinating regional activities between a wide range of public organisations in the social and economic sectors. We discuss Regional Public Service Commissioners in Part 2 and the potential for co-ordinating public sector activities in Part 4.

The public sector has a significant presence in Auckland

Auckland has the largest number of public sector employees in the country (including central government and local government employees). In 2022, more than 130,000 public sector employees worked in Auckland. This is 16% of the region’s workforce and about 29% of the total public sector workforce in New Zealand (see Figure 1).10

Figure 1
Distribution of total public sector workforce in New Zealand (2022)

Figure 1: Distribution of total public sector workforce in New Zealand (2022)

Most public sector employees in Auckland work in the education and health sectors (see Figure 2). About 21% of public sector employees in Auckland (about 27,400) work in the main government departments and organisations based in Auckland including the core public service agencies.11

The size of the public sector in Auckland reflects the region’s large population. For example, 33% of all health sector employees and 31% of all education sector employees are in Auckland. This is similar to the percentage of all New Zealanders who live in the region (34%).

Figure 2
Sector distribution of public sector workforce in Auckland (2022)

Figure 2: Sector distribution of public sector workforce in Auckland (2022)

Most central government organisations are represented in Auckland, including most public service departments.12

How we did this work

We looked at the performance information of 50 public organisations that are largely based or have a significant presence in Auckland. Appendix 1 lists these organisations and indicates the sources of the performance information we looked at. Appendix 2 outlines links to some of these sources that were outside of the annual reports we looked at.

For this report, we divided these organisations into 10 different sectors to allow us to summarise our findings and consider sector-specific issues. These sectors are:

  • Local government;
  • Health;
  • Education;
  • Social;
  • Housing;
  • Justice;
  • Economic;
  • Environment;
  • Transport and infrastructure;
  • Government and administration.

Although we examined multiple sources of information, our baseline for financial data is the 2020/21 year because at the time of writing this was the most complete year of annual audit results for all public organisations we considered. We intend to update and build on this information over time.

Structure of our report

In Part 2, we discuss current performance reporting in Auckland, including the general requirements for public sector performance reporting and the structure of the public sector in Auckland.

In Part 3, we provide examples of good practice approaches public organisations use to report their non-financial performance in Auckland.

In Part 4, we suggest ways to improve performance reporting and encourage the wider use of place-based reporting.

1: See Statistics New Zealand, “Subnational population projections: 2018(base)–2048 update”, at

2: See Auckland Council, “Māori in Tāmaki Makaurau”, at

3: See Statistics New Zealand, “2018 Census place summaries: Auckland region”, at

4: See Regional Economic Profile, “Auckland economic profile”, at

5: Koi Tu: The Centre for Informed Futures (2022), Reimagining Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland: Harnessing the region’s potential, at

6: The Business of Cities (2023), The state of the city: Benchmarking Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland’s international performance, at

7: Koi Tu: The Centre for Informed Futures (2022), Reimagining Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland: Harnessing the region’s potential, page 72, at

8: In this report, we use the term “public organisations” to refer to central and local government organisations collectively. We use the terms “central government organisations” and “local government organisations” to refer specifically to organisations in those sectors.

9: Koi Tu: The Centre for Informed Futures (2022), Reimagining Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland: Harnessing the region’s potential, page 5, at

10: See Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission, “Workforce data – Regional workforce”, at

11: The public service consists only of government departments, departmental agencies, and interdepartmental executive boards or ventures.

12: For definitions, see Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission, “Central government organisations”, at