Part 4: Increasing our impact with public organisations

Annual plan 2024/25.

As the auditor of every public organisation, the Auditor-General is in a unique position to influence improvements in performance and accountability practices across the public sector. This includes raising issues that we observe from our work and promoting examples of good practice in matters we have particular interest and expertise in.

Our work to influence positive change in the accountability practices of public organisations helps support Parliament in its scrutiny role and keep the public well informed.

Our priorities for increasing our impact in public organisations are:

The work we will do on these priorities in 2024/25 is set out below.

Influencing more meaningful and useful performance reporting

We want to see improvements in how public organisations report their performance.

Central government spends about $160 billion every year and councils spend about $19 billion every year. Too often the performance information from public organisations does not enable Parliament, councils, or the public to understand what value they are getting from public spending. There are significant opportunities to improve the quality of performance information and its reporting.

The 2023 review of Standing Orders by the previous Parliament recommended an ad hoc select committee to be established to carry out an inquiry into performance reporting and how Parliament holds the Government to account.

The Finance and Expenditure Committee has reported its intention to recommend that the ad hoc select committee be established in 2025.6 If the inquiry goes ahead in 2025, a key focus for the Office in 2024/25 will be to prepare for and support it.

We will also continue to influence improvements in performance reporting through a range of work.

Planned work: Influencing improved performance reporting
Persistent inequity iconIn 2024/25, we will carry out a work programme to influence improved performance reporting in the public sector. This programme will include:
  • influencing system settings by contributing to the Treasury's work on the future of the public finance system (including influencing improvements to the Public Finance Act 1989 to ensure better performance reporting) and publishing research on international models of good practice;
  • further strengthening our focus on performance reporting in our advice to select committees during their reviews of public organisations;
  • enhanced testing of the appropriateness and meaningfulness of performance information through annual audits of larger public organisations (including how we assign grades for performance reporting in management reports);
  • extending our examination of performance reporting, such as the quality of reporting by interdepartmental executive boards and reporting on achieving equitable outcomes;
  • publishing guidance for challenging areas of performance reporting; and
  • assessing the quality of performance reporting as part of our performance audit work.

Supporting Parliament to realise the benefits from changes to Standing Orders

We want to see significant improvements in how the public sector reports to Parliament on its spending and what is being achieved from it.

We use information from our work, including our annual audits, to influence improvements in the public accountability system. An important part of this work is our briefings to select committees, which supports their scrutiny of what public organisations intend to spend (through the Estimates) and how they perform.

In 2024/25, we will work with select committees to help realise the benefits from changes to the Standing Orders that were introduced at the start of the current Parliament. This includes advising select committees on their structured agendas, in-depth annual review approaches, Estimates reviews, and scrutiny plans.

Work under way: Advice and support to Parliament and select committees (annual reviews and Estimates briefings)

In 2024/25, we will continue to work with select committees to realise the benefits from changes to Standing Orders introduced at the start of the current Parliament. This includes supporting select committees' in-depth reviews, including their focus on outcomes and performance reporting.

We will increase our focus on the coherence of performance frameworks and reporting for organisations that spend a significant amount of public money.

Our observations from auditing the New Zealand Health Plan

Health services account for a significant share of central government spending and are vital for the well-being of New Zealanders. Funding for Vote Health is $29.6 billion in 2024/25. It is important to understand the performance of the health system and what outcomes it is achieving. Based on our auditing of the New Zealand Health Plan (Te Pae Waenga), and health agencies' performance against the Interim New Zealand Health Plan (Te Pae Tata), we will share relevant observations about the information available and any improvements we recommend.

Planned work: Our observations from auditing the New Zealand Health Plan

Under the Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Act 2022, the Office is responsible for auditing the New Zealand Health Plan (Te Pae Waenga) and the reporting against the Interim New Zealand Health Plan (Te Pae Tata).

The New Zealand Health Plan is intended to be a costed three-year plan for the publicly funded health system. As part of our audit, we expect to gain insights into the performance of the health system. We will report our observations on the information available. We will also share any insights we gain from our audit into variation in health outcomes, service quality, and access to services across different population groups and regions.

The systems and processes for reporting performance against two government targets

Cabinet recently approved nine government targets that focus on health, education, law and order, work and employment, housing, and the environment. The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet is responsible for reporting on progress to achieving these targets every quarter. Performance against the targets will be published on the websites of responsible public organisations. Where these targets are included in the audited performance information of public organisations, the annual audit will examine the reporting against these targets. We will also carry out a performance audit looking at the systems and processes for measuring and reporting on two government targets related to the justice sector.

Planned work: Systems and processes for measuring and reporting performance against the Government targets for the justice sector
Public sector change iconTwo of the nine Government targets relate to the justice sector:
  • a 15% reduction in the total number of children and young people with serious and persistent offending behaviour; and
  • 20,000 fewer people who are victims of an assault, robbery, or sexual assault.
In 2024/25, we will complete a performance audit looking at the quality of the underlying systems, processes, and controls for these two targets and the plans to meet them over time. This will include looking at the steps agencies have put in place to:
  • ensure that appropriate information is gathered to measure performance;
  • provide assurance about the reliability of reported performance; and
  • identify and manage any risks of unintended incentives or consequences of implementing and reporting against targets.

Increasing the focus on value for money

We want to see public organisations use information to plan, measure, and report on the benefits from their spending. Cost inflation and tighter budgets mean that public organisations need quality information to inform investment decision-making, budget for initiatives, and operate more efficiently. This includes improving the quality of business cases for significant investments and the systems and processes that support investment and operational decision-making.

We will increase our focus on how public organisations consider and demonstrate value for money in our performance audits and select committee briefings. We will also share good practice and lessons learned.

International approaches to planning and reporting value for money

Value for money is one aspect of performance. The concept is used in various ways by different public organisations – nationally and internationally. We want to look at the different ways that public organisations consider and measure value for money.

Planned work: Principles and approaches to the assessment of value for money
Challenging economic environment iconIn 2024/25, we will analyse and report on the different ways in which value for money is thought about and measured nationally and internationally in the public sector. We will look at how public organisations and other audit offices approach the assessment of value for money, identify good practice, and consider the role that parliaments have in scrutinising the value from public spending.

Strategic financial management

We regularly report that public organisations do not provide enough meaningful and transparent information about what value they get from their spending. The connection between financial performance and service performance is often hard to find. Good financial planning and strategy should include identifying the expected benefits from spending and steps to measure the achievement of those benefits.

Public organisations should also understand the costs and cost drivers of their organisation and how they affect the delivery and sustainability of services and the achievement of outcomes. Doing so will help public organisations understand value for money and make good decisions about where and when to invest, reprioritise, or be more efficient.

In 2012, we looked at whether central government's financial management system supported good understanding and management of financial resources within and throughout government.7 We identified several opportunities for improvement, including using information to establish how public spending has led to changes in performance.

We are interested in how financial management has improved since our 2012 work.

Planned work: Strategic finance – how well set up are public organisations to plan for and deliver value for money?
challenging economic environment iconIn 2024/25, we will look at strategic financial management in a group of public organisations. We will look at the systems and processes that support understanding of the costs of services and the value they deliver. We are particularly interested in one or more of the following:
  • whether public organisations have a good understanding of the costs of services, relevant cost drivers, and future cost pressures, including for asset management;
  • whether public organisations have effective strategies to manage anticipated cost pressures;
  • how well budgeting processes reflect and incorporate long-term strategies and priorities; and
  • how well the public sector provides information about the financial performance and value for money of their activities.

Promoting a long-term view

New Zealand faces several long-term challenges that have consequences for public services and costs. These include adapting to the effects of climate change, changes in demographics, responding to the consequences of underinvestment in infrastructure, and tackling persistent issues of inequity. To respond to these challenges, planning and decision-making will need to take a long-term view and will often require co-ordination across government.

We will promote long-term planning in the public sector by encouraging public organisations to use data and information to make decisions that will result in better long-term outcomes for New Zealanders. This includes promoting integrated planning across the public sector where needed.

Auditing council long-term plans

The Local Government Act 2002 requires councils to prepare a long-term plan every three years. We audit every council's long-term plan and usually the associated consultation document to determine whether they meet their statutory purpose. We also provide our conclusions on the quality of the assumptions and other information used to inform the long-term plan.

The Water Services Acts Repeal Act 2024 repealed the Affordable Waters programme. In June 2024, the Local Government (Water Services Preliminary Arrangements) Bill was introduced in Parliament. The Bill requires councils to submit water services delivery plans to the Secretary for Local Government. Councils can choose to deliver water services alone or enter into a joint arrangement (including with a council-controlled organisation).

The Water Services Acts Repeal Act provides councils with options for when to have their 2024-34 long-term plans and consultation documents prepared and audited. Some councils can choose to:

  • have their consultation document and long-term plan audited by 30 June 2024;
  • not have their consultation document audited but have their long-term plan audited by 30 June 2024;
  • defer the audit of their long-term plan to after 30 June and by 30 September 2024; or
  • defer the audit of their consultation document and long-term plan by one year up to 30 June 2025.

We have adapted the timing of our audits according to the decisions councils have made about when and how to complete their long-term plans. A significant number of councils completed their long-term plans in 2023/24. We will report on our observations from our audits of those long-term plans in 2024/25.

Planned work: Reporting on long-term plan audits

challenging economic environment iconBecause some councils have deferred completing their long-term plans until 2025, our audits of long-term plans will continue into 2024/25. We will publish an interim report on the results of our audits of long-term plans of those councils that completed them in 2023/24. This interim report will include our observations on how councils have managed the challenges from producing long-term plans. We will also include our insights on what good governance and accountability for council-controlled organisations looks like, and how this can be applied to the new council-controlled organisations for water services.

Infrastructure investment iconWe will work closely with our Audit and Risk Committee Chairs Forum and local government sector groups, such as Local Government New Zealand and Taituarā, to share our observations and influence good practice throughout the local government sector.

Planning for, and responding to, the effects of climate change

The estimated costs of adapting to and mitigating the effects of climate change are significant and increasing. In New Zealand and globally, there is significant work under way to plan for and respond to the effects of climate change. The risks, strategy, and financial effects associated with addressing the challenges of climate change will need to be understood and planned for.

Work under way: ClimateScanner
Climate change iconClimateScanner is an INTOSAI* initiative in which audit offices around the world assess government actions related to climate change. The aim is for about 100 audit offices to complete a country assessment. In 2024/25, we will use ClimateScanner to assess and report on climate actions by the New Zealand public sector. We will also be supporting PASAI audit offices to complete the assessment. The results will be reported nationally and at the 2024 United Nations Climate Change Conference (more commonly known as COP29).

* INTOSAI is the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions.

Climate change and the role of local government

In our 2021/22 audits of councils' long-term plans, we looked at how councils factored climate change into their planning and proposed spending decisions, particularly for vulnerable areas and areas with significant infrastructure projects. Building on this work, we are carrying out a performance audit of how councils are responding to climate change.

Work under way: Climate change and local government
Climate change iconIn 2024/25, we will complete our performance audit of how a selection of councils are putting their climate change strategies, commitments, and plans into action. We will look at how councils identify actions to respond to the effects of climate change, how they are implementing those actions, and how they are reporting progress to their communities.

Reducing child poverty

Many children throughout New Zealand live in households where meeting everyday needs is a struggle. The Child Poverty Reduction Act 2018 requires the Government to set three-year and 10-year targets for reducing child poverty.

Although most of the Government's nine defined child poverty measures have trended downwards since 2018, data released by Statistics New Zealand for the year ending 2023 shows some measures of child poverty had increased since the previous year.8

There are also significant inequities in the rates of material hardship. The latest breakdown shows the percentage of New Zealand European children living in material hardship is 9.4%, Māori children 21.5%, disabled children 22.3%, and Pacific children 28.9%.

The Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy and associated Programme of Action sets out actions to reduce child poverty. A ministerial review of the Strategy in late 2022 found that although there is strong agreement with the vision and outcomes in the Strategy, implementing it could be better supported. This includes improved co-ordination and alignment across, and between, public organisations and communities, and more intentional steps to embed te ao Māori concepts of well-being.

Work under way: Examining the effectiveness of government arrangements to address child poverty

Persistent inequity iconIn 2024/25, we will complete a performance audit looking at the effectiveness of government arrangements to address child poverty. We are looking at governance, management, and monitoring and reporting arrangements. We will examine whether these arrangements are effective.

Given the higher rates of child poverty among Māori, Pacific people, and people with disabilities, we are also looking at how well public organisations are engaging with these groups to inform their plans and actions. We want to understand what is working well and the opportunities for improvements.

Infrastructure resilience

New Zealand remains vulnerable to many hazards and risks, and it is inevitable that the public sector will have to respond to more adverse events in the future. New Zealanders rely on public organisations to appropriately resource and actively maintain arrangements for dealing with emergencies and other crises. This includes planning for critical lifeline infrastructure assets to ensure that they are resilient to both medium- and long-term challenges.

In our work on the government's response to Covid-19, and on emergency management more generally, we have commented on the need for public organisations to proactively engage with the public on their preparedness and response activities. Work to improve response arrangements needs to inform, and be informed by, wider conversations with the public.

As emergency events are likely to become more frequent and severe, the public needs confidence that public organisations are planning for the resilience of our critical infrastructure. The public also needs to understand what level of service is planned from critical lifeline infrastructure organisations during and after an emergency event.

Planned work: Infrastructure resilience
Infrastructure investment iconIn 2024/25, we will start a performance audit looking at critical lifeline infrastructure resilience. We want to look at the lifeline utilities responsible for essential services (such as wastewater management, flood protection, or electricity network provision), particularly their plans to restore services after a significant event, what levels of service are planned, how public organisations understand the level of inherent risk in their infrastructure, and how transparent those planned levels of service are to the public.

Improving access to housing

Research has consistently shown the positive effects of warm, dry, safe, and affordable housing on a range of social outcomes.

In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of people waiting for public housing and people in emergency housing. According to government data, there were about 3100 households in emergency housing in December 2023. Of these households, 60% had been in emergency housing for more than 12 weeks. These challenges disproportionately affect Māori and Pacific families.

The Government has set a target to reduce the number of households in emergency housing by 75%. We want to understand what work is under way to do this and how effective it is at meeting housing needs.

Planned work: Addressing housing deprivation
Persistent inequity iconIn 2024/25, we will start a performance audit looking at the effectiveness of the steps public organisations are taking to improve access to housing, particularly for those communities who disproportionately experience housing deprivation. This could include looking at improvements being made to the emergency housing system and the progress of the 2020 homelessness action plan.

Access to health services

Timely access to primary health care is critical to supporting health and well-being. Eliminating long waiting lists and having a timeline to achieve this were part of the motivation for the recent health reforms. Targets for waiting lists are also part of the Government targets for the health sector.

There are interdependencies between accessibility of planned care and primary care. Delays in accessing planned care can create additional demand for patient support from general practitioners and emergency departments, which adds to existing pressures.

In 2020, $282.5 million was provided over three years to improve planned care delivery, address backlogs associated with Covid-19, and reduce waiting lists.

Planned work: Assessing progress in reducing waiting lists for planned care

Persistent inequity iconIn 2024/25, we will start a performance audit looking what is being done to reduce waiting lists for planned care.*

As part of assessing how the recent investment in planned care has been managed, we will consider how effectively data is used to identify issues and make appropriate changes to the availability and delivery of planned care. This could include looking at inequities of access to planned care and the extent of any unmet need. Our work might focus on planned care as a whole or look more specifically at a particular service. We may also look at how interdependencies between primary and emergency care and the planned care system are understood and managed.

* Planned care describes medical and surgical services that are not required as an emergency or not funded through the Accident Compensation Corporation.

Diversion and early interventions with youth across the justice sector

The Government recently announced that it is targeting a 15% reduction in the total number of children and young people with serious and persistent offending behaviour by 2029.

We are interested in how agencies are using early interventions to support young people who are at risk of entering the justice system. This includes interventions that divert young people from the courts.

Planned work: Diversion and early interventions with youth across the justice sector

If a child or young person is referred to Youth Aid, the child can be given a warning, an "alternative action" (such as reparation, an apology to the victim, or other interventions such as mentoring and short-term community work), or referred to Oranga Tamariki for a family group conference.*

In 2024/25, we will start a performance audit that looks at the effectiveness of Youth Aid's alternative action plans. Alternative action is a New Zealand Police diversionary response aimed at lower-level youth offenders. This intervention involves putting in place a plan between the youth, their parents or caregivers, and the New Zealand Police.

* See Ministry of Justice (2013), "Youth Crime Action Plan 2013-2023: Summary", at

Education outcomes

A stable and strong education system keeps students engaged and motivated and supports them to achieve their full potential. However, New Zealand's education system does not produce equitable outcomes for all students. Poor education outcomes will often affect the student throughout their adult life.

We will publish a report on how well the Ministry of Education uses information to identify, understand, and address educational disparities.

Work under way: Understanding and addressing educational disparities
Persistent inequity iconIn 2024/25, we will complete our performance audit on how effectively the Ministry of Education uses information to promote equitable outcomes for all students in Years 1-13. We will consider how effectively the Ministry understands inequities in student outcomes and how this understanding is used to develop, target, and prioritise responses.

Supporting strong organisational integrity practices

Operating with integrity is fundamental to maintaining trust and confidence. We will support and influence governors and leaders of public organisations to meet their stewardship responsibilities and uphold integrity in the public sector.

Our work helps maintain the public sector's international reputation as operating with high integrity. Although New Zealand ranks highly in most international measures of integrity, our drop in the 2023 Corruption Perceptions Index ranking shows that we cannot be complacent. Public trust and confidence provide public organisations the social licence to operate.

We want leaders of public organisations to set an appropriate tone from the top and to:

  • take a system approach to integrity issues and develop strong organisational practices, including reporting;
  • understand te ao Māori perspectives on integrity and what this means for their organisation; and
  • be accountable for their own ethical leadership.

In recent years, we have published a range of work to support public organisations to promote stronger integrity practices. This work includes an integrity framework, online tools, blogs, articles, and reports. In 2024/25, we will continue to use this work to influence improved integrity practices.

Public sector Integrity Day

We will continue to raise awareness of the importance of integrity in the public sector and create opportunities for public organisations to discuss integrity issues. In 2024, we launched the first public sector Integrity Day. This included hosting webinars that featured national and international speakers who addressed current integrity challenges. Building on the success of our first Integrity Day, we will run a similar event in early 2025.

Performance audits with a focus on integrity

In 2022, we published our integrity framework: Putting integrity at the core of how public organisations operate. Since then, we have been regularly monitoring integrity practices across the public sector. To date, we have carried out two integrity audits looking at:

  • how councils manage conflicts of interest; and
  • how public organisations support integrity practices when they procure goods and services during emergencies.

In 2023/24, we created a performance audit methodology based on the integrity framework. In 2024/25, we will carry out a performance audit using this methodology.

Planned work: Establishing a culture of integrity

Declining trust iconIn 2024/25, we will start a performance audit looking at how public organisations establish a culture of integrity.

Public sector leaders have a critical role in encouraging, supporting, and role modelling the integrity they expect from their people and organisations. Complying with integrity-related policies and rules is important. However, consideration also needs to be given to broader ethical matters. Public sector leaders have a role in demonstrating and promoting that integrity is not just about compliance, but about doing the right thing.

In this performance audit, we will look at how public sector leaders are championing an integrity culture in their organisations. This could include how leaders:

  • promote policies and procedures to support and measure integrity in an organisation;
  • create an organisational culture of integrity;
  • build integrity capability in their organisation; and
  • stay up to date with integrity issues, trends, and supporting tools and resources.
This performance audit might focus on an organisation or organisations that have faced recent integrity issues or have an operating context that presents specific challenges to establishing and maintaining a healthy integrity culture. This performance audit might also draw on relevant insights from our ongoing work with the New Zealand Defence Force.

Operation Respect (New Zealand Defence Force)

Operation Respect, a programme aimed at eliminating inappropriate and harmful behaviours and sexual violence in the New Zealand Defence Force, was launched in 2016. In 2020, the Ministry of Defence commissioned an independent review of the programme. The reviewers recommended that the New Zealand Defence Force request that the Auditor-General carry out an audit of the New Zealand Defence Force's progress on Operation Respect every two years for the next 20 years.

We intend to carry out regular performance audits of Operation Respect to determine how effectively the New Zealand Defence Force is implementing the programme and achieving its outcomes. Over time, this will help the New Zealand Defence Force understand whether the aims of Operation Respect are being achieved.

Our first performance audit of Operation Respect focused on how effectively the New Zealand Defence Force had designed and reset Operation Respect. In March 2023, we completed this audit and a monitoring report that established a baseline for measuring the New Zealand Defence Force's progress in implementing Operation Respect.

Planned work: Operation Respect second performance audit
In 2024/25, we will complete our current performance audit, which we started in late 2023/24. We are looking at how the New Zealand Defence Force is implementing key initiatives in their new Operation Respect strategy and action plan, with a focus on leadership and accountability and the complaints and discipline systems.

Measuring and monitoring integrity

In 2022/23, we encouraged public organisations to assess their organisation using our integrity framework. However, measuring whether organisations are making improvements in integrity is not easy. Organisations have asked for additional guidance on how to best measure and monitor integrity.

Work under way: Guidance on measuring and monitoring integrity
Declining trust iconIn 2024/25, we plan to publish guidance on measuring and monitoring integrity. We will draw on the work we are doing in our organisation along with insights from developing an integrity-focused performance audit methodology. This work will also involve a literature review, with a focus on auditing culture and existing ethics and integrity assessment tools. Our work will also be informed by examples from public organisations that are implementing the integrity framework.

Managing conflicts of interest

Properly identifying and managing conflicts of interest is important to maintaining public trust and confidence and avoiding allegations of biased or corrupt behaviours. In the public sector procurements we examine, we regularly find issues in how conflicts of interest are managed.

When Ministers make decisions, it is crucial that there are sufficient and appropriate systems and processes in place to support them in identifying any relevant interests they might have, and to help them manage any actual or potential conflicts that might arise. The Cabinet Manual sets out expectations and processes for how Ministers should manage conflicts of interest. The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet plays a key role, working with Ministers to ensure that these processes operate effectively.

In 2024/25, we intend to look at how the conflicts of interest processes in the Cabinet Manual work in practice to support trust and confidence in decisions being made at a Ministerial level.

Planned work: Ministerial conflicts of interest – how they are being identified and managed
Declining trust iconIn 2024/25, we intend to examine and report on the operation and implementation of systems and processes to support Ministers to identify and manage conflicts of interest in their decision-making.

Cross-cutting work

Insights into public accountability at the community level

Public organisations that connect with communities are more likely to be trusted by those communities. We have been carrying out work into how public organisations are accountable to communities and the role that accountability plays in supporting public trust and confidence.

Work under way: Accountability in partnerships between public organisations and communities
Declining trust iconIn 2024/25, we will complete a project that looks at accountability arrangements in partnerships between public organisations and communities. Using case studies, we will explore what accountability practices exist, why they are used, how they work, and their role in supporting partnerships between public organisations and communities. We will report our findings.

Immigration – skilled residence visas

Immigration is important to public services, businesses, and communities. It reunites families and brings skilled workers, students, and people on working holidays into the country. Immigration New Zealand manages the decision-making process for applications for skilled residence visas.

New Zealand's immigration system requires careful management. Migrants' experience of the immigration system matters because it can influence whether they connect to, and decide to settle in, New Zealand. People with the skills that the economy needs for the longer term are in high demand by many countries. At the same time, visa decision-making processes must support New Zealand's safety and security.

Work under way: Immigration New Zealand – skilled residence visas

Security challenges iconIn 2024/25, we will complete a performance audit looking at how effectively Immigration New Zealand is managing its decision-making process for applicants for skilled residence visas. This will include looking at how effectively Immigration New Zealand uses information to improve its performance and to show how the skilled residence visa system is working.

We will highlight any strengths that we find in Immigration New Zealand's decision-making process about skilled residence visas and, where appropriate, suggest where improvements can be made.

Cyber security maturity and preparedness

The public sector depends on information and communication technology to do its job. Maintaining the integrity, availability, and confidentiality of information in public sector networks and systems is vital. Protection of information, particularly private information, is important for maintaining trust in public organisations.

Without fit-for-purpose cyber security, New Zealand cannot protect its intellectual property, ensure that government and democratic processes remain free from interference, or maintain its reputation as a stable and secure place to live and do business. In 2023/24, we started a performance audit to see how a range of public organisations responsible for critical infrastructure and/or key services govern their cyber security risk preparedness and response.

Work under way: Cyber security maturity and preparedness
Security challenges iconTechnological change iconIn 2024/25, we will complete a performance audit of how well a number of public organisations govern their cyber security risk preparedness and response. This includes known and emerging risks from legacy systems and new technology (including generative artificial intelligence, cloud storage, and "as a service" activities).

Auckland Council service performance

We regularly produce reports that focus on Auckland Council to meet our requirements under the Local Government (Auckland Council) Act 2009.

Planned work: Auckland Council review of service performance
Section 104 of the Local Government (Auckland Council) Act 2009 requires the Auditor-General to review the service performance of Auckland Council and each of its council-controlled organisations from time to time. We are assessing possible topics for this next review.

Equity of outcomes

The Productivity Commission reported in 2023 that 697,000 New Zealanders experience persistent disadvantage, with sole parents and Pacific peoples experiencing the highest rates, followed by Māori and people with disabilities.9

Disparities of outcomes in income, health, and education for parts of the population are long-standing challenges that public organisations have increasingly focused on addressing.

We have previously looked at some of these issues. In 2023/24, we reported on how well the mental health system is meeting the needs of young people. We are currently investigating how data is used to address disparities in educational achievement.

We want to understand the availability of data about equity of outcomes delivered through public services for different groups, including Māori and Pacific communities, disabled people, the rainbow community, and isolated or vulnerable communities. Our interest includes the extent to which goals and outcomes sought by public organisations reflect equity considerations and whether there is adequate reporting of progress towards achieving these goals.

Planned work: What is the state of reporting on equity?

Persistent inequity iconIn 2024/25, we will carry out a scan of the existing information reported by organisations to understand the extent to which it considers equity of public service outcomes for different groups and communities.

This could include looking at whether there are specific equity-related goals being targeted in relation to services, the frameworks used to measure equity of outcomes, and how progress towards equity goals are reported to both the public and Parliament.

We aim to provide a picture of where information is available and where there are gaps, to help us understand the extent to which public organisations are considering equity of outcomes in relation to their services. This work will help identify where we might do future work on equity of outcomes.

Tracking the impact from our performance audit work

Within two years of completing a performance audit, we write to the audited public organisations to see what progress has been made against our recommendations. We publish the organisations' responses on our website. We also use the responses to decide whether any further follow-up work is needed.

In 2024/25, we will consider what type of follow-up is appropriate for the matters raised in these performance audit reports:

We will also follow up on the actions identified during our review of personal protective equipment during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic.

6: See the Finance and Expenditure Committee (May 2024), Finance and Expenditure Committee Scrutiny Plan for the 54th Parliament, at

7: Controller and Auditor-General (2012), Reviewing financial management in central government, at

8: Statistics New Zealand (2024), Child poverty statistics: Year ended June 2023, at

9: Productivity Commission (2023), A fair chance for all: Breaking the cycle of persistent disadvantage, at