Discussion papers

A list of the discussion papers published by the Office of the Auditor-General.
Building a stronger public accountability system for New Zealanders

October 2021: This discussion paper explores how well New Zealand's public accountability system is working in practice. For this work, we surveyed members of the public and interviewed people who work with the public accountability system. As public accountability is primarily about relationships between people, we focused on the views of people who experience the public accountability system and/or work with it.

Public accountability: A matter of trust and confidence

September 2019: This discussion paper is the first phase in a programme of work about the future of public accountability. It is not a detailed review of New Zealand's current constitutional arrangements, but explores the role public accountability plays in maintaining trust and confidence in the public sector.

Using development contributions and financial contributions to fund local authorities’ growth-related assets

August 2013: In their long-term plans, local authorities set out their forecast growth, proposed land use, and the infrastructure that might be needed in at least the next 10 years. We have reviewed how five local authorities use “growth charges”, such as development contributions and financial contributions, to fund the assets that they will need for the growth that they expect ...

Commentary on Affording Our Future: Statement on New Zealand's Long-term Fiscal Position

August 2013: The Treasury published "Affording Our Future: Statement on New Zealand’s Long-term Fiscal Position" (the 2013 Statement) in July 2013. The 2013 Statement provides a long-term financial view of the future to 2060 and is the third statement released by the Treasury under the Public Finance Act 1989. We looked at the 2013 Statement, the process used to prepare it, and the underlying financial model and assumptions used to support it as part of our 2012/13 work programme. Overall, we consider that the Treasury has done a good job in preparing the 2013 Statement, and presenting it in a way that is understandable and engaging ...

Managing public assets

June 2013: The report sets out the results of our “stocktake” of the physical assets in the public sector. It provides an overview of those assets, their condition and value, maintenance and renewals, and what information is reported to decision-makers about these matters...

Public sector financial sustainability

June 2013: This discussion paper explores international practices and current research in assessing and understanding public sector financial sustainability. The research concludes that financial sustainability is not a matter of subtracting expenses from revenue to find the gap. We need to sustain the services publicly expected, withstand shocks, and keep public confidence...

Reviewing financial management in central government

June 2012: To work out in a co-ordinated way where financial resources are directed, how they are controlled, and, ultimately, what value they create is fundamentally important. We have reviewed whether central government's financial management system allows us to understand and manage our financial resources within and throughout government and, if not, what needs to change.

Realising benefits from six public sector technology projects

June 2012: In this paper, we look at six public sector ICT-enabled projects that range in cost from a few hundred thousand dollars to tens of millions of dollars. We highlight some of the features of the projects' management that have led them to realise benefits successfully.