2019/20

A list of our work produced between 1 July 2019 and 30 June 2020.
Local Authorities (Members’ Interests) Act 1968: A guide for members of local authorities on managing financial conflicts of interest

June 2020: The Local Authorities (Members' Interests) Act 1968 (the Act) is somewhat out of date and difficult to understand, and the rules are not always easy to apply in a modern local government context. That is why we have written this plain English guide. We want members who are covered by the Act, and those advising them, to be aware of the Act's rules and the steps they need to take to ensure that they do not inadvertently breach them. This guide also explains our statutory functions under the Act.

Annual plan 2020/21

June 2020: We set out our proposed work programme for 2020/21 and the work that we are considering for the following two years. We intend to use all our core functions to inform our work and, in particular, our assessment of the Covid-19 response and recovery effort. Other key work programmes will also continue, including assessing how well the public sector is delivering on outcomes for New Zealanders and progressing our multi-year programmes on procurement, public accountability, and well-being.

Ministry of Health: Management of personal protective equipment in response to Covid-19

June 2020: In April 2020, we agreed with the Ministry of Health to independently review its management of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the early stages of the country’s response to Covid-19. In times of crisis, people need to have trust and confidence in the systems and arrangements set up to support them. We decided that it was important to take an independent look at how the Ministry has been managing both the national reserve of PPE and the supply of PPE during the pandemic.

Local government procurement

May 2020: Last year we visited 21 councils throughout New Zealand to see how they carry out procurement. We heard about the challenges councils are facing and where they felt they could improve. Based on these visits, and observations from our other work on procurement, we wrote an article that poses a series of questions about procurement practice and culture.

Implementing the firearms buy-back and amnesty scheme

May 2020: As part of its response to the Christchurch mosque attacks, Parliament introduced a firearms buy-back and amnesty scheme. We examined how effectively and efficiently the Police implemented the scheme.

Reflecting on our work about water management

February 2020: People expect the water from their taps to be clean and safe, wastewater and stormwater to not pollute the environment, and our rivers, lakes, and oceans to be healthy ecosystems that are safe to swim in and to gather kai moana. We've looked at how well public organisations are managing water resources and delivering water-related services for the benefit of New Zealanders ...

Inquiry into Alpine Energy Limited's decision to install solar equipment at a senior executive's house

December 2019: Concerns were raised with us about certain procurement practices carried out by Alpine Energy, including a decision to install solar energy equipment on an employee’s house as part of a solar energy trial. We were interested in this decision because it raised questions about sensitive expenditure. Sensitive expenditure is a particular risk in the public sector – if it is not recognised and properly managed, public trust and confidence can quickly be eroded, regardless of the amount of money spent.

Central government: Results of the 2018/19 audits

December 2019: This report sets out the results of our audit of the Financial Statements of the Government of New Zealand for the year ended 30 June 2019 (the Government's financial statements) and of carrying out the Controller function.

Using “functional leadership” to improve government procurement

December 2019: Since 2012, New Zealand Government Procurement, a business unit in the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, has been responsible for leading improvements in government procurement. In this report, we have identified some important areas for New Zealand Government Procurement to focus on to further improve public sector performance and to be seen as the centre of excellence for procurement in the public sector.

Results of the 2018 school audits

November 2019: This detailed information sets out the results of the school audits for 2018. We have provided this information, and a list of recommendations, to the Secretary for Education.

Annual report 2018/19

October 2019: Our work is focused on improving the trust in, and the value of, our public sector. This report looks at how we contributed to this in 2018/19, and how we are positioning ourselves for the future.

Councillors' guide to the Auditor-General

September 2019: This booklet is for the elected members of councils and for new members in particular. It gives an overview of the Auditor-General's role and also outlines the kinds of interaction they can expect with the Auditor-General and with his staff.

Crown investment in freshwater clean-up

September 2019: We examined how the Ministry for the Environment administered four Crown freshwater clean-up funds for improving lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands. Our primary objective was to assess whether Crown funding was being used effectively to improve freshwater quality.

Managing freshwater quality: Challenges and opportunities

September 2019: In 2011, we published a report on how effectively Waikato Regional Council, Taranaki Regional Council, Horizons Regional Council, and Environment Southland managed the effects of land use on freshwater quality in their regions. We found that the effectiveness of the four regional councils' approaches was variable. In this report, we assess the progress they have made since 2011.

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.