Publications produced during 2021

This is a list of the publications produced in 2021 (the most recent items are listed first).
Budget announcement on infrastructure spending Budget announcement on infrastructure spending

21 December 2021: We have replied to Andrew Bayly MP about his concerns about a lack of supporting information for Budget 2021 announcements regarding $57.3 billion for forecast spending on infrastructure over the five years 2020/21 to 2024/25.

Tertiary education institutions: Main findings from our 2020 audits

December 2021: We wrote to chairpersons and chief executives of Te Pūkenga and wānanga, and chancellors and vice-chancellors of universities, about the main findings of our 2020 audits of tertiary education institutions. We also set out our general observations of the impact of Covid-19 on the tertiary education sector and provide specific commentary about Te Pūkenga and its Crown entity subsidiaries.

Observations from our central government audits: 2020/21

December 2021: This report sets out the operating environment for central government, the results of our audit of the Financial Statements of the Government of New Zealand for the year ended 30 June 2021, our work carrying out the Controller function, and our observations about performance reporting across central government.

Inquiry into the Ministry of Social Development’s funding of private rental properties for emergency housing

December 2021: In 2020, issues were raised about the Ministry of Social Development's use of private rental properties as emergency housing. These included issues about the quality of some of the private rental properties, the amount that the Ministry paid for the rental properties, and the impact on the long-term rental market of using private rental properties as emergency housing. We carried out an inquiry into these matters.

Consulting matters: Observations on the 2021-31 consultation documents

December 2021: Councils need to provide their communities with reliable and clear information about the matters proposed for inclusion in their long-term plan and the costs of these so that their community can engage with and provide feedback on this. This report provides our observations on councils' 2021-31 long-term plan consultation documents.

Results of the 2020 school audits

December 2021: This detailed information sets out the results of the school audits for 2020. We have provided this information, and a list of recommendations, to the Secretary for Education.

Completeness of Budget estimates information Completeness of Budget estimates information

2 November 2021: We have replied to Mr Andrew Bayly MP and Hon Michael Woodhouse MP about their concerns about the quality of reporting on public expenditure and the ability of the Estimates of Appropriations to serve their wider purpose as a key accountability mechanism.

Our observations on local government risk management practices

October 2021:We have previously reported that risk management was one of the least mature elements of governance in the public sector. Therefore, we carried out work to better understand the current state of councils' risk management, where the challenges and issues are, and what support councils need to improve how they manage risk.

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.

Annual report 2020/21

October 2021: This 2020/21 annual report describes the work we have carried out to demonstrate how we will achieve our ultimate outcome – that Parliament and the public have trust and confidence in New Zealand's public sector.

Controller update: September 2021

28 September 2021: This update explains recent events in Parliament’s authorising of public expenditure and our work in monitoring Government spending and providing assurance to Parliament and the public.

The Government’s preparedness to implement the sustainable development goals

August 2021: In 2015, all members of the United Nations adopted The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 sustainable development goals. These goals encompass social, environmental, and economic sustainable development to improve life for current and future generations. We carried out a review of how the Government is demonstrating its commitment to the 2030 Agenda. We looked at what arrangements are in place and how the Government is encouraging stakeholders and the public to engage with efforts to achieve the goals by 2030.

Responses about our functional leadership recommendations

2 August 2021: We asked New Zealand Government Procurement (in the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment) and Te Kawa Mataaho (the Public Service Commission) for an update on their response to recommendations we made in 2019 about the functional leadership of the government's procurement work.

District health boards: Main findings from the 2019/20 audits

July 2021: We summarise the main findings from our 2019/20 audits of district health boards and other relevant work we have done. We highlight matters that might need attention in the year ahead, including management and governance capacity for dealing with change, tracking performance, and risk management.

Annual plan 2021/22

June 2021: Our annual plan outlines our discretionary programme of work for 2021/22 – performance audits, special studies, regular reports and updates, and good practice guidance. This is work that we consider will help us to achieve our ultimate outcome – that Parliament and the public can have trust and confidence in New Zealand’s public sector.

Housing and urban development: The challenges and our interest

June 2021: We outline some of the challenges in housing and urban development, how the “system” works and who does what, and our interest in the housing sector. We also summarise housing-related advice we gave to the Social Services and Community Committee in February 2021.

Hutt South office lease arrangements

24 June 2021: We have replied to Chris Bishop MP about his request for us to inquire into the sublease arrangements between Ginny Andersen MP, the Labour Party Hutt South branch, and the New Zealand Professional Firefighters Union.

Strategic suppliers: Understanding and managing the risks of service disruption

June 2021: The public sector provides many public services that are important to New Zealanders, including services that keep our towns and cities running, support people in need, build our skills, and help keep us safe. New Zealanders expect these public services to be available when they need them, particularly during personal or national emergencies. We looked at how well placed the public sector is to meet New Zealanders’ expectations when public services rely on third-party suppliers.

Working in new ways to address family violence and sexual violence

June 2021: In September 2018, the Government announced the formation of the Joint Venture for Family Violence and Sexual Violence. The joint venture is accountable for significantly reducing family violence and sexual violence and involves new ministerial arrangements, new public service governance arrangements, and new ways for agencies to work. We carried out a performance audit of this new way of working.

Preparations for the nationwide roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine

May 2021: The Covid-19 Immunisation Programme is critical to New Zealand’s response to Covid-19. This report provides an independent view on how ready the Ministry of Health and district health boards are to roll out the vaccine to the general population.

Management of the Wage Subsidy Scheme

May 2021: The Wage Subsidy Scheme is the Government's largest single area of spending in response to Covid-19. We carried out a performance audit to review how well the Government has managed the Wage Subsidy Scheme. This report is intended to provide an independent perspective to Parliament and the public and help the public sector prepare for and operate any similar schemes in the future.

Long-term plan bulletins

April 2021: To assist councils with preparing the 2021-31 long-term plans (LTPs), we have produced bulletins that give guidance on financial and infrastructure strategies, good asset management, the assumptions underpinning the LTPs, and Covid-19 assumptions.

Controller update: July to December 2020 Controller update: July to December 2020

30 March 2021: Most government spending for the first six months of 2020/21 has been properly authorised and was within the law. However, one of the Covid-19 initiatives has led to unappropriated spending in 2019/20 and 2020/21.

Request to investigate Wellington City Council Request to investigate Wellington City Council

3 March 2021: In February 2021 we received an email from Councillor Fitzsimons of Wellington City Council raising concerns about decision-making by Wellington City Council and requesting an investigation by our Office. This is our response to Councillor Fitzsimons.

Submission on the Protected Disclosures Bill Submission on the Protected Disclosures Bill

29 January 2021: The Education and Workforce Committee is seeking submissions on the Protected Disclosures (Protection of Whistleblowers) Bill. This Bill proposes to strengthen whistleblowing processes for encouraging and protecting staff who speak up about wrongdoing. This is our submission.