From Mandarin to Valet Public Service?
State sector reform and problems of managerialism in the New Zealand public service
Managerialism – the notion that the primary skills required to manage any specific organisation are a generic set of managerial skills – is now widespread in the New Zealand public service. Managerialism was enabled by the 1988 State Sector Act, especially that part establishing the fixed-term contracts and appointments of chief executives. The consequences have been a decline in departmental expertise and a public service which acts as a secretariat for the government of the day. Thus, New Zealand has shifted from a mandarin to a valet public service. Managerialism is identified by top appointees who lack specialist skills and sector experience, short employment durations, and the manner in which the State Services Commission has managed the reform process thus far.
Permission: In the interest of promoting debate and wider dissemination, the IGPS encourages use of all or part of the articles appearing in PQ, where there is no element of commercial gain. Appropriate acknowledgement of both author and source should be made in all cases. The IGPS retains copyright. Please direct requests for permission to reprint articles from this publication to firstname.lastname@example.org.