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Interim report

Preliminary findings and recommendations


Based on evidence and research we carried out or commissioned others to do, and information from our public engagement, our interim report provided preliminary findings and recommendations.


  • Scoping
    15 June 2021
  • Public engagement
  • Terms of Reference
    December 2021
  • Interim report
    29 September 2022
  • Public submissions
  • Summary of submissions Feb 2023
  • Final report
    31 May 2023

About 17% (724,000) of New Zealanders experienced persistent disadvantage in both 2013 and 2018. Young people, families and whānau can face multiple disadvantages holding them back, which can turn in to a cycle of persistent or intergenerational diadvantage. People and families face impossible choices every day, just trying to get by.

Our interim recommendations focused on the overall settings of the public management system.

Rather than recommending sector-specific policy changes or how individuals, communities and society in general can achieve change, we asked the question: what are the “upstream” system settings that hold persisitent disadvantage in place and what would enable change?

We identified four barriers to addressing persistent disadvantage that exist throughout the public management system and impact all sectors and all institutions:

  • power imbalances;
  • discrimination and the ongoing impact of colonisation;
  • siloed and fragmented government; and
  • short-termism and status quo bias.

This report was based on evidence and research we carried out or commissioned.

Read the interim report (PDF)

Read the interim report (HTML)

Read the overview (PDF)

Read the overview (HTML)

Submissions on interim report

We received 68 submissions on our provisional findings on this wide-ranging and complex topic. The submissions covered a range of perspectives, and a broad spectrum of themes.

The summary of submissions report outlines the key themes from the submissions we received on the interim report. These submissions will inform the final report for our inquiry into persistent disadvantage, which we expect to be released in May 2023.

What we heard

  • Communities who experience persistent disadvantage are often overlooked by the system.
  • The proposed public management system barriers (power-imbalances, discrimination, siloed government, and short-termism) were generally endorsed, with some challenges.
  • We need a system that prioritises wellbeing, is based on a person’s strengths, addresses advantage, as well as disadvantage, and is grounded in human rights.
  • The system needs to improve its accountability to people, whānau and communities.
  • There was agreement that the current accountability system needs reviewing and that it needs stronger stewardship.
  • Communities could be better at addressing persistent disadvantage if properly supported.
  • The system needs to be better at learning to improve services and to better understand the people it serves.


Read the summary of submissions on our A fair chance for all interim report.

Read Public Summary of Talanoa Session.

Read A Fair Chance for all – Haemata Wānanga (Feedback Report).

Productivity Commission's public webinar on fair chance for all interim report