Search the site by keyword

Chair's message

Ka tangi te titi
Ka tangi te kaka
Ka tangi hoki ahau
Tihei Mauri Ora


Tēnā koe,

I‘m pleased to present the Productivity Commission’s Annual Report for the 2021–22 year, one best described as a year of transition and consolidation.

The foundation for our mahi, to provide research and advice to lift productivity for the wellbeing of all New Zealanders, was set by the Minister of Finance in his Letter of Expectations in May 2021. The Minister requested the Commission extend its engagement programme to include a wider range of people, communities, and organisations. We were tasked to look at the longer-term picture, and cross-cutting policy issues and settings, while maintaining at our core, robust and rigorous analysis with recommendations informed by data and evidence.

We began the year with the hope that COVID-19 disruptions were behind us, and we could plan a return to more face- to-face engagements to assist our inquiry and research work. However, the ongoing impact of the pandemic required the organisation and our staff to innovate and adjust once more. These changes have been positive and become our new normal and have helped the Commission respond to intense staffing challenges in a highly competitive employment climate experienced by many public and private sector agencies this year.

In a challenging, but productive year, the Commission successfully delivered our Immigration inquiry, proposing novel solutions to long-standing issues. One of the key recommendations in our final report was ensuring immigration policy is connected to other government plans and objectives around investments in infrastructure and workforce. Alongside the Infrastructure Commission’s proposal for a population plan, and taking a much longer-term focus, we believe there is significant potential to progress towards our productivity and wellbeing aspirations. 

Our staff ventured into new territory with a new inquiry, A Fair Chance For All: Breaking the cycle of persistent disadvantageThis inquiry required the Commission to engage with agencies, organisations and public prior to having a terms of reference agreed. The benefits from this process were positive, and we will take the learnings from this experience to continue to evolve our processes for future work. Ongoing work in this inquiry has continued at pace, with the Commission working hard to engage with a broader range of communities and to communicate the evidence and findings of our interim report.

The Commission received increased funding, which was used to increase the capacity and capability of our economics and research function. This gave the team a welcome boost, re-energising them to continue the value they provide to our inquiries, together with ongoing research and investigation into the links between productivity and wellbeing, at both the organisation and the sector level.

At a Commission-wide level, a refresh of our strategy builds on the foundation set over the first 10 years of the Commission. Following affirmation of our vision and purpose, we began developing areas of work to support a broader range of engagement in the community and to increase understanding of productivity. This included a stakeholder analysis and engagement plan; workforce retention and professional development programmes; building cultural competency and confidence; and clarifying governance, management and operations functions and responsibilities. This work is ongoing, and we will work on the establishment of success measures for reporting on in the coming year.

I look forward to an exciting year ahead as we work toward welcoming a new Commissioner to the team, establishing a new inquiry, completion of our A Fair Chance For All inquiry, and publication of the latest version of Productivity by the numbers.

It has been a fulfilling year with many highlights. I thank my fellow Commissioners for their assistance and contributions, and my wholesome congratulations to staff for all they have achieved during another challenging year.

Ngā mihi nui,

Dr. Ganesh Nana
New Zealand Productivity Commission | Te Kōmihana Whai Hua o Aotearoa

February 2023