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Our governance and capability

Our governance

The Commission has three part-time Commissioners: Dr Ganesh Nana (Chair), Prof Gail Pacheco and Dr Bill Rosenberg. As the Board, they are accountable to Parliament and report to a responsible minister within Government, currently the Minister of Finance. The Chair and Commissioners are responsible for the effective governance of the Commission. This includes the appointment and performance of the management team, setting and monitoring strategic direction, delivery of and conformance with accountability documents, integrity of processes and the overall health, wellbeing, and sustainability of the organisation (including oversight and management of reputation and risk). Commissioners also oversee the delivery of our work programme and outputs, shaping the scope, content, balance, quality, and presentation of our work.

Looking to the future

Currently the Commission is developing a new strategic plan that focuses on operational and organisational improvements. The high-level strategy developed to date is focused on four key strategic initiatives:

  • Communicate and improve access to the Commission’s work.
  • Execute comprehensive stakeholder
  • Promote productivity and wellbeing
  • Ensure our people, processes and systems are all fit for purpose.

The Commission is currently developing the objectives and action plans related to these initiatives and these will be published in our next Annual Report.

Our people

The quality of our people is critical to our success. The Commission aims to attract and retain strong performers in their field, or those who have significant potential to contribute to our research or inquiry work. We employ people who bring diverse skills, disciplines, and backgrounds to benefit our organisation. Once with us, we strive to provide a rewarding environment where excellence is valued.

We place high importance on supporting staff to develop to their full potential and encourage staff to plan and progress their personal development. There has been a growing awareness that deeper understanding of Te Ao Māori is an essential capability to develop in our workplace.

Across all staff positions we typically employ between 15 to 20 people with approximately a 50–50 gender split. They are employed on a mixture of permanent and shorter, fixed-term contracts. We supplement our permanent staff with consultants to bring experience and fresh perspectives, as required, and through secondments to take advantage of expertise across the public sector. We also encourage our staff to take up secondments to develop their skills and experience.

Looking to the future

The Commission retained an external HR company to review HR policies and interview former and current staff and make recommendations, following high turnover of staff in 2021 and the beginning of 2022. The recommendations made in the report were incorporated into operational changes and strategic action plans, to create a positive workplace culture and ensure retention of staff.

Our capabilities

Our work demands a high level of capability in areas such as sourcing information, analysis, process management, engagement, communications and influencing. These capabilities ensure the publication of insightful and influential analysis, findings and recommendations based on the right information from robust processes.

Our key capabilities are measured indirectly through our performance measurement and inform our internal priorities for capability development and the reputation we aspire to as an organisation. This is vital to ensuring our work makes a difference to lift the productivity of New Zealand to improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders.

Supporting capabilities & systems What we want to be known for Our aim: to be an attractive place to work
Governance Deep productivity knowledge Valuing integrity, diversity and state sector conduct expectations
Leadership High-quality, evidence-based analysis
Culture & values Skilful communications Meeting "good employer" and EEO obligations
Policies Participative processes Safe and healthy working environment
Performance measurement Even-handed, non-political approach Open and transparent communication with our staff
Risk management Workable & relevant advice

We value diversity

The Commission values and embraces different and diverse ways of thinking and being. We aim for our thinking and actions to be informed by a diverse range of views from people, groups, and communities across Aotearoa New Zealand. We believe this approach is vital to enhance the credibility, value, and effectiveness of our work.

Our approach to diversity and inclusion

We believe that a diverse and inclusive approach to policy development is vital to lifting productivity and wellbeing for New Zealanders.

Our focus on diversity and inclusion will have a positive impact on our performance.

We have a responsibility as an employer and advisor to lead and role model in this area.

We recognise that we do not have all the answers and that we will make progress in this area through discussion, debate and feedback from our people and customers.

We are prepared to try new things and learn from our mistakes.


This year our Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan had two main goals: to develop a knowledge base on diversity and inclusion; and to take steps to build workforce diversity. Actions were progressed against these goals as follows:

1. Build initial information, knowledge, and awareness – to develop and promote a base of knowledge on diversity and inclusion.

  • A baseline workplace profile was provided to Commissioners.
  • A diversity and inclusion policy was drafted and will be finalised alongside our strategic refresh. This will be implemented with any necessary adjustments to our recruitment and employment processes.
  • Identification and implementation of staff awareness and education tools for diversity and inclusion has been discussed with the leadership team and will be progressed in the coming year.

2. Take formative steps to build workforce diversity – to develop and promote a base of knowledge to support processes that enable the employment and retention of a more diverse workforce.

  • We recognise the relative lack of women and Māori across the economics profession, and among senior roles. In response, we are trying to focus our recruitment on sourcing strategy(ies), channels, and advertising tools to attract a more diverse range of candidates. We are also pursuing development and leadership opportunities for women in the profession, including the encouragement of links to appropriate networks for staff.
  • We developed a careers section on our website to better communicate the Commission’s offering, including our commitment to becoming an equal opportunities employer, and to grow our knowledge and appreciation of Te Ao Māori.

Our Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan for the year ahead will further progress this year’s goals, while incorporating new goals around improving accessibility, attracting more women and Māori, and building a culture and workplace that embraces Te Ao Māori.

Strategic risks and building our reputation

Vital to our strategic success are several attributes outlined below. We see our strategic risks as the inverse of not achieving or sustaining these key areas of success.

When we assess strategic risk, we consider the environment in which we operate in and how we want to be known in that environment:

What we want to be known for Strategic risk area Our response

Deep productivity knowledge

Insufficient knowledge

Our research function and inquiry work contribute to a deep understanding of productivity. Through our work and that of others, we will continue to enhance this knowledge. We must also continue to pursue improvement in those areas highlighted through our performance evaluation exercises and make time for staff to pursue professional and knowledge development.

High-quality, evidence-based analysis

Weak analysis

The ongoing development of analytical capability will always be a priority for our overall performance. While high quality skills and experience in economics and public policy remain core requirements our mandate is broad indicating that intellectual and experiential diversity are also important considerations.

Skilful communication

Poor communications

We are always assessing the relevance and utility of our communications approach and tools. This includes understanding how we can ensure that our messages are clear, accessible, and effectively presented. We recently updated our website to improve navigation and accessibility and to better communicate what we do and why.

Participative processes

Poor process and/or engagement

Our engagement processes are often highlighted as a strength and a distinguishing feature of our approach relative to core government agencies. We are committed to continuous improvement, for example, our recently completed inquiry on Technological change and the future of work operated a different model with a series of short draft reports along with a blog that provided an alternative means of gathering views and reaching interested parties.

An even-handed approach

Bias and/ or loss of


We actively engage with a wide range of individuals and organisations to ensure we are exposed to all points of view, get the best available information and understand different perspectives. We are committed to providing independent advice.

Workable and relevant advice

Seen as overly theoretical and lacking practicability

The quality and workability of our recommendations will be an enduring focus. Overall, feedback to date indicates we are credible and influential through the quality and emerging impact of our work. It is critical that we remain focused on providing relevant and workable advice, and recommendations that can, with political will, be successfully implemented.