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The Productivity Commission has been working to identify the key productivity challenges that would benefit from deep exploration via the Commission’s inquiry programme. This work was originally intended to be provided as advice to Ministers, to shape their decisions on the Commission's future inquiries work programme. Since the Commission is now to be disestablished, we have repurposed this work to set out an enduring productivity policy and research agenda.

This work is offered to inform the ongoing research and analysis on policy issues that matter for productivity and to support public debate, given the ongoing importance of productivity to Aotearoa New Zealand's future. 

The opportunities identified in this report – building from the work the Commission has done not just recently, but over its time in operation – illustrate that there is no one solution to Aotearoa New Zealand’s productivity challenges.

Rather, productivity improvements require co-ordinated, connected and cross-sector approaches and policies that align with cohesive objectives for our social and economic systems. Fed by aspirational objectives, productivity improvements are achieved through the implementation of transparent rules and accountabilities, enabling individuals, families, whānau, businesses, communities, hapū and iwi the ability to make choices reflecting their values and their best interests. 

In this context, this paper emphasises the importance of long-term thinking. This includes the importance of maintaining capacity (and institutions) with a focus on productivity to ensure continued focus, effort, and alignment across and beyond government. 

A key opportunity identified in this regard is the potential to develop an all-of-government productivity strategy. This could provide what has been lacking in the past – a coherent and aligned approach to productivity that looks to the future and its challenges and opportunities.

Aotearoa New Zealand’s productivity demise is long-term in its origins, and also in its solutions. Fundamentally, the core foundation required to achieve greater productivity for Aotearoa New Zealand is an approach that looks to the future. Such solutions must support the development of long-term, sustainable social, environmental, and economic systems consistent with hearing the voices of future generations. The increasing uncertainty posed by the myriad of challenges facing the communities of the 21st century, reinforces the need for a more integrated approach to lift productivity and deliver for all. In this way we can be aspirational not just for the current citizens of this land, but for those we have yet to see.

My thanks to the Commission team and workshop attendees along with other groups and individuals who provided insights for this work. Throughout this engagement, we heard the message that Aotearoa has strong business, community, and institutional foundations from which greater productivity can be achieved; but seizing this opportunity demands foresight, long-term commitment, and political will.

We encourage all to pick up this wero so that we can indeed be proud of the legacy we leave to future generations. Kia kaha

Ganesh Nana
New Zealand Productivity Commission