Submissions sought on state sector productivity


The Productivity Commission is seeking submissions on its inquiry into measuing and improving state sector productivity.

The Productivity Commission has released an issues paper calling for submissions to its inquiry into state sector productivity.

“State sector productivity matters because it tells us how many public services are delivered for the government’s investment in them. That might sound simple, but measuring government productivity is notoriously difficult,” says Inquiry Director, Judy Kavanagh.

The Government has asked the Commission to investigate how to improve measurement of state sector productivity in the health, education, justice and social development sectors.

Ms Kavanagh says the inquiry process will also investigate what capability, culture and systems are necessary to support government agencies to better measure, understand and improve productivity.

“We know that performance measurement frameworks exist across all core agencies. The Commission is interested in what is currently in place, what works well, and what measures can be used to improve productivity and efficiency.”

Ms Kavanagh says the success of the inquiry will rely on the input, knowledge and advice of the sectors concerned. “This issues paper raises a number of technical questions about measuring productivity in core public services. We’re looking for submissions from anyone with an interest in how public sector productivity is measured, and how productivity improvement can be supported.”

The issues paper is now available at  and anyone interested in the topic can subscribe to receive regular updates.

Submissions on the inquiry are due by 8 September 2017. The Productivity Commission’s final report to the Government is due on 30 August 2018.

For further information see the state sector productivity inquiry page, or email or call Robyn Sadlier on 04 903 5167.

Media enquiries: Robyn Sadlier, 04 903 5167.

 Notes for editors

  1. The Productivity Commission is an independent Crown entity that carries out inquiries on topics referred to it by the Government.
  2. Public services are crucial to supporting the wellbeing of New Zealanders. The Government spends about $40 billion on health, education, justice and social development sectors each year, excluding transfer payments. This project will help agencies get more information about what the public is getting for that expenditure.
  3. In the long term, countries can only improve their standard of living through productivity improvements. In New Zealand, public services make up a large share of the national economy. Understanding how productive the state sector is, and how it can be improved, is as important to improving the long-term living standards of New Zealanders as improvements in other parts of the economy.
  4. Technical efficiency is about making sure each output is produced with the smallest amount of inputs. In this inquiry, it’s about how efficiently government delivers services, rather than about which services are delivered.
  5. Technical efficiency is only one dimension of public sector performance. Effectiveness, equity of access, quality, and public satisfaction all matter as well. Allocative efficiency – making sure we are spending money on the right things – is also very important. Departments have done a lot of work on these issues, and they all still matter, but haven’t thought as much about measuring technical efficiency.