New Zealand officials told to publish expenses data by 17 July

By on 09/07/2015
New Zealand officials told to publish expenses data by 17 July

New Zealand’s senior officials have today been told to publish details of expenses they have filed and gifts they have received no later than Friday, 17 July.

The country’s top bureaucrat Iain Rennie said senior civil servants in charge of departments – chief executives – must release details on travel expenses they have claimed, including the cost of accommodation, fares, meals and related costs, money they have spent on providing hospitality of any kind, as well as details of gifts they have received, in line with a disclosure regime he introduced in 2010.

State services commissioner Rennie said the regime serves to promote transparency and added: “It is imperative that public funds are spent judiciously, and that senior Public Servants model the highest standards of behaviour.”

He said that all chief executives “must make their own decisions about the expenses they incur and the acceptance of gifts or hospitality”, but added that, when making these decisions, “each chief executive needs to bear in mind the importance of responsibility and restraint when spending tax payers’ money, and where and when it is appropriate to accept gifts and hospitality on behalf of their agency.

“It is important,” he said, “that chief executives have the resources to do their job effectively, which may include travel and the need to engage with stakeholders and represent their agency at a range of functions.

“Equally, there is quite rightly a strong interest in how public money is spent and what gifts and hospitality senior Public Servants are receiving.”

Rennie published his data today, which shows that he spent a total of $16,056.17 in 2014-15, down from $27,099.42 in 2013-14 and $26,493.14 in 2012-13.

Chief executive of New Zealand’s Treasury, Gabriel Makhlouf told Global Government Forum in May that countries around the world could benefit from the South Pacific country’s high levels of transparency.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Global Government Forum, he said that New Zealand has a long tradition of transparency going back more than 30 years.

About Winnie Agbonlahor

Winnie is news editor of Global Government Forum. She previously reported for Civil Service World - the trade magazine for senior UK government officials. Originally from Germany, Winnie first came to the UK in 2006 to study a BA in Journalism & Russian at the University of Sheffield. She is bilingual in English and German, and, after spending an academic year abroad in Russia and reporting for the Moscow Times, Winnie also speaks Russian fluently.

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