New Zealand's Public Finance Act at 30: lessons, achievements and future directions

Friday, 26 July to Sunday, 28 July 2019

Victoria Business School, Rutherford House, 23 Lambton Quay, Wellington, New Zealand

July 2019 marked the 30th anniversary of New Zealand’s highly regarded Public Finance Act 1989.

The Act represented a landmark in that it both established pioneering reforms of financial management at the whole of government level and redefined how individual government departments function and are held accountable.  However, significant as that legislation was, it has not remained cast in stone; rather it has continued to evolve to meet the changing context of public financial management.

PFA30 was hosted by the School of Accounting and Commercial Law at Victoria University of Wellington and supported by the New Zealand Treasury, the Controller and Auditor-General of New Zealand, and Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and CPA Australia.

The welcome and opening session took place in the New Zealand Parliament's Legislative Council Chamber and Grand Hall.

About the PFA30 conference

A range of international and New Zealand speakers, including leading academics, public servants and past Ministers of Finance, reflected on:

  • the initial objectives of the Act and the main features of the reformed system;
  • the extent to which the objectives were achieved;
  • the nature of subsequent changes to the Act and their impact;
  • the implications of current proposals to make further amendments;
  • what lessons New Zealand’s experience might provide for other countries; and
  • what lessons other countries might provide for New Zealand.

The publication of the proceedings of the conference will serve to document the rationale for the Public Finance Act 1989 and subsequent amendments and to record the experience of those who used the Act to shape New Zealand’s model of public governance.

Speakers' slide presentations:

Friday, 26 July 2019

Recollections and Highlights
Ian Ball, Professor of Public Financial Management, Victoria Business School

Saturday, 27 July 2019

PFA Basics
Ian Ball, Professor of Public Financial Management, Victoria Business School  (Setting a new course)

Thirty Years On – How is it Progressing?
Struan Little, Acting Secretary to the Treasury
Neil Cherry, Deputy Director-General, Corporate Services, Ministry for Primary Industries
John Ryan, Controller and Auditor-General of New Zealand

Insights from International Financial Institutions
Vitor Gaspar, Director, Fiscal Affairs Department, International Monetary Fund
Jim Brumby, Senior Adviser, Equitable Growth Finance and Institutions, World Bank
Ian Carruthers, Chair, International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB)

An Investor’s Assessment of New Zealand’s Public Financial Management
Paul Kazarian, Chairman and CEO, Japonica Partners

Academic Perspectives from Switzerland
Andreas Bergmann, Professor, ZHAW School of Management and Law

A Future Strategy for Public Financial Management in New Zealand
Struan Little, Acting Secretary to the Treasury

Sunday, 28 July 2019

The Impact of the PFA on the Accounting Profession
Stephen Walker, President, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and Executive Director, Audit New Zealand

An Act of Fiscal Responsibility
Ruth Richardson, former NZ Minister of Finance

Solving the Hard Problems
Ken Warren, Chief Accounting Advisor, The Treasury

Making Wellbeing Work
Girol Karacaoglu, Professor, School of Government, Victoria Business School

Accounting for Well-being
Adrian Crompton, Auditor General for Wales

Speakers

Speakers included:

  • Hon Grant Robertson, Minister of Finance
  • Former Ministers of Finance Sir Roger Douglas, Hon Ruth Richardson, and Hon David Caygill
  • Vitor Gaspar, Director, Fiscal Affairs Department, International Monetary Fund
  • Jim Brumby, Director, Governance Global Practice, World Bank
  • Ian Carruthers, Chair, International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board
  • Paul Kazarian, Japonica Partners
  • Professor Andreas Bergmann, Zurich University of Applied Sciences
  • Professor John Wanna, Australian National University
  • Adrian Crompton, Auditor-General for Wales
  • John Ryan, Controller and Auditor-General of New Zealand
  • Andrew Kibblewhite, Secretary for Justice and Chief Executive, Ministry of Justice
  • Struan Little, Acting Secretary to the Treasury
  • Graham Scott, NZ Productivity Commission and former Secretary to the Treasury
  • Lyn Provost, former Controller and Auditor-General
  • Ian Ball, Professor of Public Financial Management, Victoria University of Wellington

Conference programme

A final copy of the conference programme is available here.

PFA30 conference dinner

The conference dinner was held on Saturday, 27 July at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

For all enquiries, please contact: PFA30@vuw.ac.nz

vic-logo