Bureaucratic autonomy in New Zealand

Stream: Panel 30 - Public Policy & Social Justice: Public Sector Autonomy and Accountability 
Date: Tuesday, 27 September 2016
Time: 11.30 am – 1.00 pm


How autonomous are New Zealand Crown entities really? While agencification and the autonomy of governmental agenda has been high on the research agenda in most modern industrialised jurisdictions since the mid-1990s, the discussion in NZ on the role of the Crown entities has more indirectly touched upon this issue. Based on the international literature on agency autonomy, and accountability, this paper presents new empirical evidence. The study is based on semi-structured elite interviews with chief executives and from some survey data with middle-managers in NZ crown entities. The study shows that autonomy is a multifaceted concept in the New Zealand agency context, and does not necessarily means a vertical connection to the responsible ministry or to the board. Instead, other actors may be just a influential.


Karl Lofgren (Presenter), School of Government, Victoria University of Wellington

Evan Berman, School of Government, Victoria University of Welliington

Michael Macaulay, Victoria University of Wellington, IGPS