In public administration circles there are two widely accepted stylised facts about New Zealand. First, New Zealand implemented sweeping public sector reforms and was at the forefront of the New Public Management movement. Second, New Zealand scores very well on several international league tables measuring the quality of government.
This paper considers possible connections between these stylised facts by looking at reforms of financial management, institutional structures, information management and appointment processes in New Zealand. Recent data from the government-commissioned “Kiwis Count” surveys is used to identify which aspects of government performance are most important to New Zealanders. It seems that though most commentators have focused on finance and institutional reforms, earlier reforms involving open information, non-political appointments and public accountability are more significant to New Zealanders.