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KPMG called in to improve public spending on admin, support

Tuesday 30th March 2010

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KPMG has been called in by the Treasury to run a keen eye over the administration spending at the nine biggest spending government agencies in New Zealand.  

The Treasury appointed the accounting firm to investigate spending on administration and support services, which includes IT, HR, procurement, travel, real estate, facilities management, public relations, planning and strategy and finance, with a goal to identify agencies’ performance and identify opportunities to improve expenditure. The agencies that will be benchmarked are the Treasury, NZ Transport Agency, Inland Revenue Department, Ministry of Social Development, Housing NZ, Department of Internal Affairs, Ministry for Economic Development, the Defence Force and the Police.  

“The first phase of the BASS (Better Administrative and Support Services) Programme will help us understand where differences exist across the state sector and then identify how to achieve leading practice for administrative and support services by using an all-of-government perspective,” said John Crawford, Treasury’s general manager of crown  ownership and state sector performance, in a statement. “We don’t have any pre-determined solutions and no recommendations will be made until information gathering and analysis is completed.” 

The National-led government won the 2008 election on a mandate that included taking the fat out of government spending and improving the efficiency of the state sector. In the 2009 Budget, Finance Minister Bill English put the savings from their initial line-by-line review at $2 billion over four years.  

The KPMG review will also recommend ways to improve spending and how to boost transparency. The second phase of the review will see the accounting firm evaluate opportunities to increase the efficiency of the agencies’ spending, with subsequent stages including the analysis and implementation of the review’s recommendations.  

Cabinet has only approved funding for the first year of the programme, and will review its performance in July and August this year, according to the Treasury’s tender document.  


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