07 December 2021

The data we collect gives us information on public sector occupations, workforce size, the regional workforce and workforce diversity and inclusion.

As of 30 June 2021, there were the equivalent of 61,100 full-time public servants working in New Zealand across a wide range of occupations. These public servants delivered high-quality services, responded to global challenges, while implementing the Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Just under half work in the Wellington region, with 55% spread across the rest of the country.

The Public Service increased by 3,950 full-time equivalent roles in 2021. This workforce growth was primarily due to 2 factors:

  • The Government’s COVID response — set up and running MIQ, rolling out the vaccination response, implementation of financial support packages, and implementation of the new Maritime Border Order. This accounts for most of the growth and is expected to be temporary.
  • Delivering on government priorities — addressing increased security threats and the need for enhanced cybersecurity, increased investment in social services and reform of the care system, and investment to meet challenges posed by climate change and resource management.

Despite this extra work, the Public Service’s reliance on contractors and consultants is starting to trend down. There has been a 3% reduction in spending on contractors and consultants. This comes after public monitoring and reporting of this expenditure was established in 2019, with the aim to reduce reliance on external capability.

Find more information about contractor and consultant expenditure in Workforce Data — Workforce size