Between 1984 and 1999, a bipartisan elite of like-minded actors led the transformation of the New Zealand public service from a classical bureaucracy into a complex of competitive organisations informed by market principles. These changes, commonly referred to as 'the New Zealand model', were essential for a radical re-imagining of New Zealand society in commercial terms. As South Africa seeks ways to improve its public service, lessons may be learnt from the New Zealand experience of reformed public management.This article investigates that possibility. First, essential background is provided and an outline is sketched of the New Zealand political and constitutional context and of the ways in which the New Zealand public service was restructured. Second, adopting Jurgen Habermas's conception of democratic discourse as a critical benchmark, restructured public management in New Zealand is measured against criteria familiar to South Africans in the constitutional era. Finally, having outlined developments in New Zealand public management after 1999, tentative proposals are put forward for lessons that South Africa might learn from New Zealand's experience of new public management.
Barrett, J. (2007). Distant greener grass? Lessons for South Africa from New Zealand's experience of new public management. Politeia, 26(1), 18-32.