The way we work

MBIE is a large ministry with an ambitious and rewarding purpose – to Grow New Zealand for All. Everything we do at MBIE is about growing our economy and improving the lives and living standards of New Zealanders.

Our people

Our people are our taonga and greatest strength. Our diverse team of over 5,500 people (5,301 onshore and 242 offshore) work to support communities across Aotearoa New Zealand. There are also over 4,500 people across several agencies and employers working together to deliver MIQ services.

Our vision is for MBIE to be the place where people want to work. It is a place where our people are listened to, and feel safe and valued, while experiencing growth and meaning through their work. We aspire to better reflect the communities we serve and manaaki one another.

To deliver on our vision we need to empower and develop our people, and continually evolve our people practices in partnership with our key partners and stakeholders.

These important elements make up the four pillars that describe how we will bring our vision to life:

  • Whakamana/Empower: We create a safe, inclusive environment for our people to thrive.
  • Whakawhanake/Develop: We develop our people so they can grow and deliver for New Zealand.
  • Whakapakari/Evolve: We continually improve our processes and tools to make things easier for our people.
  • Whakakaha/Enable: We co-design innovative best fit solutions with our stakeholders and partners.

Māori-Crown relations

Our work supports the Crown in honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi/the Treaty of Waitangi. We believe that success is built on partnership. Effective and enduring relationships between iwi, other Māori groups and the Crown are critical to enable economic and social development, both for Māori and for wider Aotearoa New Zealand. We will continue to partner with Māori to find sustainable solutions to long-standing systemic and cross-cutting issues facing Māori and wider Aotearoa New Zealand.

Whāinga Amorangi phase one: empowering people

The ability to work in partnership with Māori needs to be enduring and consistent. We are developing an organisational plan to build our people’s capability in Māori-Crown relations. Phase one of the programme is built on leader-led change and focuses on empowering our people.

We recognise our people are at different stages of their journey and will require different levels of support to build their capability in Māori-Crown relations. Initially, we are targeting three competency areas: te reo Māori, Te Tiriti o Waitangi/New Zealand History Literacy, and Tikanga/Kawa.

Māori language planning

Our te reo Māori competency area is supported by our Māori language strategy, Te Ara Reo Rangatira. The strategy sets out the commitment of Hīkina Whakatutuki/MBIE to support the development and use of te reo Māori as a valued and living official language of Aotearoa New Zealand. This includes incorporating te reo Māori across everything we do. Language is the key to the door that opens the pathway across the bridge to te ao Māori and will enable MBIE to deliver on our commitment to partnering with Māori.

Decorative text: MBIE staff performing waiata

Inclusion and diversity

At MBIE, we value our people and strive to reflect, embrace and nurture the communities we serve. MBIE’s inclusion and diversity (I&D) strategy, Nō Kōnei – Belong, focuses on inclusion at the heart of our mahi to create a sense of belonging. An inclusive culture is essential if we are to attract and retain diversity at MBIE. A diverse workforce ensures multiple perspectives will be included into policy advice and service design, which will help Grow Aotearoa New Zealand for All.

ar 2020 21 demographic

*Total exceeds 100% because people can declare multiple ethnicities.

Age and gender

Age Female Male Gender
Unknown Total
20–29 11.9% 6.8% 0.1% 0.4% 19.1%
30–39 17.9% 10.7% 0.0% 0.1% 28.8%
40–49 14.4% 9.3% 0.0% 0.2% 23.9%
50–59 10.5% 7.4% 0.0% 0.0% 18.0%
60+ 3.6% 3.8% 0.0% 0.1% 7.4%
Unknown 1.8% 0.9% 0.0% 0.1% 2.7%
TOTAL 60.1% 39.0% 0.1% 0.9% 100%

The demographic data only includes people employed by MBIE and excludes people who support the delivery of MIQ while working for other employers.

To understand the experience of diverse population groups within MBIE, we have used human-centred design principles through our People Experience hub to engage with our tangata whenua, Pasefika , Asian and rainbow communities. This has supported us to identify actions we can take to work towards a more inclusive and equitable MBIE.

Decorative image: staff in a meeting room

Papa Pounamu: Driving diversity and inclusion across the public service

MBIE’s work programme is shaped by Papa Pounamu and the five priority commitments within the public service’s diversity and inclusion work programme.

Te āheinga ā-ahurea | Cultural competence

A key focus in MBIE is to reflect the significance of the Māori–Crown relationship and build our cultural competence, and confidence, across the broadest range of cultures. We have strengthened cultural competency through the implementation of a range of learning programmes, including:

  • Mana Āki, our intercultural competence programme, which aims to build intercultural awareness and understanding. Since launching in September 2020, 2,399 of our people have completed this programme. MBIE has shared the programme (as well as our insights and approach) with over 100 organisations across New Zealand
  • the Wall Walk workshop, which builds awareness of key events in our bi-cultural history. Launched in early 2021, 129 people leaders completed this programme by 30 June 2021
  • pilot programmes aimed at lifting cultural capability in relation to te reo Māori, tikanga and Te Tiriti o Waitangi/ Treaty of Waitangi. As of 30 June 2021, 330 participants attended the pilot workshops, which will inform a more structured learning approach for future years. In addition to the pilot programmes, 550 people have completed te reo Māori online learning modules, and 300 people have completed Te Tiriti o Waitangi/Treaty of Waitangi online learning modules. MBIE has also:
    • developed Te Ara Reo Rangatira, our te reo Māori strategy
    • offered noho marae visits for a number of leadership teams
    • continued embedding and living our values, including regular use of the MBIE karakia and the creation and launch of our MBIE closing karakia in June 2021
    • supported weekly waiata sessions across a number of locations across MBIE.

Te Urupare I te Mariu | Addressing bias

Addressing bias is critical to ensure all people are provided with opportunities during the recruitment, career progression and development stages of their employment with MBIE. We enhance our people's capability in identifying and addressing bias through:

  • Mana Aki, our intercultural competence programme
  • the Understanding Unconscious Bias course, launched in April 2021. As at 30 June 2021, 250 people had completed the course
  • the ‘Unconscious Bias in Recruitment’ course, launched in May 2021. As at 30 June 2021, 130 people had completed the course
  • nine foundation-level learning modules designed and developed in-house (keeping Te Tiriti o Waitangi/the Treaty of Waitangi front and centre) to raise awareness about bias relating to gender, ability and sexual orientation and ways to address it
  • encouragement to add pronouns to email signatures and meeting introductions. As at 30 June 2021, 1,380 people have completed the Including the Rainbow Community at MBIE module since it was published in 2019
  • Beyond Diversity, a two-day workshop to build leadership capability in relation to racial equity and unconscious bias. As at 30 June 2021, 262 of MBIE’s people leaders have attended.

We are also supporting the public service to better reflect the communities we serve through:

  • leading the implementation of a cross-sector programme to accelerate talent and leadership development of senior Pasefika and increase the number of Pasefika leaders in senior leadership roles.
  • Tupu Tai internship programme, which supports a public service that reflects the diverse population of Aotearoa New Zealand and promotes better outcomes for Pasefika people through government policy. MBIE won two awards for Tupu Tai at the 2020 Diversity Awards NZ: the Tomorrow’s Workforce Award and the Supreme Award.

Hautūtanga Ngākau Tuwhera | Inclusive leadership

How we lead across the public service matters. Inclusion and diversity capability across the system depends on strong, inclusive leadership. We are building inclusive leadership in MBIE through:

  • implementing targeted programmes to build leadership capability
  • providing a range of learning options
  • senior-leader sponsorship of our employee-led networks and attendance of key learning programmes
  • focusing on inclusion and diversity at our People Leader Forums
  • developing people-centred leadership through supporting flexible working, mental and physical wellbeing, and health and safety practices.

Te whakawhanaungatanga | Building relationships

Inclusion and belonging depend on having a diverse range of supportive relationships in our workplaces. We draw upon those relationships to create positive change.

This is demonstrated through:

  • the Inclusion and Diversity Council providing strategic governance and oversight of the inclusion and diversity strategy and recommending changes to policies, processes, initiatives and facilities
  • the implementation of Tōku Whāinga | My Career, our new continuous performance process, which is based on three principles: kōrero (regular check-ins), wānanga (shared reflection and learning) and manaaki (respect and care)
  • Kohinga Kōrero | Conversations That Matter, a learning programme to support people leaders to have more meaningful and effective conversations with their team members
  • fostering a culture of recognition and celebration of our people through the MBIE values shout-out cards, MBIE Awards, recognition initiatives, branch newsletters, and team/branch/group hui.

Ngā tūhononga e kōkiritia ana e ngā kaimahi | Employee- led networks

Having a space to connect with others with shared experiences supports people to bring their unique selves to work. Our employee-led networks help connect people, create opportunities to engage and learn, and advocate for the needs of their network. They support our people to feel they belong at MBIE. We have strengthened our employee-led networks through:

  • an increased number of employee-led networks, which include:
    • Ngāi Kahukura | Rainbow Network
    • Te Aumangea | Mental Health Network
    • Arahanga Wāhine | Women’s Network
    • Te Rau Puāwai | Wāhine Māori Network
    • Pacific Staff Village Network
  • senior leaders’ sponsorship and support for all employee-led networks
  • employee-led events and initiatives that celebrate culture, highlight issues and educate others
  • ongoing support for new emerging networks, such as Women of Colour, Asia-International and people with disabilities.

Gender Pay Action Plan progress

MBIE’s overall gender pay gap has been steadily reducing from 20.2% in June 2016 to 13.8% in June 2020. As at 30 June 2021, the overall gender pay gap stood at 13.2%. Women make up 60.1% of our employees.

Our 2020 Gender Pay Action Plan included a milestone to close unexplained gender pay gaps in same or like-for-like roles. Our approach resulted in 458 pay corrections that were effective 31 December 2020.

Commitment to Accessibility Charter

We are committed to the Accessibility Charter and continue to ensure our public information is accessible. We conduct accessibility assessments of our websites to ensure our sites comply with New Zealand Government Web Accessibility Standards.

In terms of our workforce, our commitment to the Charter is part of our inclusion and diversity strategy. MBIE is committed to reasonably accommodating the needs of people with disabilities and supporting their health and wellbeing. This is underpinned by our Wellbeing, Health and Safety Policy and standards.

Commitment to the Panel Pledge

We continue to be committed to the Panel Pledge. MBIE’s Secretary, Carolyn Tremain, signed the Panel Pledge in 2019, pledging to actively encourage diverse voices when considering requests to participate on panels or at any speaking engagements.

Building capability: Aotearoa New Zealand Skills Pledge

MBIE supports the Aotearoa New Zealand Skills Pledge. The Skills Pledge is a commitment to building new capabilities and resilience in Aotearoa New Zealand’s workforce and aims to double investment in on-the-job training by 2025.

For the year to 30 June 2021, there were 36,323 engagements in formal learning sessions at MBIE. We saw 8,679 participants attend face-to-face or virtual workshops and 27,644 e-learning modules were completed. This equates to approximately 88,930 learning hours for our people, in addition to offline self-directed learning and on-the-job coaching. This is an increase in learning hours of approximately 30 per cent on the previous year.

The implementation of a new Career and Pay Progression framework has strengthened our focus on building capability and competence for our employees. A core component of the framework is that the ability to progress is based on satisfactory performance and increased capability.

Wellbeing, health and safety

Ora, our wellbeing strategy, aims to improve the wellbeing and health of our people at MBIE. Balanced and healthy individuals create healthy teams, resulting in healthy, more productive organisations. Good health in all aspects is central to our overall wellbeing.

Te Puna Ora, our online wellbeing hub, provides a wealth of useful and practical information, support services and resources for staff on how to manage wellbeing and access support. In 2021, MBIE introduced the Te Whare Tapa Whā model into our Wellbeing, Health and Safety (WHS) Framework, which will be a key focus in the coming year.

Each year MBIE ensures appropriate training is provided for WHS representatives, floor wardens and first aiders. These three roles are key to ensuring MBIE is a safe and healthy place to work. As at 30 June 2021, MBIE had 284 WHS representatives, 317 floor wardens, and 228 first aiders.

Flexible working

2020 was a year that changed the way we work and live. A big change was ensuring more MBIE employees were able to work remotely. This was supported by MBIE’s flexible working policies and procedures. Our WHS team continued to deliver guidance on how to best work and cope with different COVID-19 alert levels and how to support each other through this difficult time.

Employee engagement

Employee engagement is a key part of MBIE’s work environment, especially in the WHS space.

There are three work group committees composed of representatives from the field, front-facing, and office workers. Over the last year, these committees have actively worked to increase worker participation.

Three WHS representatives from each of the committees attend quarterly meetings of the Wellbeing, Health, Safety and Security Steering Committee. The Senior Leadership Team Wellbeing, Health, Safety and Security Governance Committee provides strategic direction to the Steering Committee.

In addition, there has been a significant effort to develop worker engagement across the 32 MIQ facilities. This is a particularly challenging work environment, with the participation of over 100 separate organisations working together to deliver MIQ.

Learning about safety and wellbeing during induction is a priority, and MBIE is focused on improving completion rates of key induction learning modules. As at 30 June 2021, 94.79 per cent of MBIE workers have completed the Staff Safety and Wellbeing module, 95.5% have completed the Security module, and 80.6% of people leaders have completed the Leaders Safety and Wellbeing module.

Mental health

With the challenges faced by our people in the last year, and the efforts MBIE has made to encourage reporting, the number of wellbeing cases reported has increased substantially, from 171 to 337 cases.

MBIE focused on upskilling our people, particularly those in business groups most affected by COVID-19. A series of mental health workshops were delivered with 270 people participating in a Mental Health Awareness workshop. Ninety-eight of these people also participated in a Managing Mental Health workshop.

Access to counsellors and psychologists to support MBIE people became a challenge, so we extended the list of providers. This gave MBIE workers a better choice of providers and reduced waiting times for appointments.

Health monitoring

MBIE is part of the ACC Accredited Employers Programme. We use a dedicated incident reporting tool (Zambion), ACC and Wellnz to record and track accidents and address individual needs from each accident. In the last financial year, MBIE had 76 work-related ACC claims and 56 non-work-related ACC claims, both managed by a third-party administrator, with an average lost time injury frequency rate of 13.8 days.

During 2020/21, there were no incidents that required notification to WorkSafe New Zealand.

For MIQ and other border workers, COVID-19 vaccinations, swab tests and other controls were implemented and are monitored internally and externally. MBIE also has a team prepared to respond to any irregular immigrant mass arrival event. Part of the preparation for this team is to maintain an up-to-date list of required vaccinations staff need to keep them safe should they respond to an event.

Emergency management

MBIE’s Emergency Management Team responded to look after those affected by adverse weather in Napier in early 2021. A similar process was in place for the March 2021 offshore earthquake and subsequent tsunami warnings in coastal areas.

Managing critical health and safety risks

During 2020/21, MBIE’s Health, Safety and Security Operations team was heavily involved in supporting the all-of-government COVID-19 response by supporting MIQ to build a WHS team and manage its health, safety and security responsibilities.

To manage identified critical risks, several initiatives were carried out, including:

  • monthly safety toolbox talks covering a variety of safety guidance topics aimed at workers exposed daily to critical risks
  • a road safety campaign, including a webinar with guest presenters
  • site visits to engage workers in safety conversations around critical risks to raise awareness and help workers correctly implement approved control measures.

To make the reporting of workplace incidents easier, changes were made in contact centres so advisers could easily submit an incident report immediately after being exposed to threatening or abusive calls. This had immediate impact, and reporting numbers increased significantly.

The following table sets out the number and types of wellbeing, health, safety and security events reported during the year to 30 June 2021:

Wellbeing, health, safety and security events reported during the year to 30 June 2021

Type 2020/21
Total number of wellbeing, health, safety and security events 2,517
Wellbeing events 337
Early reported pain and discomfort/harm 928
Near miss 312
Violence and aggression 864
Other events 76
Events resulting in injury 392
Critical risk events 420
Work-related ACC claims (managed by our third-party administrator) 76
Non-work-related ACC claims (managed by our third-party administrator) 56
Incidents requiring notification to WorkSafe New Zealand under the Health and Safety at Work Act 0


At MBIE we are committed to a sustainable Aotearoa New Zealand and supporting the transition to a low-emissions economy. Our approach to sustainability is informed by our organisational strategy, Te Ara Amiorangi and guides our decision making at MBIE to ensure our own actions support our policy direction.

We are developing a sustainability strategy to deliver on the Government’s commitment to a carbon neutral public service by 2025 and broader cultural, economic, environmental and social outcomes for New Zealand.

Kete Taiao, our employee-led sustainability network set up in June 2021, provides opportunity for our people to create positive change, lead workplace sustainability actions and impacts, and support the delivery of our sustainability programme.

Reducing our emissions

We are committed to measuring, reducing and reporting on our greenhouse gas emissions sources, and ensuring our data is verified. We have achieved Toitū carbonreduce certification and are developing our emissions reduction targets and management plan in accordance with the requirements of the Carbon Neutral Government Programme.

Our 2021 emissions (4,129 tCO2e) are 60 per cent less than our 2019 base year (10,672 tCO2e). This is directly attributed to the impact of COVID-19 on travel since March 2020. We are committed to capitalising on the opportunity presented by COVID-19 to continue to work effectively online and reduce the amount we travel, to reduce both our travel carbon emissions and operational costs.

Note: 2019 emissions data has been externally verified. External verification will be obtained for 2020 and 2021 emissions data.

Additional CNGP-specific emissions sources may be required in future year reporting.

Portrait of the 12 people in MBIE's Senior Leadership Team, gathered inside with windows behind them.

MBIE’s Senior Leadership Team

Back row (left to right): Paul Stocks, Mel Porter, Greg Patchell, Stewart McRobie, Chris Bunny, Stephen Dunstan (acting). Front row (left to right): Oliver Valins, Carolyn Tremain, Suzanne Stew, Richard Griffiths, Megan Main, Robert Pigou.

Leadership and governance

Senior Leadership Team

MBIE’s Senior Leadership Team has ownership and overall responsibility and accountability for MBIE’s organisational strategy and achievement of MBIE’s strategic outcomes and priorities. The Senior Leadership Team ensures we focus our efforts and resources in the right areas at the right time. They work to establish systems and processes so MBIE can perform effectively. They also champion our values and drive cultural change.

Our Senior Leadership Team includes the Secretary (Chief Executive), nine Deputy Secretaries, the Chief Financial Officer, and the Chief Advisor to the Secretary.

Mana Whakaruruhau: MBIE’s governance system

Strong governance allows MBIE to achieve its core outcomes through a framework of leadership, stewardship and decision making. It is how senior leaders ensure MBIE operates well, works collaboratively, and is held to account.

Mana Whakaruruhau is made up of a series of committees that provide the architecture through which we will deliver our organisational strategy, Te Ara Amiorangi, allowing us to solve real-time issues and consider future-focused options.

Ultimately, these committees create dedicated forums to:

  • determine what the Government and New Zealanders need from us and what we need to do to make that happen
  • provide kaitiakitanga (stewardship) of MBIE
  • oversee risk, performance and delivery.

Managing risk

Managing risk is an integral part of our business. We operate in an increasingly uncertain environment that often requires flexibility to respond to new and complex demands, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the transfer of MIQ. Risk management helps us clarify goals and objectives, identify what might stand in the way of their achievement, and take appropriate action to mitigate risks. It helps us identify opportunities to exceed expectations, including adopting new and innovative approaches to our work.

We are committed to embedding effective risk management into our culture, governance arrangements, business planning and decision-making processes. During the year, we refreshed our Risk Management Policy and Framework, which collectively expresses the way we manage risk at MBIE, and introduced a new Risk and Hazard Tool. This has increased the quality and consistency of our risk information and provided greater visibility of MBIE’s enterprise risks.

A high-priority example of risk mitigation is our continuing cyber security work. This work includes a number of initiatives that continually review and refine our capability to identify and protect against cyber security threats, detect successful attacks and other unauthorised actions, and recover from them.

The Risk and Advisory Committee provides independent, objective advice on the framework and insights on our risks and how MBIE is responding to these. Managing risk is the responsibility of everyone at MBIE, and our people are supported to do this by the Enterprise Risk and Compliance team. Our Internal Assurance team provides independent assurance to our Secretary and the Risk and Advisory Committee that our risks are being managed effectively.