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The Corrections Chief and the Minister (TEACHING NOTE) 2011-96.4

11 February 2011



On 20 February 2009, the New Zealand Department of Corrections chief executive Barry Matthews told media that he would not resign over an Auditor-General’s report criticising systemic failures in the management of parole. Though his new Minister was refusing to express her confidence in him, he felt certain that a pending review by the State Services Commission would endorse his management of the department. The audit report was to investigate promised improvements following a violent crime committed by an offender on parole, and the Auditor-General found that many of the loopholes remained in the system. On 9 March 2009, State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie, in a report to the Minister, indicated that Matthews should keep his job. There were, however, still some improvements to be made. In its May 2009 Budget, characterised by strict controls on expenditure, the New Zealand government focused its spending on “new priorities”, among them the Justice sector. The Community Probation and Psychological Services (CPPS) received a total of $256 million.

This leadership case, while it focuses on the relationship between a chief executive and a minister and can also be used to discuss other aspects of leadership. These Teaching Notes can be used to explore angles on the theme of relationships between public servants and ministers in this case.

Authors: Janet Tyson, Professor Paul 't Hart
Published Date: 11 February 2011
Author Institution: Australian National University, ANZSOG
Content Length: 5
Product Type: Teaching note