Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee. Financial Review FY2013/14. for. Vote: Foreign Affairs and Trade Additional Questions

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1 Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee Financial Review FY2013/14 for Vote: Foreign Affairs and Trade Additional Questions

2 Page 2 of The Committee notes the auditor's advice that, at the time of the 2013/14 audit: There was no information technology (IT) asset register being maintained covering all of the Ministry's IT assets (hardware and software). The Ministry lacked systems to report against some performance measures. There was not a shared understanding in the business of how some aspects of performance should be calculated and reported. Performance measures and their recording and reporting systems for the Ministry's Protocol Division are not adequately defined. There were some differences between the International Development Group's key results monitoring spreadsheet and its reports. What action has the Ministry taken since the audit to rectify the above matters? Have they now been rectified? Since the audit, the Ministry has looked at its performance measurement systems across the Ministry, with a view to improving the relevance and robustness of performance measures. In particular, the Protocol division has made improvements to their recording and reporting systems, including clearer documentation of definitions. The ICT Division maintain an asset register spreadsheet of IT assets that is reconciled with the finance fixed asset register. The Service Desk application upgrade project currently under way will include implementation of a Configuration Management Data Base which will record all IT assets (hardware and software). Reporting on the New Zealand Aid Programme in the Annual Report is drawn from the Strategic Results Framework introduced in This established standardised indicators for measuring selected Headline Results, enabling us to aggregate and report results from aid investments at an Aid Programme-wide level. Individual aid projects initiated before 2012 use a range of other indicators to measure performance and results. These are reflected in a more detailed key results monitoring spreadsheet. Over time, we expect the Headline Results dataset to increase in size and comprehensiveness and improve in quality The Committee notes the Ministry's advice in its recent BIM that more needs to be done to ensure that NZ businesses are taking advantage of the access that free trade agreements (FTAs) allow theirs. What does the Ministry consider to be the main reasons why some NZ business are not using the privileges afforded by FTAs? What action has the Ministry taken during 2013/14 and since to support NZ business to help increase NZ business's utilisation of FTAs? What action has the Ministry taken to lead and coordinate other government agencies to help achieve greater uptake of FTAs?

3 Page 3 of 8 There are likely to be a number of reasons why there is less than 100% utilisation of FTA preferences, including: Importers and/or exporters may not be aware of the preferences available, or motivated to claim them. There may be (or perceived to be) high compliance costs to claiming preferences (for example, documentation issues). There may be relatively low margins of preference at this point in time for particular products. As tariffs phase-down over time under FTAs the margin of preference on a product could become more meaningful. Exports may not meet, or exporters may not be confident they meet, the rules of origin. The Ministry works closely with NZTE, NZ Customs, MPI, MBIE and business groups to promote FTA outcomes and to explain to business how to take advantage of them. Since 2013/14 this has included, for example, a roadshow around New Zealand to promote the ANZTEC (New Zealand s Economic Cooperation Agreement with Chinese Taipei), a trade mission to Taiwan and further workshops around New Zealand to raise awareness of opportunities under the Agreement. Utilisation of FTAs is also addressed through the Ministry s constant dialogue with exporters, usually via individual company calls. The Ministry also undertook research on preference utilisation under the New Zealand China FTA and, together with New Zealand Customs, consulted industry groups, such as seafood and customs brokers, to address some areas of low preference uptake. The Ministry and other government agencies are also continuing ongoing work under the FTAs to address issues that may be hindering preference uptake. An example of this is the agreement with China under the New Zealand China FTA to facilitate preferential market access to China for part consignments released from bonded warehouses. We have undertaken two further preference uptake surveys in relation to the China FTA and the trend line is strongly upwards The Committee notes that the Ministry is looking for new ways to maximise the value of export revenue derived from New Zealand's service sector in non traditional areas. What action has the Ministry taken during 2013/14 and since to increase its efforts to identify: o New market opportunities for New Zealand business? o Opportunities for adding value to existing export streams? o Opportunities for linking into existing global production chains? The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has undertaken interviews with a range of commercial services exporters to better understand the challenges they face when internationalising and how these challenges might differ from those faced by our more traditional goods exporters. The Ministry is continuing this policy dialogue with relevant NZ Inc agencies, including through our role as coordinator of the BGA Building Export Markets workstream. In 2013/14 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade continued to pursue new and improved market opportunities for New Zealand services exporters through our trade negotiating agenda.

4 Page 4 of 8 Country participants in active negotiations, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, and the Trade in Services Agreement collectively account for around 88% of New Zealand s commercial services exports. Trade in Services Agreement participants alone account for 70% of global services trade The Committee notes the establishment with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) of the Government to Government Partnerships Office. What are the main initiatives currently on the Partnerships Office work programme? What aspects of Government systems and knowhow have MFAT and NZTE identified for commercialisation and sale offshore? Since September 2014, key activities for the G2G Office have focussed on expanding core public sector capability in the Government-to-Government (G2G) portfolio. G2G is currently engaged with around 30 public sector entities. Five of these have completed or are undertaking G2G commercial work in overseas markets. The office has developed marketing collateral branded G2G Knowhow. The G2G website is live. Three core sales brochures were printed and distributed internationally. Contract business development resource was hired in Vietnam as an investment in opening up a sales front in priority markets in South East Asia. The office is also working to expand its range of projects and build a broader pipeline of deals across priority markets in the Middle East, South East Asia, Australia and Central America and will be hosting a range of commercially focussed tours of Government officials from target markets. The G2G pilot in 2013/14 has commercialised areas of public policy, regulatory frameworks, science and public-private collaboration approaches in water and environment management, fisheries management, and conservation. In addition, a project in Integrated Healthcare and a review of an overseas Education Qualifications Framework have been completed. These aspects of New Zealand public sector systems have been successfully adapted to overseas systems. G2G is now expanding its focus and in addition to initial areas of commercialised expertise is finding interest from overseas Governments mainly in Agriculture, Fisheries, Food Security and Food Safety, Energy, Policing, Land Management, Road Safety and Transport, Public Sector Reform, Waste Management, Careers Advice, Education Review and e-government. G2G has also identified other areas of knowhow of relevance to offshore public sector and is assessing market potential The Committee notes that responsibilities for corporate decision making have been devolved to business units and posts during 2013/14. The Committee also notes the Auditor General's audit findings that there were problems in the initial set up of some new overseas posts and more support was needed for overseas staff. What action has the Ministry taken since the 2013/14 audit to ensure that staff who exercise newly devolved responsibilities are adequately trained to execute those responsibilities?

5 Page 5 of 8 What has the Ministry identified as being the biggest risks in its devolved business model, and how is it managing those risks? How does the Ministry intend to evaluate the benefits of its devolved business model? Following the 2013/14 audit the Ministry recognised that when new overseas posts are being set up, it should ensure the corporate service areas are appropriately designed and managed from the outset and that appropriate financial management training is provided to staff. To this end the Ministry is now deploying experienced administration managers to posts to help with the setup. Post administration managers are also receiving New Zealand based training. The Ministry has also developed standardised post set up processes and checklists to provide a blueprint which can then be customised as appropriate. The Ministry has also developed a programme to support managers in discharging their devolved responsibilities. This includes a dedicated module on exercising delegated authorities. This programme provides practical guidance and tools that are accessible on and off-shore. HR Business Partners, Group Business Accountants and other advisors from enabling functions within the Ministry provide regular support and coaching to managers. More senior managers also act as coaches and mentors to their direct reports. Devolving authority for decision making is a key feature of our modernisation programme. The risks associated with this are the same as they would be in any other organisation. The biggest risk in the devolved business model is the potential for managers to make decisions beyond their level of delegation or to commit the Ministry to resource deployment or expenditure that is inappropriate relative to business need and policy parameters. This risk is being managed through clearly articulated decision making authorities and management and internal audit controls to routinely monitor and manage budget expenditure and resourcing commitments. A further risk is the potential for inappropriate decisions. This is also mitigated through robust policies to guide decision making, the instrument of delegation sets out clearly stated authorities and indicates where further consultation is required. Managers are also trained. The Ministry is evaluating the benefits of its devolved decision making model through the quality of group planning and budgeting, an improvement in the alignment of expenditure to budget, the flexible deployment of resource and reprioritisation and the reducing need for managers to require centralised advice and support in decision making The Committee notes the Auditor General's advice that responsibilities relating to property management have been unclear between the Ministry's Asset Management Division (AMD) and posts and other divisions.

6 Page 6 of 8 Please explain the level of decision making on property management that has been delegated to the posts and divisions and the level of decision making that rests with the AMD. What action has the Ministry taken since the audit to ensure that all relevant parties have the necessary clarity on their roles, responsibilities, and authority concerning property management? The Ministry issued an updated Instrument of Delegation to include asset management among other functions. A key tool to enable the Ministry to operate in a more devolved manner, the updated Instrument of Delegation clarifies the people, financial, asset and other management decisions that can be made and clearly distinguishes the accountabilities for these decisions. In partnership with Asset Management Division, Regional Divisions and Post management the Ministry has also developed ten year Property Asset Plans that outline strategy and agreed forward capital and operational works programs that enable managers to take robust and transparent asset management decisions The Committee notes that the Ministry's method of calculating its response rate to OIA requests excludes the number of requests received but not completed. Does the Ministry intend to change the method for deriving its performance measure for its 2014/15 annual report? What is the number and percentage of OIA requests received in 2013/14 but not completed? What is the effect on the 2013/14 result when requests not completed are included in the calculation? The Ministry has revised some of the performance standards and measures associated with its OIA requests. The standard used to ascertain the response rate to OIA requests is one of the standards that will be changed. The number and percentage of OIA requests received but not completed in 2013/14 is 20. This represents approximately 8% of the total number of OIA requests received in the 2013/14 year, and is due largely to the fact that requests received close to the end of a financial year are likely to be answered in the following financial year, given the 20 day statutory timeframe agencies have to respond to requests. When the number of OIA requests received, but not completed in 2013/14 is included in the overall calculation for the Ministry, the percentage of OIAs completed in 20 days is 62%, and the percentage completed in 40 days is 79% The Committee notes recent improvements in the Ministry's response times to Official Information Act (OIA) requests but also notes they remain significantly below target. What are the factors underpinning the Ministry's failure to meet its performance targets for responding to OIA requests? What action has the Ministry taken, in 2013/14 and since, to continue to improve the timeliness of its responses to OIA requests?

7 Page 7 of 8 How is MFAT's performance tracking in the current fiscal year to date? A number of factors influence the time it takes to prepare responses to OIA requests including the complex nature of the requests and material requested, and the management of competing priorities with finite levels of resource. At the end of the 2013/14 year, the Ministry streamlined the systems and processes associated with its OIA requests, in an effort to improve the timeliness of its response times, and quality of its responses. Since the start of the 2014/15 financial year, MFAT s average OIA response time has been days. MFAT s end of year average response time in 2013/2014 was 29 days The Committee notes the Ministry's score for the quality of its negotiation of international agreements (i.e. 63% of peers rating the Ministry as 4 or better, down from 69% in 2012/13 and below the target of 80%). The Committee also notes MFAT's comments in its Annual Report that, "Qualitative feedback from the survey will be used to inform the way the Ministry works with other agencies. What were the sample sizes of the surveys in 2012/13 and in 2013/14? What were the main messages evident in the qualitative feedback from other agencies? What does the Ministry consider to be the reasons for the decrease in the survey score? What action has the Ministry taken to respond to survey feedback, in 2013/14 and in previous years, to improve its perceived performance? Please provide a copy of the Ministry's survey and any subsequent report on the quality of its negotiations of international agreements. In 2012/13, the survey was sent to 129 eligible respondents and 58 of them responded. In 2013/14, the survey was sent to 106 eligible respondents and 50 of them completed the survey. Qualitative feedback from the 2013/14 survey indicates that respondents perceived strengths in MFAT s ability to lead negotiations and establish relationships. In terms of areas for improvement, some negotiation partners sought more open communication and a more collaborative approach by MFAT with other agencies. The challenges associated with the current state of some of New Zealand s most complex negotiations may have contributed to a perception of lower levels of stakeholder engagement and hence the decline in the survey score. In addition, some key staff changed positions during the survey period and this may have affected relationship continuity. Moreover, the small sample size can lead to significant variation in percentage results year on year from minor shifts in actual numbers. The Ministry is currently refreshing its overall stakeholder engagement approach. The new framework will better align stakeholder engagement to strategic directions, clarify relationship ownership (particularly at a senior leadership level) and inform the design of a knowledge management system to support more aligned stakeholder engagement across the Ministry.

8 Page 8 of 8 The reports were prepared for internal capability development. Specific comments and other information were provided by survey participants on an expectation of confidentiality Please provide a copy of the Crown Law Office opinion on the release of the Whitehead Report. The Crown Law opinion is legally privileged and we cannot release it Please provide an analysis of how the under spend of 44.6% on operating costs was arrived at. The underspend of 44.6% ($ million) referred to reflects the difference between the Main Estimates and the final amount of actual expenditure incurred in 2013/14. An analysis of the reduction is provided in the explanation of the $ million movement in total expenses between the Main Estimates and the Supplementary estimates is provided in Note 23 to the Financial Statements in the Ministry s Annual Report. An explanation of the residual $3.678 million (2.3% of budget) variance between actual expenditure and the Supplementary Estimates is also provided in Note 23 to the Financial Statements Please clarify what protections exist for holders of the following passports Diplomatic Official New Zealand Diplomatic, Official and New Zealand passports do not of themselves confer any specific protections at international law. The legal status of the passport holder in other countries is determined by that country s law, any arrangement in place between New Zealand and that country and relevant international law What legal advice has been given to the Minister about the status of our presence in Iraq under International Law under the Charter? Legal advice has been provided to the Minister on a range of issues related to the deployment of NZDF personnel to Iraq to assist in training the Iraqi Security Forces. That advice is subject to legal professional privilege.

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