In the early 1990s, Victoria reformed its state sector along New Public Management (NPM) lines. Drawing on interviews with key policy-makers of the time, including chief executives, ministers and key officials from both jurisdictions, and using archival material and secondary sources, this article shows that New Zealand developments were a key source for Victoria's reforms — even down to seemingly copying passages of legislation. Policy transfer took place within a supporting framework of an Anglo-American diffusion of NPM rhetoric and neoliberal ideas. But New Zealand's experiences gave content, form and legitimation to Victoria's reforms, while providing a platform and experience for learning and divergence, and a group of transferable experts. We underline the importance of the Australia-New Zealand relationship and trans-Tasman elite networks in understanding the governance of both countries.