New Public Management and Public Sector Reform in Victoria and New Zealand: Policy Transfer, Elite Networks and Legislative Copying



This article is corrected by:

  1. Errata: Erratum: New Public Management and Public Sector Reform in Victoria and New Zealand, Issue 1, 2013 Volume 59, Issue 2, 329, Article first published online: 5 June 2013

  • This study draws on Vanessa Roberts, “The Origin of Victoria's public sector reforms: policy transfer from New Zealand?”, MA thesis, Department of Political Science, University of Canterbury, Christchurch (2005), supervised by S. Goldfinch. The thesis topic was funded by a scholarship from the Marsden Fund of the Royal Society of New Zealand. Order of authorship of this article is alphabetical and does not imply priority. Thanks are due to the referees and editors of this journal. Errors and omission are ours.


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.