Date posted: 21/06/2019 3 min read

Revolutionary NZ legislation to be centre of attention

Conference to mark anniversary of landmark NZ public finance legislation.

In brief

  • Public sector conference to mark 30th anniversary of landmark New Zealand legislation which revolutionised financial management in government
  • The Public Finance Act enabled better measurement of performance of chief executives, agencies and the Crown
  • The accounting profession played an invaluable role in steering the reforms through

July marks the 30th anniversary of landmark New Zealand legislation which revolutionised financial management in government and redefined how individual government departments function and are held accountable.

The Public Finance Act of 1989 allowed a switch from cash to accrual accounting, the first time, according to one of the Act’s architects, Ian Ball FCA, that a government had really produced financial statements on an accrual basis, and budgeted and appropriated on this basis. New Zealand is still one of the few countries that does this.

The School of Accounting and Commercial Law at Victoria University of Wellington (VUW) is hosting a two-day conference – the New Zealand Public Finance Act at 30: lessons, achievements and future directions. Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) is a key sponsor.

The PFA30 conference starts with a parliamentary welcome on Friday 26 July followed on the Saturday and Sunday by a high-powered line up of speakers at VUW. Speakers include the Minister of Finance, Grant Robertson, and former Ministers of Finance Sir Roger Douglas, Ruth Richardson and David Caygill.

“The accounting profession played an invaluable role in steering the reforms through.”
CA ANZ President Stephen Walker FCA

CA ANZ President Stephen Walker FCA will speak on The Impact of the PFA on the Accounting Profession. He said “the accounting profession played an invaluable role in steering the reforms through.

“The Act upped the game for public sector accountants with greater degrees of knowledge, expertise and judgement required.”

Ian Ball, who is Professor of Public Financial Management at VUW, is also a speaker along with Lyn Provost FCA, former Controller and Auditor-General. The Act enabled better measurement of performance of chief executives, agencies and “for that matter the Crown’s,” said Ball.

Other speakers include Jim Brumby, Director, Governance Global Practice at the World Bank and Ian Carruthers, Chair of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board.

Speakers will look at the objectives of the Act and the main features of the reformed system, the nature and impact of subsequent changes and lessons of the Act, for New Zealand and other countries.

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