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Source: New Zealand Treasury:

Thank you Commissioner, and thank you all for attending.

On behalf of the Treasury, I welcome Ms Bestwick’s report for its thoroughness, its independence and also because, for us, it will help make the Treasury stronger.  We accept all the findings and have a comprehensive program of action to fix the problems identified.

Following the Budget incident, the Treasury asked the State Services Commission for this independent review. As we have stated publicly, we deeply regret that sensitive Budget information was not secure.  The Treasury takes full accountability for this mistake. It simply should not have happened.

While the inquiry was underway, the Treasury hasn’t waited to take action. We have made a range of improvements to how we operate. We have lifted governance of the Budget, with more senior oversight of the process from end to end. We have strengthened IT, and all aspects of handling and storing Budget documents.  This includes robust penetration testing and independent reviews of our websites and IT systems. We have improved our incident management capability. In addition, we have lifted security awareness across the Treasury. Every staff member has re-confirmed their security and confidentiality obligations.

Before I joined the Treasury, I said how privileged I feel to lead an organisation with a long and proud history of world-leading work.  Nothing I have seen since changes that.  The Treasury is full of talented, dedicated people who want to deliver exceptional quality advice and products that improve living standards for New Zealanders.

Clearly, we made a mistake in Budget 2019. We failed to meet the high standards we set ourselves for security and integrity of the Budget process.  I am impressed by how the team has taken accountability for this incident, embraced the lessons from it, and is fixing the problems.

While there is more to do, I feel confident in standing here now and saying that the Treasury is stronger for the work we have done. The process for Budget 2020 is robust and secure.  We will not repeat last year’s incident.  We will address all of the findings of this inquiry fully. 

I again thank the Commissioner, Ms Bestwick, and their staff for this report.

Links to SSC’s media release and report can be found under the Related external links heading below.