To ensure we had the best chance of success, we focused on having the right foundations in place and regularly revisiting them.
Before we asked government for the investment needed to transform the tax and payments system, we ensured we had a strong investment case, the right leadership, skills and experience, and the right governance forums in place.
We had a dedicated team who worked solely on bringing the business case together. It was a small, multi-disciplinary team which included business case experts and financial and benefit modelling experts. You can read here about how we built the November 2015 business case seeking funding for transformation and why it was approved.
Recognising there would likely be a change of government during the life of the programme it was important to get both sides to commit to what we had planned. With the support of the then Minister of Revenue, we met with both cabinet and shadow cabinet members ahead of the funding decision. This allowed us to build an understanding of the transformation goals and the benefit to New Zealand in letting us get on with the job – no matter which government was in power.
We regularly reviewed and adapted our governance arrangements based on what we needed at each stage and the changing risk profile of the programme. You can read here about the principles we adopted and the changes we made to governance during the programme.
Leadership, skills and experience
We were clear about the skills and experience needed to lead and deliver transformation. We knew we needed an experienced team with a track record in delivering transformational change and we put some of our best and brightest people on the programme to work with and learn from them. You can read here about what we did and why to ensure we had the right people in the right roles.
We established reference groups early on to provide an external perspective across a range of sectors.
The Transformation Reference Group (TRG) met with us approximately three times each year between 2012 and 2021. The TRG included experienced members representing diverse communities and provided valuable advice and input.
In August 2014, the Taxpayer’s Simplification Panel was set up as an avenue to help us hear about the things that frustrated people and to submit ideas about what could be done to make paying tax easier.
In September 2014, we established an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) reference group as an external and independent voice representing interests from across New Zealand’s ICT sector. The purpose of the group was to act as a sounding board for ideas and innovation and to discuss issues and implications as we transformed services for customers.
In March 2020, we established a tax agent cohort to include tax agents more when making changes to our customer-facing products, processes and services. The purpose of the cohort is to contribute to the ongoing continuous improvement of services, provide early insight into design of products, and provide a direct feedback mechanism for the tax agent community and their customers. The cohort represents a range of business sizes and community diversity.