Nau mai e ngā kaimahi kāwanatanga, ngā kaituku whakatau, me ngā rōia i roto i te kāwanatanga. He hōnore tēnei ki te whakatakoto atu i tēnei rauemi i a koutou katoa. Kia pai te whakamahi.
Welcome to all public servants, decision-makers, and lawyers in government. It is my pleasure to introduce the latest edition of Crown Law’s guidance for decision-makers to you all. I wish you well in using it.
This Guide will inform and improve the quality of decision-making in government. At its simplest, a good decision is one that is made following a fair process, that complies with the law, and that is substantively sound.
Good decision-making is an important objective in its own right, regardless of whether the decision is challenged. Governments in Aotearoa have legitimacy to govern because they are committed to government according to law, a central pillar of our democratic society. The public rightly expects all government decision-makers to make decisions – both in terms of process and outcome – in accordance with the law. It is a strength of our democratic system that government decision-making is overseen and supervised by independent Courts, and by independent office holders such as the Ombudsman, the Auditor-General and others.
And, of course, if decisions are challenged, good decision-making in Government ensures that governments can achieve their policy or operational objectives. By being familiar with administrative law principles, decision-makers can make decisions that are less vulnerable to successful challenge in any forum, whether that is before the Courts or by one of the other public bodies that scrutinise public decision-making.
If you are responsible for decision-making in government, the questions in this Guide are here to help.
Una Jagose QC