Cook Islands Public Service Commissioner Carl Hunter, right, with Tonga Prime Minister Hu’akavameiliku. 23082216
Cook Islands Public Service Commissioner Carl Hunter had the privilege of meeting Tonga Prime Minister, Hu’akavameiliku during the Polynesian Public Service Commissioners Sub-Regional Fono held last week in Tonga.
Presenting a pāte or slit drum to Prime Minister,
Hu’akavameiliku on behalf of the Cook Islands Public Service, Commissioner
Hunter informed the Prime Minister that “… attending this Polynesia Fono has
shown me that it is glaringly apparent that although the PSC Offices within the
Pacific differ structurally on a number of fronts, they also face a number of
common issues and challenges.”
Hunter said that included retaining staff and managing their
wellbeing to working within extremely constrained budgets and resourcing and
needing to communicate with stakeholders to ensure that the public service
understands the needs of their customers and communities.
Government agencies and ministries around the Pacific region
are also facing growing difficulties when it comes to recruiting employees who
are competent, experienced and have the required skill sets being sought,
He confirmed that improved collaboration and sharing of
ideas and challenges among the 16 Pacific Public Service Commissioners, would
enable them to learn from each other, and what is best for each of the offices,
in an effort to improve both service delivery and good governance moving
“To enable us to do so, however, there is no question that
the ongoing support from the Pacific Fale in terms of bringing us together for
annual meetings, the visitations of senior PSC officials and encouragement of
short-term, practical training attachments will be critical.”
Prime Minister Hu’akavameiliku as the Minister for the
Tongan Public Service Office commented that those who work in the PSC Offices
around the Pacific were public servants who were “smart, intelligent and
passionate about serving their people and communities’.
Prime Minister Hu’akavameiliku opened the Polynesian Public Service Commissioners
Sub-Regional Fono on August 16 in Tonga.
Addressing the Polynesian countries of the Cook Islands,
Niue, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Niue - Prime Minister Hu’akavameiliku challenged the Public Service
Commissioners attending the Fono to use the lessons learned from their responses
to Covid-19 to assess their performance and ask themselves what did they do
right, and how can they do better?
on the participants to identify best practices and share those lessons with
Prime Minister Hu’akavameiliku encouraged them to transform their services to
the people through the use of e-government systems.
It was a
matter of ensuring that their “public services are delivered to all
constituents of their communities including the vulnerable and to those living in
their outer islands, or in rural areas so as to reduce the gap between those
that ‘have’ and the ‘have nots’. “
was accompanied to Tonga by his chief executive Myra Patai, were also able to
visit the Tonga PSC and meet with their human resources, monitoring and evaluation,
as well as their performance management teams to better understand their
systems of operating with a view to replicating some of the lessons learned in
the Cook Islands.
the PPSCs have met at an annual conference to discuss their work, share
practices and engage in mutual learning. Over time, the PSCs have
expanded their agenda to include engaging in collaborative projects to improve
public sector performance across the Pacific and set forward agendas for public
service development in the region.