Institute for Governance and Policy Studies

Contact Details



Senior Associate


Rob Laking has had careers in university, consulting and public service. He is a former senior New Zealand public servant and specialist in advice and capacity building in governance, public management and financial management.

Rob left the public service in 1995 after serving as Chief Executive of the Ministry of Housing. Before that, he worked in the New Zealand Treasury and held senior management positions in energy, industry and primary resources policy; reform of public enterprise and financial management reform. He then held senior management positions in the Department of Social Welfare and the State Services Commission, before being appointed to the Ministry of Housing. He led the project team for the review of New Zealand’s state sector reforms (the Logan Review) in 1991.

Rob combined his University teaching with consulting both here and overseas. He completed strategic reviews of the New Zealand Ministry of Education, the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, the Office of the Retirement Commissioner and the GeoNet national hazard sensing network. He has also consulted in the Department of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Health, Skills New Zealand, the State Services Commission, the Department of Child Youth and Family and the Ministry of Defence. Internationally he has been employed as a consultant or lecturer in Bahrain, Bangladesh, Botswana, Barbados, Kuwait, Laos, Latvia, Mongolia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Qatar, Samoa, Thailand, Uruguay and Vietnam. His international agency clients include the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, IMF, OECD, UNDP and DfID. He has lectured on public management and public expenditure management at the Asian Development Bank and in South Africa, Uruguay and Viet Nam. He has also worked as a Visiting Fellow at the World Bank in Washington DC, studying comparative public management in the developed world.

His recent consulting experience in the developing world includes studies of civil service reform in Pakistan for the Asian Development Bank; of Accountability Institutions and Oversight Bodies in East Asia and the Pacific for the World Bank; and of State Capacity and Performance in the Pacific. He led the International Advisory Group advising the President of the World Bank on environmental and social safeguards policies in the Nam Theun 2 power project in eastern Laos.

As well as his consulting work, he taught post-graduate courses in comparative public management and development policy and management in the School of Government at Victoria University of Wellington. He was founding Director of the School’s Master of Public Management from 1997-2002. He organised several senior leadership programmes at the University including the Commonwealth Advanced Seminar on Public Service Reform which, apart from two years, he directed from 1997-2007.

Research Interests

His research interests include governance in public organisations, expenditure planning and budgeting in the public sector, performance management in government departments, strategic decision-making in government and public management in the developing world. He was a member of the IGPS Managing for Performance project, analysing use of information for performance management in New Zealand government departments and agencies, and wrote several chapters of the book from that project.


Selected conference papers and publications

LAKING, R. (2009). State performance and capacity in the Pacific. Asian Development Bank.

LAKING, R. & GILL, D. (2009). Performance from top to bottom? The role of external accountability in driving internal performance in New Zealand public organisations. International Public Management Network Conference: “Theories and Practices of Government Performance in Comparative Perspective”. Graduate School of Public Administration (GSPA), Seoul National University, Seoul - South Korea

SO'O, A. & LAKING, R. (2008) "Samoan public sector reform: the view from Apia and the villages." Policy Quarterly, 4:3, 30-36.

DE ZEEUW, D., GERIN, J., RACELIS, M., LAKING, R. & SANTOS-BORJIA, L. (2008) International Advisory Group on the Nam Theun 2 Power Project, Laos: 8th Report. Washington DC, World Bank.

LAKING, R. (2008) Accountability Institutions and Oversight Bodies in East Asia and the Pacific: A Report for the World Bank. Wellington, School of Government, Victoria University of Wellington.

LAKING, R. (2008). "Coordination and coherence in the New Zealand government: The crosscutting agencies of the New Zealand state". Seminar on administrative reform, Montevideo, 11 September 2008.

LAKING, R. (2008). "Government, voluntary sector and social services in New Zealand: presentation to panel discussion “The Role and Relationship of Public Sector and Voluntary Sector in New Zealand”". Japan-New Zealand Studies Association, Tohoku Koeki University, Sakata, Japan, 21 June 2008.

LAKING, R. (2008). "Incorporating Development Priorities in the NZ Budget Process". Seminar on Administrative Reform, Montevideo, 10 September 2008.

LAKING, R. (2008). "The Nam Theun 2 Hydro Project: A better kind of dam?" Devnet - Aotearoa New Zealand International Development Studies Network, Victoria University of Wellington, 3-5 December 2008.

LAKING, R. (2008) "New Zealand public management in action: a case study of organisational performance". International Public Management Review, 9:1, 76-93.