Social Developments: An organisational history of the Ministry of Social Development and its predecessors, 1860 – 2011

Tim Garlick


Social Developments evokes the dizzying pace of change in the welfare sector in recent decades. It makes a significant contribution to the understanding of public management and welfare in New Zealand, and will be of considerable value to students of history and current practitioners alike.

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SKU: 978-0-478-33558-3 Categories: , , Tags: ,


This history of 150 years of social welfare focuses on the public servants who helped make policy, and those who implemented it. Across multiple rebrandings and restructures, changing political agendas and managerial fashions, this book tells the story of the constant struggle of officials in the Ministry of Social Development and its predecessors to chart a course through abiding issues and enduring tensions.

Covering contentious policy areas such as child welfare, income support and employment assistance, Social Developments describes major changes in social policy and welfare delivery in the context of epochs of public management. The book’s primary focus is on the past 40 years. It examines the legacy of New Zealand’s world-famous state sector reforms, the rise of managerialism in the welfare sector, and the revolution in social policy that redefined the relationship between citizen and state. It then covers the more recent struggle of managers to lift their sights from concrete ‘outputs’ to more nebulous ‘outcomes’.

About the author

Tim Garlick has an MA from Victoria University of Wellington, where he studied contemporary theories of literature, identity and cultural politics. More recently he has worked in research and social policy at the Ministry of Social Development. Tim lives in Wellington.

Additional information

Dimensions 176 × 250 mm