50th AnniversaryPublic Service Commissioner

The Public Service Commissioner is appointed by the Queen’s Representative on the advice of the Prime Minister in accordance with Article 73 of the Cook Islands Constitution 1964. The Public Service Act 2009 (“Act”) and Cook Islands Constitution 1964 provides the legal framework for the Public Service Commissioner to promote and implement policies and practices that support good governance across the public sector. Section 6 of the Act specifies the functions of the Commissioner.

Statutory Functions of the Commissioner

  • Provides advice to Ministers of the Crown on matters relating to the Public Service
  • Intermediary between Ministers of the Crown and Heads of Department in relation to functions
  • Reviews and makes changes to the machinery of government
  • Instigates inquiries relating to the administration of the public service
  • Investigates unresolved disputes between employers and employees within the public service
  • Appoints Heads of Public Service Departments and negotiates conditions of employment
  • Issues written instructions to Heads of Departments relating to the implementation of government policies
  • Reviews the performance of Heads of Public Service Departments
  • Ensures Heads of Departments are not subject to unlawful or improper pressure from the Ministers of the Crown or members of Parliament
  • Develops and promotes personnel policies and standards for Heads of Departments and Public Service
  • Promotes and ensures compliance with the public service code of conduct and values
  • Provides advice on the training and career development of Public Servants
  • Determines salary ranges for positions in the Public Service in accordance with the remuneration system approved by Cabinet

Scope of Authority

The Public Service Commissioner’s authority extends to 13 heads of public service departments and employees of these departments. All public servants must comply with the Act. Crown agencies and other entities are defined as State Services under the Act, and are required to comply with the remuneration framework of government, good employer principles, public service values, and code of conduct.

Public Service Values

  • Honesty – acting honestly, being truthful, and abiding by the laws of the Cook Islands
  • Impartiality – providing impartial advice, acting without fear or favour, and making decisions on their merits
  • Service – serving the people well through faithful service to the Government of the Cook Islands
  • Respect – treating the people, the Government of the Cook Islands, and colleagues with courtesy and respect
  • Transparency – taking actions and making decisions in an open way
  • Accountability – being able to explain the reason for actions taken, and taking responsibility for those actions
  • Efficiency and effectiveness – achieving good results for the Cook Islands in an economical way

Table 1: Public Service Departments and Leaders

DepartmentsHeads of Department
Ministry of Agriculture (MoA)Ms Temarama Anguna
Ministry of Cultural Development (MoCD)Mr Anthony Turua
Ministry of Education (MoE)Ms Danielle Tungane Cochrane
Ministry of Finance and Economic Management (MFEM)Mr Garth Henderson
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration (MFAI)Ms Tepaeru Herrmann
Ministry of Health (MoH) - ActingDr Josephine Aumea Herman
Ministry of Infrastructure Cook Islands (ICI)Ms Diane Charlie-Puna
Ministry of Internal Affairs (MoIA)Ms Anne Herman
Ministry of Justice (MoJ)Mr Nooapii Tearea (Acting)
Ministry of Marine Resource (MMR)Mr George Matutu (Acting)
Ministry of Transport (MoT)Mr Ned Howard
Office of the Prime Minister (OPM)Mr Ben Ponia
Office of the Public Service Commissioner (OPSC)

Office of the Public Service Commissioner

The Office of the Public Service Commissioner’s (OPSC’s) legislated function is to assist the Commissioner with the general administration of the Public Service Act, under the leadership of the Chief Executive Officer.