The public service has two-and-a-half years to end pay discrimination against women, and to make flexi working hours the norm, the government announced today.
Women's Minister Julie Anne Genter and State Services Minister Chris Hipkins said they were taking action to end the existing 12.5 percent pay gap between men and women in the public service.
They have set a target to close the pay gap in two-thirds of core state services by the end of next year, and the rest by 2020.
Ms Genter said allowing flexible working hours was just as important as the pay issue.
"We will change the default setting from 'no' to 'yes'," she said.
There was an existing stigma and pay discrimination in some agencies for flexi workers, many of whom were women, she said.
However, the policy would help both men and women to balance raising a family with working, she said.
The ministers could not say what the cost of closing the pay gap would be.
Official data shows on average women earn between 9 percent and 16 percent less than men in this country, and the gap is even wider for women with children.