Finance Minister Bill English has urged welfare agencies to come up with innovative ways of improving social services without looking for extra money.
Mr English made his comments at a forum organised by the Families Commission on Wednesday.
More than 100 representatives from health, social and welfare organisations are spending the day looking at how New Zealand can effectively improve the wellbeing of families within current economic constraints.
Chief Commissioner Carl Davidson admits the commission is taking a risk by running the seminar.
While he supports the seminar's objectives, Mr English says the commission's spending would be scrutinised in the future.
Mr Davidson says the commission's job is to ensure that ideas generated by the seminar are turned into action.