Abstract This paper provides an overview of the changing role of performance or Value for Money (VFM) auditing in the New Zealand public sector. In many countries there has been a strong interest in public sector reform and the place of accounting technologies such as VFM. A theoretical framework, derived from public policy literature, is used to explain the changing role and relevance of VFM auditing in New Zealand. Within the policy process problems, solutions and opportunities are relatively separate streams. Expert groups or epistemic communities compete to define the problem and to advocate their particular solutions. The Office of the Auditor-General is presented as an epistemic community within the New Zealand policy process and the technology of VFM as a solution to the problems of the day. However, the Treasury (NZ) also developed a policy solution involving radical restructure of the public sector, challenging the existing role of VFM. In response, the Audit Office re-defined the role of VFM auditing as a service to the parliamentary select committees. The changing role of VFM illustrates the flexible and the contestable nature of accounting technologies and casts some doubt on the argument that the growth of accounting in the public sector is inevitable.