The New Zealand school system has recently undergone the most radical restructuring in 100 years. This has involved a decentralization of certain decision-making functions combined with increased self-management at the school level. The legitimating rhetoric proclaimed that these reforms would produce greater flexibility and responsiveness, but in reality they have produced a structure in which managerial decisions are more effectively controlled. There are clear parallels here with the 1988 British Education Reform Act which has been described as a structural change from corporatism to a new form of contractualism (McLean, 1988). It represents a fundamental transformation of educational administration and an extension into the domain of education policy of the same logic that informs market liberalism and economic rationalism.