Services › Commissions of Inquiry
Service OverviewThe Department of Internal Affairs provides administrative assistance to Royal Commissions and Commissions of Inquiry.
These Commissions are able to inquire into any matter of major public importance or concern to the Government of the day.
An inquiry under the Commissions of Inquiry Act 1908 should be considered when the situation is so unusual that no other approach will do, such as:
- there is considerable public anxiety about the matter
- a major lapse in Government performance appears to be involved
- circumstances giving rise to the inquiry are unique with few or no precedents
- the issue cannot be dealt with through the normal machinery of Government or through the criminal or civil courts
- the issue is in an area too new, complex or controversial for mature policy decisions to be taken.
For other forms of government inqury, see information about the Inquiries Act 2013.
Guidelines for running a Commission of Inquiry
Although not intended as a substitute for legal advice, the publication Setting Up and Running Commissions of Inquiry, published in 2001, will assist everyone involved in a Commission of Inquiry, ranging from politicians who must decide when a Commission is appropriate through to members of the public who wish to attend or study them.
This publication is available:
- in hard copy - from Department of Internal Affairs, PO Box 805, Wellington or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- as a PDF download here: Setting Up and Running Commissions of Inquiry (526k)*
Recent Commissions of Inquiry
- Royal Commission of Inquiry into Building Failure Caused by the Canterbury Earthquakes
- Royal Commission on the Pike River Coal Mine tragedy
- Royal Commission on Auckland Governance (reported on 31 March 31 2009)
- Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct (reported on 3 April 2007)
- Royal Commission on Genetic Modification (reported on 27 July 2001)
- Government Inquiry into Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) Contamination Incident
- Government Inquiry into allegations regarding Hon. Judith Collins and a former Director of the Serious Fraud Office