The Department of Internal Affairs

The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Resource material › Corporate Publications › Annual Report 2010-11Pūrongo ā Tau

Introduction from the Chief Executive


Brendan Boyle

The past year has been one of significant change, with the creation of a new Department following the integration of Internal Affairs, Archives New Zealand and the National Library, and significant amounts of unplanned work that put pressure on our normal activities and took up large amounts of extra time and effort.

When the year started, the Auckland governance reforms were coming to fruition as the transition to a single territorial authority was coming to an end. These reforms were one of the most significant pieces of policy work this Department has been involved in, starting with our support for the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance in 2008. There has been encouraging progress made in Auckland following the sound work the Department, along with many others, did to support the creation of the new Auckland Council. Our monitoring this year of the Auckland Transition Authority helped ensure there was a smooth transition to the new Auckland Council, which has continued as we have worked with the Auckland Council on its spatial plan.

The integration of Internal Affairs, Archives New Zealand and the National Library was in full swing at the beginning of the year as we prepared for the day we would join forces. I said at the time I announced the Department’s new structure that simply clipping the three organisations together would not work and we needed to create an organisation that could absorb new functions without requiring further structural change. The late inclusion of the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer and the Office for the Community and Voluntary Sector showed we could incorporate other functions without making changes to our structure.

In addition to managing planned change, the Department had to do a large amount of unplanned work as a result of the two major earthquakes in Canterbury. These were extremely disruptive events, and put pressure on the Department through our national civil defence response and the effect the earthquakes had on our staff, services and buildings. The response across the Department illustrates our ability to adapt quickly to extraordinary circumstances, manage our workloads and deliver services to the community. Although we expect to be involved in events because of our civil defence role, the Department is not normally disrupted in the way or to the extent we were in Christchurch. Our staff, many of whom were personally affected, worked diligently over the period of the national declaration and beyond to ensure people in worse circumstances were helped. Many of our buildings were damaged, and we have had to find alternative accommodation, as many other organisations have done.

We took on a crucial role in establishing the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust by setting up the fundraising mechanisms and establishing the framework for the Trust’s operations to assure the public that it could have confidence in donating to it. We are now supporting the Trust with secretariat services to ensure it effectively distributes the money donated to it.

These two earthquakes reinforced the central role the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management — a key part of the Department — plays and the responsibility Internal Affairs has in helping communities respond to and recover from these events.

The Department has a long history of providing its core function — connecting the people and communities of New Zealand with their government — and some of the significant events in the past year are testament to this. We were instrumental in establishing the two Royal Commissions investigating the Pike River mine explosion and the Canterbury earthquakes, and had significant roles in the two public memorial events following these tragedies.

Preparations for the Rugby World Cup have involved many people from every branch of the Department. The Department’s activities range from managing VIP visits as part of the Guest of Government Programme, protecting public safety should there be a civil defence event, providing passport support services to tournament organisers and ensuring compliance with laws we enforce such as gambling and anti-spam, through to publicising the start of daylight saving, funding the nationwide REAL New Zealand Festival and holding exhibitions about the haka and our rugby history.

The Department has become a significantly different organisation over the past year. We ended the year with a new structure, a new leadership team, and new mandates to take a lead role in particular areas in the public service. At the same time, we are continuing to make efficiencies and to improve the services we provide to individuals, communities and government.

We, like many other agencies, are still a Department in transition. The public service is going through profound change and agencies are responding positively and adapting to the Government’s requirements. Ministers gave us the responsibility for creating an organisation that is stronger and has more influence than the previous agencies and functions. I am confident we have done that.

Brendan Boyle's signature

Brendan Boyle
Chief Executive

Back to top