The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Resource material › Corporate Publications › Part Two: Outcome Contribution

Managing for Outcomes

The Department has a strong commitment to managing for outcomes. This involves a sustained and critical focus on what we do, why, how well and with what results.

We have identified three “Outcomes1” that we believe contribute to goals and priorities for the Government and the community. These are key outcomes for the Minister of Internal Affairs and Vote Ministers. They are:

  • Strong, sustainable communities/hapū/iwi.
  • Safer communities (This outcome has three parts: hazards to the community, gambling and objectionable material).
  • Trusted records of New Zealand identity.

We also contribute to the objective2

  • Executive Government is well supported.

This is the Department's fifth Statement of Intent (SOI). During 2005/06 we have reviewed the outcome framework presented in the 2005 SOI and simplified our generic approach to managing for outcomes in response to feedback from staff and other agencies. This has involved testing our intervention logic and outcome enablers to set out more clearly what we do (“our contribution”) and how the Department makes that contribution, through a series of intermediate outcomes, to results for government and the community.

During 2005/06 we have focused on getting better clarity for our intermediate outcomes and will use this to drive the development of evaluation work for 2006/07 and beyond. This builds on existing evaluation work underway in the Department, which is already being used to identify critical policy issues for the government and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of advice and services we deliver. Long term this greater clarity will make it easier for us to build an evidence base to assess the effectiveness of our actions.

Changes to the Public Finance Act 1989 in 2004 introduced a requirement to report on the cost effectiveness of interventions that the department delivers or administers. It is challenging to develop useful measures of cost-effectiveness – particularly where there is no readily quantifiable measure of impact. As outlined in the succeeding sections, the Department presently uses available evidence to demonstrate the effectiveness and efficiency of current and proposed interventions. Given the increased focus on cost-effectiveness, our future evaluation work will include a focus on developing useful measures of cost-effectiveness.

As part of the Department's planning and budgeting process, a prioritisation process is used to test the cost effectiveness of proposed expenditure and the criteria include alignment to outcomes and Ministerial priorities. Information on estimated cost effectiveness and funding alternatives is also contained in relevant budget bids, or in relevant project business cases.

During 2005/06 we have also focused on identifying more clearly where we are contributing to outcomes being led by other agencies, particularly for our objective of ensuring Executive Government is well supported. As a result, a series of intermediate outcomes have been identified that link to outcomes being led by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage (Culture and Heritage).

The remainder of this part of the document provides details on the nature of each outcome (or objective), our role and the way we contribute to the outcome. There is a commentary on evaluating progress, highlighting evidence collected and how it is shaping our choice of interventions. A section on challenges and opportunities outlines key issues for the future and how we are dealing with them. This includes an assessment of the operating environment (including risks) and the Department's intended response. This is followed by details of our planned outcome contribution, looking out three years, and a brief commentary on outcome related capability issues. Generic Department-wide capability issues are addressed in Part Three.

To aid the reader each principal section is headed by a diagram indicating how our outputs and activities contribute to the delivery of outcomes for the community. Although the subtleties of interconnection between the parts cannot be captured in a simple diagram, the diagrams demonstrate the logic and consistency of our approach. (The many outputs we undertake to achieve our outcomes are set out in detail in the Statement of Service Performance ).

Strong, Sustainable Communities/Hapū/Iwi

The Community's Interest

Strong, Sustainable

Our Intermediate Outcomes Communities are empowered and able to help themselves Communities recognise and enjoy the economic, social and cultural benefits of diversity People engage with and participate in their communities Communities are supported by fair and responsive local government and other local groups and organisations
The Department's Role
Our Contribution Providing advice on community development Helping communities place a positive value on fairness and diversity Providing communities with access to resources through grant funding and services Providing advice and information on the system of local government Promoting effective relationships between local government and communities Encouraging responsive organisations that seek community feedback
Our Outputs and Activities Policy advice Facilitating interaction between ethnic and host communities Administration of local government legislation, community grants, local government grants and rebates, and other resources Information and advice to individuals, community groups, councils and government Design and delivery of community development programs Facilitating central government - local government interaction, and interactions within communities Evaluating and reporting on the Department's community and local government activities
Our Output Expenses Vote Community & Voluntary Sector Policy Advice Vote Internal Affairs Policy Advice Vote Local Government Policy Advice Vote Internal Affairs Services for Ethnic Affairs Vote Community & Voluntary Sector Administration of Grants Vote Community & Voluntary Sector Community Advisory Services Vote Local Government Information, Support and Regulatory Services
We work with
  • Central government agencies
  • Local authorities
  • Local Government New Zealand
  • Local Government Commission
  • The Society of Local Government Managers
  • Ethnic Communities
  • Hapū/Iwi
  • Race Relations Conciliator
  • Pacific Islands Consultation and Advisory Group (PICAG)
  • Te Atamira Taiwhenua
  • Volunteer Groups
  • Churches
  • Sports Bodies
  • Community Organisations
  • Community Groups


Strong, sustainable communities, hapū and iwi are an important building block for achieving positive social, economic, cultural and environmental outcomes. Both central and local government have key roles in ensuring that communities are able to define and work toward their own needs and aspirations as part of a forward-looking New Zealand.

The Department of Internal Affairs has particular responsibilities for:

  • supporting the system of local government (through administration of aspects of the statutory framework and the provision of information and advice)
  • enhancing community development (by providing advice on community and voluntary sector issues, community advisory and information services and administration of grants)
  • acting as a point of contact between government and ethnic people (by providing information and advice about and for ethnic communities).

The Department has a leadership role in managing the interface between central government and local government. We also have a leadership role in promoting enhanced relationships between government and ethnic communities.

To achieve strong, sustainable communities we have identified four intermediate outcomes which need to be attained:

  • people engage with and participate in their communities
  • communities are empowered and able to help themselves
  • communities are supported by fair and responsive local government and other local groups and organisations
  • communities recognise and enjoy the economic, social and cultural benefits of diversity.
What is needed for a strong, sustainable community?

International research suggests that the components needed for a strong, sustainable community are:

  • community identity, shared values and self-determination
  • skilled leaders
  • capable organisations
  • strong networks and civic participation opportunities
  • fair and effective representation
  • supportive legislative and regulatory environment
  • necessary local infrastructure
  • access to necessary resources
  • access to advice, research, information and technology.

These are the assumptions that lie behind much of our work.

Evaluating Progress

The links between the Department's contribution to the outcome and the intermediate outcomes are underpinned by a set of assumptions about what is needed to build strong, sustainable communities. These assumptions, originally identified by the Sustainable Community Development Framework as enablers, were included in our last SOI. We have since revised our intermediate outcomes to get better clarity about how we contribute to strong, sustainable communities, hapū and iwi.

People engage with and participate in their communities

Communities are networks of people, groups or organisations, linked together on the basis of shared identity, location, ancestry or interest. To create a strong and sustainable community, the members of new and existing communities should be able to participate in and support local groups, organisations and activities which enhance the quality of life across the various types of communities.

Volunteers play a critical role in communities. More than one million New Zealanders are actively involved in regular volunteer work, contributing millions of unpaid hours to groups in areas such as sport, social service, the arts and the environment. Volunteers also help to provide essential fire fighting, ambulance, and search and rescue services in many areas. A study of 10 volunteer organisations in 20023 found that the total value of voluntary inputs (volunteers and donations) was between $140 million and $220 million, with volunteers making up the equivalent of over 4,000 full-time equivalent employees.

Much of the work of the Department, particularly its grant funding, supports and is supported by volunteer activity. The Department will continue to support volunteer agencies and volunteers to enable them to make a positive contribution to their communities.

We analyse voter turnout at local body elections as a gauge of participation and of the strength of our local communities. Average voter turnout at the last local authority elections in October 2004 was 46% (range 72–35%) for territorial authorities, and 45% (range 68–42%) for regional councils which is an overall decrease on previous years. Although lower than the turnout for national elections, this rate is still favourable compared with local elections internationally. The Department is looking at voter education programmes with the objective of ensuring that electors have a greater awareness of the opportunity to vote at the 2007 local elections and of how to vote in STV elections.

Communities are empowered and able to help themselves

A strong and sustainable community is able to build on its inherent strengths, and is better able to plan for its future economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being. It has access to the information (and resources) it needs for success and operates in an atmosphere of confidence.

CommunityNet Aotearoa ( helps community organisations by providing access to relevant quality information and encouraging information-sharing between organisations. The site has 1,027 links to useful websites for community organisations.

Access to information

We administer these grant funding bodies:
  • Digital Strategy Community Partnership Fund
  • Significant Community-Based Projects Fund
  • Community Organisations Grant Scheme (COGS)
  • Community Development Scheme
  • Community Internship Programme
  • Māori Community Development Worker Scheme
  • Community-Based Youth Development Fund
  • Youth Worker Training Scheme
  • Community Project Worker Scheme: Crime Prevention
We support the lottery grants board:
  • 1 national committee
  • 11 regional community committees
  • 2 national subcommittees
  • 5 other national committees supporting specialist areas (e.g. outdoor safety)
The lottery grants board also administers and allocates funding for statutory bodies including:
  • SPARC (Sport and Recreation New Zealand)
  • Creative New Zealand
  • New Zealand Film Commission
We administer the following trusts and fellowships:
  • Chinese Poll Tax Heritage Trust
  • New Zealand Winston Churchill Memorial Trust
  • Norman Kirk Memorial Trust
  • Pacific Development and Conservations Trust
  • Peace and Disarmament Education Trust
  • Disarmament Education UN Implementation Fund

Through our community and ethnic advisors and other staff, the Department helps community groups and voluntary organisations to access essential advice, information and resources. In this way, the Department is able to enhance the ability of communities to work towards their own improved well-being.

The Department provides extensive community advisory services, based in 16 locations throughout the country. Surveys of the Community Advisory Service indicate that the service not only meets its performance targets, but is regularly recommended by participants to others in their community. This feedback helps us to shape future service delivery.

The Government's Digital Strategy is about using the power of information and communications technology (ICT) to enhance all aspects of New Zealanders' lives. The Department will continue to ensure that services such as CommunityNet Aotearoa are aligned to the Digital Strategy and remain effective in supporting community groups. Other Department programmes, such as also help us to provide digital information about local government to the public.

Access to resourcing

The Department supports communities by administering grant funding for community groups. This includes:

  • the Community Organisation Grants Scheme (COGS), which is now in its twentieth year of operation
  • supporting the Lottery Grants Board
  • the direct administration of a number of other grant schemes.

In 2005 the Department facilitated the distribution of $122 million of grant funding for communities.

To ensure that these funds are used appropriately, the Department has revised the risk and audit process for grant recipients. We are currently trialling these systems on a range of organisations. This is part of our commitment to ensure that grant funding is effectively administered and able to provide the greatest benefit for communities receiving funding.

Our regular survey of clients for the Lottery Grants Board indicates that they continue to be satisfied with the services provided by the Department. Through the introduction of Grants Online, and the UPLIFT course for taking ICT skills into the community, the Department is demonstrating its commitment to innovative service delivery and its support for major Government initiatives such as the Digital Strategy.

Assessing the impact of the various funding schemes we administer is an iterative process. Some of the programmes were set up prior to the adoption of a “managing for outcomes” approach. As we take on new responsibilities, evaluation is being built in from the outset. For example, the Significant Community-Based Project Fund, opened in 2005, which supports community-based projects and events of regional and national significance, includes an evaluation programme.

Communities are supported by fair and responsive local government and other local groups and organisations

A strong and sustainable community is supported and led by effective local government and well-governed local organisations. Our effectiveness in this area is discernible in a variety of ways.

Fair and responsive local government

Local government plays an important role in delivering services and promoting community well-being.

The Department monitors the effectiveness of local government legislation. Proactive monitoring and consultation with the local government sector regularly sees local government law reform legislation introduced to Parliament addressing issues of the effective implementation of various statutes by councils. The Department has also produced a strategy outlining our long-term evaluation of three major pieces of local government legislation: the Local Electoral Act 2001, the Local Government Act 2002 and the Local Government (Rating) Act 2002. This will assess the extent to which the legislation is achieving its intended outcomes and will be undertaken through to 2013.

Through new services such as the website, the Department aims to improve the general understanding of local government, and how people can get involved in local council processes. Long-term Council Community Plans set out local councils' priorities for the next 10 years and the things they will do to assist communities to enhance their well-being. They are an important part of the community outcomes process introduced by the Local Government Act 2002, and the Department is facilitating central government engagement in the process. Our website is designed to develop a better understanding of the community outcomes process generally.

Together with other policy, evaluation and information initiatives, the Department is looking to support the Government in identifying and addressing issues facing local government.

Through the interface team (, the Department of Internal Affairs facilitates contact between local authorities and those government agencies who have a potential role as stakeholders.

Trusted local groups and organisations

Capable community organisations are an important feature of strong, sustainable communities. Over 23,000 incorporated societies, 10,000 charitable trusts and thousands more unregistered organisations are present in New Zealand. The Department manages the process of ministerial appointments to community trusts, which distribute over $60 million per annum of public money to support community initiatives and developments. We also continue to monitor the use of funding by local groups and organisations to ensure that this funding is helping communities to achieve their aspirations.

The Charities Commission was established on 1 July 2005 to register, educate, report on and monitor charities that wish to retain or obtain exemptions from income tax. In our role as administrator of the legislation, the Department will be providing policy advice, supporting the development of the charities register and monitoring the performance of the Charities Commission. In this way we will be helping to ensure that community organisations are trusted and able to show effective governance and resource use.

“One of the most distinctive features of contemporary New Zealand is our increasingly diverse population. As New Zealand moves forward, we must address needs across a range of communities and ethnicities.

Social solidarity will be critical to our country's success. My Government will continue to promote tolerance and understanding between all those who make up our nation. The New Zealand way has always been to move forward together, recognising the independence of individuals, while pooling our collective talent for the good of our economy and society.”

Governor-general's speech from the throne 8 november 2005

Communities recognise and enjoy the economic, social and cultural benefits of diversity

New Zealand is becoming an increasingly diverse country. Strong, sustainable communities will demonstrate an ability to benefit from these changes.

In some countries, the rapid increases in ethnic and religious diversity that New Zealand has experienced have led to an increase in tension, alienation and sometimes open conflict. In other countries, new migrants and their descendents have been welcomed and are encouraged to contribute to all aspects of the host society. We have welcomed many new communities to our country in recent years. We must ensure that everyone benefits from the process.

The Department, particularly through the Office of Ethnic Affairs, acts as a point of contact between government and ethnic people and provides information and advice about and for ethnic communities. The Office assists communities to feel empowered to fully participate in New Zealand society, through helping them to make themselves seen, heard and accepted. We also enhance understanding of integration and its benefits by working with host communities to help them accept and include ethnic people, and with government agencies to ensure that government services are responsive to diverse needs. Overall, the majority of ethnic affairs services were rated as satisfactory or better by at least 80% of respondents in the 2004/05 client satisfaction survey.

Language Line is a telephone interpreting service. It offers our customers immediate access by telephone to interpreters who can provide an instant interpretation function in 37 different languages.

Within minutes an interpreter is available on the telephone, allowing the official and the customer to communicate.

Over 50,000 successful interpreting sessions have taken place since Language Line began in April 2003.

The Department provides Language Line to facilitate communication between officials and communities, thereby giving speakers of other languages the same rights of access to service as other New Zealanders. An external evaluation of Language Line in 2005 found that the service was meeting its objectives and reducing communication barriers.

Along with other government agencies, we have promoted the Ethnic Perspectives in Policy (EPP) Framework to increase the responsiveness of policies and processes to diverse and flexible needs. Our evaluation of the implementation of EPP found that government agencies wanted more support in implementing the framework. We have responded by developing intercultural awareness training resources, which are now being made available. Based on this framework, we provide advice on new policy proposals that might impact on ethnically diverse people.

We have been actively involved with a number of government agencies developing research priorities and promoting whole-of-government research to evaluate and measure various aspects of integration and cultural and social well-being for ethnic communities. Our Office of Ethnic Affairs is leading a joint research project with Statistics New Zealand to improve the quality and quantity of policy-relevant research data on ethnic communities. This will allow government to better understand and address the diverse needs of New Zealanders.

During 2006/07 we will be developing a research and evaluation strategy to better monitor progress. Interim feedback on our choice of interventions, from a range of stakeholders both within New Zealand and internationally, has reinforced the current strategic direction.

The Department has a particular role in relation to ethnic people, but we contribute to numerous Government strategies which seek to ensure that the needs of diverse groups are recognised. We provide reports on particular initiatives to the agencies leading this work, including initiatives for reducing inequalities, effectiveness for Māori, Pacific people, positive ageing, ethnic responsiveness and disabilities.

Challenges and opportunities

Four areas for action stand out.

Responding to population change

Our communities are changing, and will continue to do so.

  • Family structures are changing.
  • We have an ageing population.
  • We have an increase in Māori, Pacific and other ethnic groups, particularly in the younger generations.
  • There are increasing social inequalities.
  • Increasing urbanisation can challenge small isolated rural communities.

We are monitoring such changes and adjusting our responses accordingly. The Department needs to ensure that its programmes are meeting the needs of identified groups, within the context of competing demands for government services and assistance.

Contributing to all aspects of community well-being

The Government has set out to build a strong, proud, confident New Zealand – growing and developing, and enabling all it's people to share in progress. The Government's priorities are to:

  • progress our economic transformation to a high income, knowledge based market economy, which is both innovative and creative and provides a unique quality of life for all New Zealanders
  • ensure all families, young and old, have the support and choices they need to be secure and able to reach their full potential within our knowledge based economy
  • have all New Zealanders able to take pride in who and what we are, through our arts, culture, film, sports and music, our appreciation of our natural environment, our understanding of our history, and our stance on international issues.

Strong, sustainable communities contribute to economic and environmental, as well as social and cultural, well-being. Through our work with local government and community grant funding, we are contributing to local economic development, the provision of infrastructural services, environmental management, facilities development and heritage protection. In addition, we are focusing on demonstrating the economic benefits of diversity and the innovation that diversity stimulates. As part of our focus on managing for outcomes we will be looking to better understand and articulate our contribution to all the elements of community well-being.

How local and national communities choose to order their priorities, and how the Government might contribute to local well-being in order to improve national well-being, is likely to be a major consideration for the future. By monitoring community outcomes and analysing information about the local government sector, the Department will be better able to identify and respond to emerging trends.

Funding and service provision

In the face of increasing community expectations, both local government and communities are facing pressure for funds and resources to enable them to continue to provide their current levels of service. The Department is aware that local authorities are coming under increasing pressure to fund the infrastructure required, and desired, by their residents. In 2005, the Department undertook research on funding issues facing the local government sector. This work on funding issues will be continuing this year jointly with local government.

There is increasing competition for grant funding and it is vital that the Government's investment is targeted to deliver results for the community. We will be working to ensure that all grant funding administered by the Department is more closely linked to outcomes. We will also be working closely with other agencies to ensure co-ordinated approaches and cost-effective alignment of investment.

The value of citizenship

The Department administers citizenship processes for New Zealand, and is taking the lead in developing understanding of the nature and value of New Zealand citizenship. Currently migrants are not actively encouraged to acquire citizenship, and the percentage of permanent residents who do become citizens is not recorded. Citizenship is a demonstration of commitment to New Zealand society. The benefits for the individual and for New Zealand in recognising the value of citizenship are real. Given the changing nature of the New Zealand population, it may be timely to develop an awareness of citizenship in the community.

Planned Outcome Contribution

Building strong, sustainable communities is an outcome that requires constant, steady attention across a wide range of activities, since the result is influenced by so many factors. We have set ourselves a series of priorities in each of our intermediate outcome areas.

People engage with and participate in their communities

In this area, our priorities are:

  • the forthcoming local authority elections
  • enhancing access to facilities by non-English speakers
  • encouraging recognition of the worth of citizenship.

We will be encouraging citizen participation in the 2007 local authority elections, and wider civic participation within ethnic communities. The Department will be supporting a campaign to ensure that people are aware of their opportunity to vote in the 2007 local authority elections and better understand the Single Transferable Voting system.

We will continue to promote the use of Language Line to facilitate communication between officials and communities, providing speakers of other languages with the same rights of access to service as other New Zealanders.

We will undertake further work, in consultation with other agencies, on the feasibility of promoting the uptake by migrants of New Zealand citizenship.

Communities are empowered and able to help themselves

Our priorities in this area are:

  • to promote the use of a “managing for outcomes” approach to ensure that community development programmes and grant funding provide the best results for the community
  • to add value by undertaking joint policy programmes with other agencies
  • to use our programmes to advance the national Digital Strategy and improve access to information.

We will continue to provide advice, information and support to community organisations and networks, including assisting them to develop effective leadership, governance and management systems. We will continue to provide support, including grant funding, to community groups.

We will work with the Office for the Community and Voluntary Sector and other government agencies to review opportunities for joint agency programmes.We will implement the Connecting Communities programme and the Community Partnership Fund as part of the rollout of the national Digital Strategy, so as to improve the uptake of information technology in communities, using existing platforms such as CommunityNet Aotearoa to improve access to information.

Communities are supported by fair and responsive local government and other local groups and organisations

The Commonwealth Local Government Conference is an international biennial event. In March 2007, it will be hosted by the New Zealand Government in Auckland, in partnership with the Commonwealth Local Government Forum.

The Department of Internal Affairs is arranging the hosting of this event, on behalf of the government.

The conference is expected to attract between 500 and 700 mayors, central government ministers, and senior central and local government officials from throughout the Commonwealth. The theme of the conference will be Delivering Development Through Local Leadership.

Here, our focus will be to:

  • encourage the sharing of good practice and the exchange of information on the community outcomes process between central and local government
  • undertake an examination of local government funding
  • ensure a successful Commonwealth Local Government Conference in 2007
  • ensure the successful implementation of the enhanced Rates Rebate scheme.

Through our central/local government interface team, we will encourage the sharing of good practice and the exchange of information related to the community outcomes process, to ensure local and central government agencies are better able to respond to community priorities. We will work to improve our knowledge and provide advice about the issues facing local government and its capability to address issues for the future. We will promote effective and integrated relationships and services (including continuing to monitor and evaluate the legislative and regulatory framework).

We are working with the local government sector to undertake an examination of local government funding powers and conducting some case studies around ratepayers' ability to pay, to see what improvements to local authority funding powers may be appropriate.

We will organise the Commonwealth Local Government Conference in 2007. This will provide local authorities from throughout the world with an opportunity to share best practice.

We will continue to administer the Rates Rebate Scheme to support councils to assist those on low incomes.

We will monitor the Charities Commission and provide policy advice and support to the development of the charities register and other matters affecting the Commission.

Communities recognise and enjoy the economic, social and cultural benefits of diversity

In this intermediate outcome area, our priorities are to:

  • continue the development and delivery of programmes that recognise and support diversity
  • participate in the implementation of the settlement strategy, especially in regard to new settlers who have been in New Zealand for more than two years
  • promote Ethnic Perspectives in Policy and “intercultural awareness and communication” training
  • implement programmes that encourage communities to interact and thereby recognise the benefits of diversity, including ethnic diversity.

We will implement programmes that encourage communities to communicate and recognise the value of diversity, including ethnic diversity. For example, the Building Bridges programme is a pilot programme under way to encourage dialogue with and within Muslim communities. Our community forums also encourage dialogue across a wide range of communities. We will contribute to various Government strategies which seek to ensure the needs of diverse groups are recognised, in relation to reducing inequalities, effectiveness for Māori, Pacific people, positive ageing, ethnic responsiveness and the New Zealand Disability Strategy.

We will continue to work with organisations (including government agencies) to improve their responsiveness to ethnic and other groups facing difficulty participating in, or sharing the benefits of, New Zealand's progress. The “intercultural awareness and communication” training and the Culture CD-ROM are training tools we have developed to help raise awareness of intercultural communication issues. To improve the ethnic responsiveness of government agencies, we will continue to promote and monitor the Government's framework Ethnic Perspectives in Policy. To support this, we will provide intercultural awareness and communication training resources.

We will participate in the implementation of the Government's New Zealand Settlement Strategy at national and regional levels. We will provide assistance to those new settlers who have been in New Zealand for more than two years, to allow them to form supportive social networks and establish a sustainable community identity, to feel safe expressing their ethnic identity, to be accepted by and become part of the wider host community and to participate in civic, community and social activities.

Maintaining and Developing Capability

We are building our capability through a number of new and ongoing projects.

  • To increase skill levels of our community advisory staff in the field, we have commenced a professional development framework project.
  • To improve the responsiveness of our service delivery to Māori, we will continue to implement the Te Whakamotuhaketanga Hapū Strategy.
  • We will continue to build strong links with local communities, including ethnic communities and hapū/iwi, and to develop relationships with central and local government.
  • Having revised our intermediate outcomes during 2005/06, we will develop an improved evaluation strategy to monitor our performance in this outcome area.

Safer Communities

Communities are more resilient to hazards and their risks

The community's interest

Safer Communities

Communities are more resilient to hazards and their risks

Our Intermediate Outcomes The overall risk from hazardous events has been reduced to a level acceptable to the community Individuals and communities are resilient and self-reliant through being well informed of hazards, their consequences and how best to manage and prepare for them CDEM stakeholders are prepared for emergencies and can respond effectively Communities can recover faster from emergencies, minimising negative long-term impacts
The department's role
Our Contribution Creating a sound CDEM and fire policy environment Strengthening CDEM planning across the four “R's” (risk reduction, readiness, response, recovery) to foster increased community resilience Building a culture of community safety and self-reliance, through participation in CDEM Raising the public's awareness and understanding of the risks associated with New Zealand's hazards Building the capacity and commitment of CDEM stakeholders
Our Outputs and Activities Policy Advice Building and maintaining readiness for national emergencies Monitoring of emergency events and preparedness Research, information and education Sector support and sector professional development Coordination of central government response and recovery support
Our Output Expenses Vote Emergency Management Policy Advice Vote Internal Affairs Policy Advice Vote Emergency Management Management of National Emergency Readiness, Response and Recovery Vote Emergency Management Monitoring National Emergency Readiness, Response and Recovery Vote Emergency Management Support Services, Information and Education
We work with
  • Central government services
  • Emergency services
  • Crown Research Institutes
  • Local Government
  • Regional agencies
  • Lifeline utilities
  • Community groups
  • Welfare agencies
  • Non-governmental organisations
  • International agencies
  • United Nations
  • International CDEM sector


A fundamental responsibility of the Government is to protect the citizens of New Zealand. New Zealand's dynamic physical environment exposes us to a wide variety of hazards.

The Department, through the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management (MCDEM), has a leadership role in developing structures, processes to support individuals and communities in reducing risk, managing and recovering from civil defence emergencies. Our overall aim is for communities to be more resilient to hazards and their risks.

The importance of this work was emphasised by overseas events, such as the Boxing Day Tsunami of December 2004 and Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf of Mexico in August 2005. The recent 75th anniversary of the 1931 Napier Earthquake has been a vivid reminder of the forces of nature in New Zealand. It highlights the need for communities to be prepared for and be able to recover from emergency events.

Under the Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Act 2002, a National CDEM Strategy, Resilient New Zealand, A Aotearoa manahau, sets out the Crown's vision for CDEM in New Zealand. This is that New Zealanders will understand and will routinely act to reduce and avoid the adverse effects of hazards because they value the enduring social, economic, cultural and environmental benefits of doing so. This is encapsulated as “Resilient New Zealand – communities understanding and managing their hazards.” Realising this vision requires action from all areas of society.

To make communities more resilient to hazards and their risks, the Department has set itself four intermediate outcomes:

  • the overall risk from hazardous events has been reduced to a level acceptable to the community
  • individuals and communities are resilient and self-reliant through being well informed of hazards, their consequences and how best to manage and prepare for them
  • CDEM stakeholders are prepared for emergencies and can respond effectively
  • communities can recover faster from emergencies, minimising negative long-term impacts.

Evaluating Progress

Our focus over the past three years has been on implementing and consolidating the CDEM planning framework created by the CDEM Act 2002. The Department has a continuing responsibility for monitoring and evaluating progress and outcomes from the National CDEM Strategy.

Reviewing the CDEM framework

The review of the flood events of February 2004 by Dr Piers Reid and the review of CDEM operations by the State Services Commission (SSC) confirmed that the CDEM framework was robust but identified a need to enhance:

  • CDEM sector capability
  • public education/community involvement
  • capacity and capability of MCDEM.

The Department has made significant progress on implementing recommendations since the release of the review. In the majority of instances recommendations either are being addressed, either through the CDEM planning process, or as part of MCDEM's business as usual. In addition, a small number of recommendations have been referred to other government agencies. The recommendations to enhance the capacity and capability of MCDEM have also been addressed, as outlined here.

Reviewing lessons learned

MCDEM undertakes a comprehensive review of its performance after every declared emergency. Lessons learned from events in New Zealand (the February 2004 Floods and the Bay of Plenty Floods, including the Matata flood event in 2005), and from abroad (Hurricanes K atrina and Rita in the United States, the Boxing Day Tsunami, and the threat of global pandemic influenza), are key drivers in determining the way forward.

Following the flood event at Matata in May 2005, a new approach was taken for the recovery process. Supported by MCDEM, local authorities developed a regeneration plan dealing with concerns for reducing future risk at the community level. Issues of cost, risk, and who pays, were addressed. Lessons learned during the Matata recovery process will strengthen our approach and processes for recovery management going forward.

Preparing for new potential threats

In response to the Boxing Day tsunami in the Indian Ocean, the Government asked for more information on the risk of tsunami for New Zealand and our preparedness to deal with them. MCDEM commissioned Crown Research Institute, Geological and Nuclear Sciences Ltd, to deliver two reports:

  • a hazard and risk report, providing a synthesis of the current knowledge on the tsunami hazard in New Zealand and the risks of tsunami to New Zealand communities
  • a preparedness report, reviewing New Zealand's level of preparedness at the national and regional level for the tsunami hazards identified in the hazard and risk report.

The reports, released in December 2005, found that the historical incidence in New Zealand of damaging tsunami has been low. However, the potential tsunami risk for coastal communities in vulnerable areas is significantly greater than previously understood. The reports concluded that preparedness can reduce the potential risk of death and injury from tsunami by 90–95%. However, if a tsunami did strike communities there could be significant loss of life, comparable to that predicted for earthquakes.

MCDEM is currently preparing a report for Government on priorities to improve arrangements for managing New Zealand's tsunami risk. This will be completed in early 2006/07. Implementation of the recommended priorities will occur during 2006/07 and 2007/08.

Preparing for the pandemic threat

“...while public awareness is high, most New Zealanders have not taken steps to prepare themselves for a pandemic... we need to encourage people to start putting some of the simple measures that will make a difference into place, like having an emergency supplies kit.”

Hon Pete Hodgson, Minister of Health 3 February 2006

The possibility of an influenza pandemic has recently added an entirely new challenge. The emergence of the H5N1 virus in large parts of Asia in 2004 has highlighted the risk of an influenza pandemic. The World Health Organisation notes that the spread of this virus has probably moved the world closer to another pandemic than it has been at any time since 1968.

MCDEM is supporting the Ministry of Health in its whole-of-government approach to pandemic planning. MCDEM and the CDEM sector are together leading the planning for managing potential community impacts arising from a pandemic.

Reviewing output performance

The Department undertakes formal evaluation of many of its activities and uses this to refine the services we deliver.

We have revised our intermediate outcomes to address the next phase in the development of our focus on the four “R's” of CDEM (reduction of risk, readiness, response and recovery). These four elements of community resilience represent the cornerstone of the work MCDEM undertakes. We have also modified our statement of service performance measures to create more meaningful and measurable indicators for the future.

MCDEM is an internationally recognised leader in emergency management. MCDEM's best-practice guidelines and research, and elements of New Zealand's legislative framework, are being adopted overseas. New Zealand is part of the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team, and is able to access international assistance, if required, in the event of a major disaster in New Zealand.

Challenges and Opportunities

The challenges and opportunities for enhancing civil defence emergency management were identified in the review reports by Dr Piers Reid and the SSC and are being addressed. They will continue to shape our work programme over the next three years.

Raising public awareness

Public education is a key priority. Our new civil defence emergency management environment, as set out in the CDEM Act 2002, is all about managing disasters in the community, and supporting that with strong regional and national arrangements. Instilling this message is MCDEM's single most important goal. A key objective will be to achieve recognition and acceptance of the “Resilient New Zealand” concept, which now underpins civil defence emergency management.

Stakeholder and public expectations are increasing with their understanding of the risks and hazards New Zealanders face and the implications of events abroad for their own communities. The challenge is to ensure that heightened awareness is translated into active preparation.

In Budget 2005 the Department received $6.1 million over four years for a public awareness programme. This programme is under development and initial messages will start to appear during 2006.

Resilient New Zealand - central government, communities, individuals and the emergency services working together to protect against civil defence emergencies.

Advancing the CDEM planning framework

The new National CDEM Plan was made by Order in Council in November 2005. A Guide has now been drafted to accompany the National CDEM Plan, both of which come into effect on 1 July 2006. The National CDEM Plan sets out how Government will manage a national emergency and how it will support CDEM groups in their management of local events.

The National CDEM Plan has been a major piece of work. Focus will now be on giving effect to the National CDEM Plan at a national and local level. All CDEM Group Plans are now in force, and the respective groups are working on the actions and outcomes set out in their plans. Additional resources are to be located in the regions to support CDEM groups and their professional development. As part of an ongoing review process, the National CDEM Plan will be reviewed in two years, with a stocktake to help identify any critical resource gaps.

Reviewing the provision and funding of fire and rescue services

The Department is undertaking a major review of the provision and funding of fire services in New Zealand. The overall objective of the review is the development of a new nationwide approach to the governance and organisation of fire risk management services and first responses to fire and other emergencies, including floods and motor vehicle crashes. An initial consultation document, on options for change, was released in late 2004. A second consultation paper, proposing the creation of a new Crown entity, the Fire and Rescue Service, and options for its funding has now been prepared. Completion of the consultation process in 2006 will prepare the way for new legislation to be drafted. A new Act is planned to replace the Fire Service Act 1975 and the Forest and Rural Fires Act 1977.

Planned Outcome Contribution

The Department will continue to manage the introduction of the CDEM regime established by the CDEM Act 2002. We will be managing a full work programme, while maintaining our readiness and capability to respond to and recover from civil defence emergencies.

In the three year period ahead, we will drive the achievement of outcomes by directing our endeavours in the following areas:

Continue to improve New Zealand's national CDEM arrangements

  • continue improving MCDEM's readiness capability, ability to manage disasters at the national level, and ability to support disaster management at the local level
  • implement the National CDEM Plan and Guide (which come into effect on 1 July 2006)
  • review the policy basis of Government's role in recovery from disasters, examining the effectiveness of current recovery funding policies against the decisions that arose from the 2004 flood events
  • monitor and evaluate the progress made against the requirements of the CDEM Act 2002, and monitor the work programmes in the 16 CDEM Group Plans.

Develop the CDEM sector

  • reinforce the understanding of the CDEM sector's role in managing disasters in the community (through professional development, stakeholder liaison and workshops) and supporting the CDEM Groups
  • continue the establishment of cluster groups (e.g., welfare, health, transport, infrastructure, science) at the national level and their promulgation into the regional level; and encourage coordination across a range of agencies, recognising that emergencies are multi-agency events
  • build CDEM capabilities across the four R's (reduction of risk, readiness, response and recovery), through the provision of CDEM professional development programmes; and support the CDEM sector through the development of guidelines, codes, technical standards and other CDEM sector information publications
  • plan for and undertake a national exercise programme, for CDEM Groups and MCDEM, to test and improve their readiness under the new National CDEM Plan, with the first national exercise to occur in early – mid 2007.

Increase public awareness

  • manage a four-year public education programme to increase public awareness and understanding of the risks associated with New Zealand's hazards, and how to prepare for them.

Identify and respond to potential threats

  • prepare a National Hazardscape Report to further increase understanding of hazards and risks
  • contribute to the whole of Government pandemic planning, led by the Ministry of Health and supported by MCDEM through the facilitation of cross-agency cooperation, planning and readiness
  • help identify and address Government priorities to improve arrangements for managing New Zealand's tsunami risk.

Review fire and rescue services

  • complete the consultation phase of the review of fire and rescue services and develop the detailed policy content of proposed new legislation, which would bring together all existing public fire services into one organisation in order to provide an enhanced first response service for fire and other emergencies.

Maintaining and Developing Capability

The Reid and SSC reviews of CDEM operations identified the need to:

  • enhance MCDEM's capability and capacity to develop its role as the sector leader
  • strengthen MCDEM's national coordination role.

The Government responded by providing additional funding in the 2005 Budget to enhance CDEM capability and giving approval to significantly increase staff numbers in the CDEM area by 2007.

During 2005/06, the Department set up a development programme to identify how best to use these additional resources to ensure the delivery of CDEM work programmes now and in the future and to address the full spectrum of issues identified in the two reports. While this work has been in train the Department has provided temporary resources to MCDEM with the appointment of consultants, staff secondments from the wider Department, and assistance from corporate areas.

Recruitment of additional permanent staff is now under way. The new arrangements will:

  • provide additional resources in the regions
  • support CDEM groups and their professional development
  • enhance operational planning and support services
  • provide more focused CDEM policy resources, supported by Departmental policy resources.

A priority for the Department in the coming year will be to manage these changes with staff and other stakeholders and, in the long-term, to ensure they deliver the planned benefits.

There is an ongoing need to be able to supplement resources within MCDEM, during major emergency events. The Department's strategy of working as “one organisation” is designed to facilitate the flow of knowledge (people and information) and resources to areas of need. MCDEM is also looking at how its capability can be supplemented by outside resources.

Safer Communities

Gambling activities are fair and lawful, and harm has been prevented or minimised

The community's interest

Safer Communities

Gambling activities are fair and lawful, and harm has been prevented or minimised

Our Intermediate Outcomes Growth of gambling is controlled Responsible gambling is facilitated Vulnerable persons are protected Opportunities for crime are limited
The department's role
Our Contribution Ensuring a supportive gambling legislative and regulatory environment Encouraging voluntary gambling compliance Ensuring the integrity and fairness of games Monitoring and enforcement of the legislative framework
Our Outputs and Activities Gambling policy advice and research Targeted gambling advice, education and information Gambling stakeholder strategy and communications Gambling legislation and subordinate regulations Gambling licensing Audits, investigations and monitoring of gambling Enforcement of gambling regulations
Our Output Expenses Vote Internal Affairs Policy Advice Vote Racing Policy Advice Vote Internal Affairs Gaming and Censorship Regulatory Services
We work with
  • New Zealand Police
  • Ministry of Health
  • Gambling Commission
  • New Zealand Lotteries Commission
  • New Zealand Racing Board
  • Local Government
  • Electronic monitoring system operator
  • Casinos
  • Gaming Machine operators
  • Other gambling operators
  • Gaming machine manufacturers
  • Problem gambling groups


Gambling can be a harmless entertainment activity. However, the substantial growth experienced recently within the gambling sector has heightened community concerns about its impacts on society.

The complexity of gambling products and the inherent potential for gambling-related crime mean that consumers are subject to significant risk unless there is effective regulation and enforcement.

Parliament introduced the Gambling Act 2003 (the Act) in response to these concerns.

The Department's role is to act as a policy advisor to the Government and to administer the requirements of the Act. We also act as a regulator, monitoring and enforcing gambling opportunities and activities. To achieve our Gambling Outcome, we have set ourselves four intermediate outcomes:

  • growth of gambling is controlled
  • responsible gambling is facilitated
  • vulnerable persons are protected
  • opportunities for crime are limited.

Our interventions focus on ensuring the gaming industry achieves a significant level of “voluntary compliance” because it understands the rules, recognises the risks of not complying and sees the Department as a strong and effective regulator.

Evaluating Progress

The Department routinely monitors a set of core information relating to gambling, some of which we generate ourselves and some of which is derived from other sources (such as the problem-gambling services funded by the Ministry of Health).

Public attitudes

Every five years since 1985, the Department has commissioned a survey of public participation in, and attitudes towards, gambling. There have been five of these surveys to date.

The 2005 survey is still being analysed. To date, its results appear to be consistent with those of previous surveys.

The 2000 survey showed that by far the majority of New Zealanders gamble at least occasionally, with 87% of respondents participating in at least one gambling activity in the 12 months prior to being surveyed. On the other hand, few people gamble regularly: 30% of respondents bought a Lotto ticket at least once a week, but less than 10% of respondents participated at least once a week in any other individual gambling activity. When asked about public attitudes towards the regulation of gambling, 87% of respondents agreed or agreed strongly that there is a problem in New Zealand with people being heavily involved in gambling. The survey also investigated public attitudes towards the regulation of gambling. The four most important factors that respondents thought should guide the Government when reviewing gambling legislation were:

  • limiting the harm gambling can cause people
  • ensuring that profits fund worthy causes
  • preventing criminal activity
  • ensuring fairness for players.

These findings underpinned the development of the Act and support the Department's current suite of initiatives.

Preventing and minimising harm

Formal evaluation of harm prevention and minimisation is extremely difficult. The Department's policy is one of “triangulation” (that is, bringing as much information from as wide a variety of sources as possible to bear on an issue). We are considering how we might establish a more systematic set of indicators relating to harm prevention and minimisation, and how we might more systematically evaluate progress against those indicators.

Level of gambling expenditure

Gambling Product 2004/05 Spending (Player Losses) Increase/ Decrease from 2003/04
Racing and sports betting $247 million + 3.3%
New Zealand Lotteries Commission products $280 million - 0.7%
Non-casino gaming machines $1.027 billion - 0.8%
Casinos $472 million - 2.5%
Total spending $2.026 billion - 0.6%

We regularly monitor gambling expenditure levels. Over time, expenditure levels provide a snapshot of gambling trends and tell us how much the community is spending on gambling, which also acts as an indicator of gambling harm.

Until recently, statistics showed a gradual, and at times significant, increase in all forms of gambling spending, with overall expenditure surpassing $2 billion for the first time in 2004. However, in 2004/05, expenditure declined for the first time as a result of the new regulatory environment, introduced by the Act and its associated Regulations, being complemented by the smoke-free legislation that came into force on 10 December 2004 (reflected in the following table).

Number of gambling operators, gambling venues and gaming machines

The Department monitors the number of non-casino gambling operators, gambling venues and gaming machines to determine whether we are achieving our outcome of controlling the growth of gambling.

Our statistics confirm there are now fewer gambling operators, operating at fewer venues, since the introduction of the Act. The number of gaming machines has also declined and is now down 15% from its peak. This change is reversing the growth in gaming machine numbers experienced between 1988 and 2003. The graph below illustrates the trend.

Level of compliance

The level of compliance with gambling laws is a key indicator for the Department's Safer communities outcome. As part of our medium-term strategy, the Department is developing indicators that will measure compliance within the gambling sector. Our gambling inspectors will collect information on the extent of non-compliance by gaming machine operators, enabling us to make annual comparisons of compliance.

“The percentage of respondents to a survey of gaming sector organisations and operators who rate their satisfaction with how information services provided by the Department support their ability to comply with relevant laws, conditions and rules is no less than 85%”

(Internal Affairs' performance measure)

For the past two years the Department has commissioned a survey of gaming machine operators in order to measure levels of satisfaction with the information services the Department provides. Overall performance ratings continue to be very high, with approval by more than 90% of respondents (our target is an 85% approval rating). This suggests that our targeted advice and information is helping stakeholders voluntarily to comply with gambling requirements. This measure is not directly related to levels of compliance, but, by providing an assessment of satisfaction levels, it gives an indirect indication of compliance.


Available evidence, including a risk profile of the sector, shows us that gaming machines are the primary source of gambling harm in New Zealand. As a result, we continue to direct the majority of our resources and intervention efforts towards the regulation of this high-risk segment of the industry.

Early indicators, such as:

  • the reduction in the number of gaming machines and gambling expenditure
  • increased levels of voluntary compliance
  • community and sector support for levels of intervention and
  • excellent approval ratings for our information services

suggest that initiatives we have adopted to help achieve our outcomes are having their desired effect.

Over the next three to five years, we will set benchmarks and monitor trends that will help us to evaluate the effectiveness of our intervention logic. We will undertake a number of measures so that we can better assess the cost-effectiveness and efficiency of our main interventions.

This will include producing a framework of indicators and measures which contribute to an evidence base that outlines the effectiveness of our outcomes. By moving towards an evidence-based approach we will be able to improve our understanding of how our interventions influence our outcomes, acknowledging that a precautionary approach will sometimes be required where new gambling policies are proposed and evidence is unavailable or ambiguous.

Over the last 5 years, the number of gambling venues has increased slightly, the numbers of gambling machines and gambling operators have decreased slightly.

Challenges and Opportunities

Greater community concerns about the level of gambling harm

The New Zealand public is becoming more aware of the impact gambling can have on individuals, families and communities. To address these concerns, we will continue to work to mitigate the risk of harm, and will support the Ministry of Health in its leadership of an integrated problem-gambling strategy focused on public health.

Changes in technology

Increasingly sophisticated gaming machine technologies and the advent of new gambling products, such as Internet gambling, mean the Department will need to ready itself to respond to technology developments. To combat new trends, we will need to rely on strong audit and investigative responses, improved intelligence work and broader legislative powers to target the detection and prosecution of offenders.

Collaborative efforts

The Department and the Ministry of Health have recognised that a whole-of-Government approach is necessary to prevent and minimise gambling harm. Officials from both organisations have been working closely to address gambling issues collaboratively. Together we have established an Expert Advisory Group on Preventing and Minimising Gambling Harm, comprising universities, community groups, local government and the industry. Over the next three years we will continue to develop our partnership with the Ministry, working towards our shared objective of preventing and minimising gambling harm.

Increased regulation and compliance costs

The gambling sector is concerned about the increased regulation and associated compliance costs falling on the industry following the introduction of the Act (which introduced more stringent compliance requirements). Concerns have been heightened by the imminent implementation of an electronic monitoring system (EMS). The Department acknowledges that implementation of the EMS will incur additional costs for operators, but contends that there are significant benefits to be derived. The key benefits of the EMS are that it will:

  • limit opportunities for crime or dishonesty in the operation of gaming machines
  • help ensure the integrity and fairness of games
  • improve accountability for money spent in gaming machines
  • enable better monitoring of the machines
  • enhance the collection of information supporting policy development.

Funds available to the community

Gambling trends indicate that the number of societies licensed to operate gaming machines will fall over the short to medium term. This reduction is due in part to initiatives introduced under the Act. It could impact on funding from gambling for the community. To ensure that proceeds are directed to the community, the Department has introduced a more robust venue expenses regime and Net Proceeds regulations that require the minimum return to be 37.12% of gross proceeds (GST exclusive). These initiatives are designed to ensure that the community continues to benefit appropriately from the money derived from gambling.

Planned Outcome Contribution

We are now working to consolidate the significant change that has occurred as a result of the implementation of the Act and to create an environment that facilitates cooperation by the gambling industry with social goals.

Promoting voluntary compliance

Over the next three years we will provide:

  • operational guidelines
  • information
  • advice and education

about how to ensure compliance with the Act, for both the Department and the gambling sector.

Many of the requirements of the Act and associated Regulations are new both to the Department's gambling personnel and to the gambling sector. Over the next three years we will provide operational guidelines, information, and advice and education about how to ensure compliance with the Act for both the Department and the gambling sector. Other initiatives that we will build on include our relationships with the Ministry of Health (in the form of a Letter of Agreement) and the Expert Advisory Group on Preventing and Minimising Gambling Harm.

Strengthening stakeholder relationships

The Act provides a coherent regulatory framework within which the Department, the gambling sector and the community can all operate. Now that the Act is in place, the Department is communicating on an ongoing basis with stakeholders to obtain high-level feedback on aspects of the new regulatory framework. This will be important if we are to implement our voluntary compliance strategy. Strengthening these relationships, as well as those with enforcement agencies and international regulators, will remain a focus of our work over the next three years.

Electronic monitoring for non-casino gaming machines

An EMS will collect information on:

  • the amount of money gambled on gaming machines
  • the amount required to be banked
  • the number and location of gaming machines
  • the potential of gaming machines for problem gambling
  • machine faults
  • tampering.

Under the Act there is a requirement to connect all non-casino gaming machines to an EMS. The Department's mandate is to achieve this by March 2007. The EMS will be used to obtain accurate and timely information about gaming machine usage.

The implementation of an EMS for non-casino gaming machines is a major IT project, involving large resources from within the Department and the gambling sector generally. We continue to work towards this goal and are confident of achieving our mandate of connecting all machines to the EMS by March 2007.

Strengthening our evidence base

We will produce a framework of indicators and measures for an evidence base that outlines the effectiveness of our outcomes. By moving towards an evidence-based approach we will be able to improve our understanding of how our interventions influence our outcomes.

The evidence base will be enhanced by ongoing research and information-gathering from our partners and stakeholders. We will continue to work closely with:

  • the Ministry of Health, on issues relating to harm prevention and minimisation, whether they arise from the Department's regulatory role or the Ministry's responsibility for the problem-gambling strategy
  • enforcement agencies
  • community and industry groups, when considering the impact and cost-effectiveness of our interventions
  • international regulators to compare trends within the New Zealand gambling sector against those abroad.


The 2006 Budget contains a reduction in Gaming Duty for racing and an accelerated write-down regime for bloodstock. We will work with the Inland Revenue Department to put in place the appropriate legislative and administrative arrangements by 1 August 2006, and will continue monitoring the taxation regimes for the various forms of gambling.

Maintaining and Developing Capability

We have a number of areas where we are looking to enhance capability over the next three years.

The Department needs to position itself to respond to such issues as online gambling and increasingly sophisticated gaming machine technologies and to be accountable for the nationwide electronic monitoring of gaming machines. Over the next 12 months we will be reviewing our technology strategies and information and technical capabilities to ensure that we are well positioned for the future.

The Department wants to make greater use of business intelligence information to guide its role as regulator. To further this, we have established a programme for operational staff and managers that is designed to raise awareness of, and build capability to participate in, an intelligence-led regulatory practice.

We continue to build our intelligence capability and networks. We will work in partnership with other enforcement agencies, and through a Combined Law Agency Group (CLAG), towards this goal.

A project has been established to develop and implement best practice process and procedure guidelines for gambling investigations. These guidelines will be used to ensure that all staff involved in investigations have the skills, tools, systems and support they need in order to be effective in their assigned role, and to ensure that the Department adopts a consistent approach in future investigative operations.

Safer Communities

Harm from restricted and objectionable material has been minimised

The community's interest

Safer Communities

Harm from restricted and objectionable material has been minimised

Our Intermediate Outcomes Vulnerable persons are protected Communities are informed and aware Freedom of expression is limited only where necessary Opportunities for crime are limited
The department's role
Our Contribution Ensuring a supportive censorship legislative and regulatory environment Proactive shaping of community opinion on censorship Encouraging voluntary compliance Encouraging national and international interagency cooperation on censorship enforcement Monitoring and enforcement of the legislative framework
Our Outputs and Activities Censorship policy advice and research Targeted censorship advice, education and information Censorship media strategy and communications Facilitating the operation of the Publications and Classifications Regime Inspections, investigations and monitoring of censorship compliance Enforcement of censorship regulations and prosecutions of censorship offenders
Our Output Expenses Vote Internal Affairs Policy Advice Vote Internal Affairs Gaming and Censorship Regulatory Services
We work with
  • Ministry of Justice
  • Ministry of Women's Affairs
  • Ministry of Consumer Affairs
  • New Zealand Police
  • New Zealand Customs Service
  • Department of Corrections
  • Office of Film and Literature Classification
  • Film and Video Labelling Body
  • Film and Literature Board of Review
  • Commissioner for Children
  • Publishers
  • Distributors
  • Internet safety groups
  • Film societies
  • Community groups
  • Overseas authorities
  • Interpol
  • Overseas non-governmental organisations


The New Zealand community must balance the need to preserve freedom of expression against minimising the harm from restricted and objectionable material.

The Department is responsible for enforcing the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993 (the Act). In this role we carry out investigations and prosecutions involving the making, supply and possession of objectionable material, as well as ensuring that the legitimate publication industry complies with the Office of Film and Literature Classification's (OFLC) classification decisions.

Objectionable material can be harmful on two fronts. The very nature of the material can be harmful. It is also harmful if such material, particularly when involving minors, is derived from situations in which harm is intended or actually caused. When an offence is committed, it is important that the criminal behaviour is effectively dealt with.

Recent media coverage of censorship offending has highlighted the seriousness of offences and the potential implications for perpetrators and victims, their families and communities. The introduction of harsher penalties is likely to contribute further to public awareness, particularly in the case of objectionable material involving minors. We anticipate that increased penalties will be accompanied by stronger national and international cooperation between agencies involved in censorship enforcement.

To minimise harm, we have set ourselves four intermediiate outcomes:

  • communities are informed and aware
  • opportunities for crime are limited
  • vulnerable persons are protected
  • freedom of expression is limited only where necessary.

Our interventions focus on proactively shaping community opinion on censorship, to achieve a significant level of voluntary compliance, supported by targeted investigation and enforcement activity where cooperation is not forthcoming.

Evaluating Progress

Commercially produced material is relatively easy to monitor. It is, however, extremely difficult for the Department to monitor the production, supply and possession of objectionable material by private individuals.

Targeted detection of Internet traders of objectionable material helps to increase our knowledge and understanding of these types of offenders and their behaviour, allowing us to refine our intervention activities and contribute to better-informed policy advice.

Our recent study on Internet Traders of Child Pornography: Profiling Research showed that there has been a distinct movement by New Zealand offenders away from Internet relay chat towards peer-to-peer applications. The research also provides critical information about the age of offenders, the relationship between viewing child pornography and sexual offending, and the number of offenders who have access to the subjects of their objectionable material.

The Department invests up to 80% of its resources in the detection of offenders online because our research confirms that, although the method of operation has changed, the Internet continues to be the primary vehicle for censorship offending. Our focus therefore has been on persons trading and downloading files from peer-to-peer applications: 22 of our last 37 prosecutions stemmed from offending involving such applications. Conversely, prosecutions for physical transmissions of objectionable material have decreased significantly.

We also measure the effectiveness of our regulatory approach by assessing the level of voluntary compliance within the publications industry. Monitoring the number of breaches helps us to identify whether our programme of workplace education, information and inspections is achieving its intended target of increasing voluntary compliance with censorship laws. Our objective is to maintain the number of instances of non-compliance with censorship laws within 15% of all inspections.

We continue to achieve this target. The level of non-compliance in 2005 was approximately 7%, an improvement on the 12% figure for 2004. This suggests that our current intervention mix of education and persuasion is appropriate. The statistics encourage us to continue this regulatory approach over the short to medium term.

Challenges and Opportunities

Increasing availability of objectionable material

New Zealand is among the top 10 countries in the world with regard to computer usage. As a result we are experiencing greater availability of, and exposure to, objectionable material, especially to a younger audience.

By continuing to update and develop our stakeholder relations and media strategies, and enhancing our working relationship with community organisations working to prevent abuse, we will further increase general public awareness of censorship issues at both the community and national levels to ensure that vulnerable persons are protected.

Therefore, strengthening our working relationship with a broad range of interested and affected parties is also a key focus of our stakeholder strategy. We are already working with nearly a dozen organisations or professions and this number will inevitably grow.

Internationally, we are developing extensive contacts with Interpol. We are also part of an international inter-agency forum for the discussion of intelligence and enforcement techniques. Over the next three years, we will continue to monitor the number and quality of intelligence reports received and will consider forming international agreements with selected agencies.

Changing patterns of criminal activity

The Internet is blurring the traditional distinctions between offences. For instance, censorship, importation and soliciting offences can all now be committed online.

This type of combined offending requires a joint enforcement approach. We will be pursuing even stronger cooperation between the Department, New Zealand Police and the New Zealand Customs Service in the future, consistent with the state sector goal of coordinated state agencies.

The most recent significant development in Internet offending is the ability to share large numbers of objectionable publications through peer-to-peer applications. This creates challenges for regulators, due to the large amount of material, the relatively small number of New Zealand users and the fact that the identity of the users is not readily detectable. The Department has developed a technology strategy to mitigate the potentially adverse effects of more sophisticated Internet offending.

In its work under the Act, the Department of Internal Affairs engages with a very wide range of interested and affected parties
Government Departments Regulatory Legal Industry Technology Non-government Organisations Overseas Authorities
Department of Corrections The Office of Film and Literature Classification Crown Law The publications industry Computer specialists ECPAT* Interpol
Ministry of Justice Film and Video Labelling Body Crown solicitors Motion Picture Association Internet service providers Stop Demand HTCIA*
New Zealand Customs Service Solicitors specialising in trial defence Stop ULLE*
New Zealand Police Safe ICE*
End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography, Child Sex Tourism and Trafficking in Children for sexual purposes.
High Technology Crime Investigation Association.
Name of the group put together to create a European list server for sharing information on computer-related crime (not an abbreviation as such).
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (formerly US Customs).

Increase in censorship crime

We predict that the level of censorship crime will continue to increase, with offenders taking advantage of the relative anonymity and security that both the Internet and new technology offer. Our aim is to take a leadership role in the training and development of our partners in forensic computer analysis. We believe the skills we can teach can be used not only to combat censorship offending, but also more generally against broader types of offending.

An increased workload for censorship investigators is placing heavy demands on our resource capability. Increased offending levels and enhanced capacity and capability among overseas law enforcement agencies are contributing to a rising investigations workload for the Department. Offenders are also utilising improved encryption, password protection and deletion software, meaning that more time is required to perform forensic analysis on a suspect's computer.

In the past we have attracted criticism from judges for delays in bringing cases to trial, caused by the backlog of forensic work for analysis. To mitigate this, we will prioritise case workloads, reassess our prosecution process and endeavour to raise the judiciary's awareness of the complexities of forensic analysis.

Implementing legislative change

Recent changes to the Act will require the Department to manage the effects of the changes on a number of aspects of the work we do. We are still assessing the implications of the legislative changes to the Act, and the media coverage of inspectors' greater powers and increased penalties for offenders. As the impacts become evident, ongoing training for our inspectors will be necessary. We intend to collate and monitor any noticeable differences to the way we implement our work.

Advancing technology

Rapid development of technology creates both risks and opportunities in the censorship area. It increases the imperative for us to maintain strong international networks.

Increasingly, we are being called upon to provide expert computer forensic analysis and training to our partners. We expect to continue this work over the next three years and will endeavour to contribute to other agencies' outcomes where possible.

We will be working with Swedish and British partners to help implement a “Clean-Feed” system for New Zealand Internet service providers. The system, based on software utilised in Sweden and Great Britain, will help to prevent New Zealanders from accessing objectionable material on the Internet. Internet service providers will be able to employ filter software that checks website requests against an established list of objectionable sites. We will also engage other censorship investigators to share information and training in relation to forensic analysis and investigation methods with these providers

Planned Outcome Contribution

In the coming period, we will drive the achievement of outcomes by directing our endeavours in the following areas.

Increasing public awareness

Public sensitivity to objectionable material provides valuable support to our work. We will continue to develop education resources which will raise public awareness, using forecast trends in offending to drive our media strategies.

Encouraging voluntary compliance

To increase voluntary compliance in the publications industry, we will deliver education and information programmes. We will also ensure that an effective inspection profile is maintained.


We will continue to investigate breaches of censorship legislation and undertake enforcement action against censorship offenders.

Working with others to target potential offenders

We will engage with a range of other parties to conduct a campaign on a broad front against potential offenders, as follows:

  • work with the Department of Corrections to improve its capability in the area of censorship offending
  • continue to support joint operations, in cooperation with other agencies, such as the New Zealand Police
  • strengthen international working arrangements by working regularly with Australia, Singapore, the USA, Canada and a number of Western European countries.

Harnessing technology advances

We will continue to invest in resources to ensure that inspectors receive the most up-to-date training and have access to the latest software:

  • our international contacts will be of key importance in monitoring changes in technology
  • work with companies and local organisations to keep pace with change
  • establish relations with Internet service providers and Internet New Zealand to introduce “Clean-Feed” technology
  • utilise national and international inter-agency cooperation, through such channels as active membership in international enforcement server lists, to further enhance information sharing.

Research and profiling

We will research the profile of Internet censorship offending. We will examine youth attitudes to the classification of computer games.

Maintaining and Developing Capability

The most critical capability issue facing the Department over the next three years is continuing investment in our people and our systems to ensure they have the tools and skills to do the job.

International developments are highlighting the global and widespread nature of the trade in objectionable material (particularly child pornography). This has in turn led to the need for our inspectors to study, travel and network with other agencies, in order to stay in touch with international developments in technology and in the latest techniques for offender profiling and detection.

Increased cooperation with overseas law enforcement agencies and the use of ever more sophisticated technology by offenders – such as encryption, password protection and even deletion software – will require us to increase the competency level of all inspectors. We also need to ensure that our own staff are fully capable so that we are not reliant on specialists. To achieve this, we will undertake an assessment of staff numbers and locations to establish what will be required.

We intend to increase the use of technology to assist us in controlling our rapidly growing caseload. Case selection and management will be controlled by the use of a risk-based methodology to ensure that resource allocation is correctly prioritised.

Trusted Records of New Zealand Identity

The community's interest

Trusted Records of New Zealand Identity

Our Intermediate Outcomes Identity management is consistent and well regulated across government Identity data and identity management processes, systems and people are known for integrity and excellence Identity services are reliable and accessible, and meet New Zealand and international standards Identity records are secure and protected from fraud
The department's role
Our Contribution Maintaining a supportive legislative and regulatory environment for identity management Providing leadership in identity management across Government Providing high integrity processes, systems and people Providing accurate registration and recording of identity information Providing reliable, timely and accessible identity services Producing secure and reliable identity products that meet international standards Contributing to enhanced detection and prevention of identity fraud
Our Outputs and Activities Identity policy advice Stewardship of Identity, including Evidence of Identity Standard Provision of authorised access to identity information Birth, death, marriage and civil union registration and services Citizenship services Passport services Collaboration with New Zealand and international agencies Audit, risk management and investigations
Our Output Expenses Vote Internal Affairs Policy Advice Vote Internal Affairs Identity Services
We work with
  • Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
  • Ministry of Justice
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • Department of Labour
  • State Services Commission
  • New Zealand Police
  • New Zealand Security Intelligence Service
  • Office of Ethnic Affairs
  • Office of the Privacy Commissioner
  • Statistics New Zealand
  • Ministry of Health
  • New Zealand Customs Service
  • Combined Law Agency Group
  • Officials Committee for Domestic and External Security Co-ordination
  • Citizens Advice Bureaux
  • Local authorities
  • Overseas jurisdictions
  • International Civil Aviation Organisation
  • Border control agencies
  • Immigration Consultants
  • Health providers
  • Funeral Directors
  • Travel industry
  • Marriage and Civil Union celebrants


Records of identity are important to New Zealanders because they provide the basis for determining individual entitlements, and also help individuals to trace their lineage and establish their identity.

Birth, death, marriage, civil union and citizenship information provides important input to official statistics and to social services planning and research. Many agencies use the information to verify customers' identity and/or their entitlements to a service or benefit.

Trusted records allow New Zealanders to travel overseas with a maximum of ease, enabling visa-free access to many countries. This delivers an immediate cost benefit for citizens, whether they are travelling for business or pleasure. At an international level, other governments rely on New Zealand's passports and other related records of identity to protect their own country and citizens. If our identity records are not fully trusted, other governments will implement stronger measures to screen New Zealand passport holders, and New Zealand travellers will be subjected to more onerous processes. A high-integrity passport system also contributes to our own border management. The integrity of birth, death, marriage, civil union and citizenship processes is crucial, as they create the record of entitlement to the New Zealand passport.

The Department provides leadership in identity management across the public service. It creates and maintains core identity records for New Zealand and acts as steward of these important records for all New Zealanders. This is achieved through products, services and information provided in accordance with our legislative role.4

It is important that our records are accurate, secure and trusted. It is essential that the Department be recognised as a trustworthy steward of records of identity to ensure that the public willingly provide this information.

To ensure trusted records of New Zealand identity we aim to achieve four intermediate outcomes:

  • identity management is consistent and well regulated across Government
  • identity data and identity management processes, systems and people are known for integrity and excellence
  • identity records are secure and protected from fraud
  • identity services are reliable and accessible, and meet New Zealand and international standards.

Evaluating Progress

Measuring and evaluating its work provides the Department with feedback on how well it is achieving these outcomes. We do this by measuring performance of timeliness, quality and volumes in citizenship, passport, birth, death, marriage and civil union activities. We also conduct a twice-yearly customer satisfaction survey.

Identity management is consistent and well regulated across Government

The Department continues to take a leadership role on cross-Government initiatives, with the aim of encouraging better processes and understanding of identity verification across the public sector. This includes ongoing stewardship of the Evidence of Identity (EOI) Standard, which provides good-practice processes for agencies to establish the identity of customers.

The Department provides authorised information-matching services to government agencies. Benefits from information-matching include reduced public compliance costs, improved integrity of agency databases and fraud reduction. For example, we provide weekly data on deaths to the Ministry of Social Development (MSD). This assists the Ministry to identify clients who have died, to help families of the deceased with necessary processes, and to identify cases of fraud where benefits are being claimed in the name of people who have died. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) reported that, in 2004/05, 94% of cases matched in the death-matching programme with the MSD were genuine deaths. Of the cases requiring investigation, 39% resulted in a debt being established.5

The Department works closely with the OPC to ensure that privacy of individuals is appropriately protected.

Identity data and identity management processes, systems and people are known for integrity and excellence

In 2004/05, almost all of our identity-related documents were issued without error (99.8%) or registered without error (99.9%). We also provide guidance to staff about ethical decision-making and work practices by means of an internal integrity policy and by providing training.

Identity records are secure and protected from fraud

In 2006/07 we expect to:

  • issue over 390,000 New Zealand passports and travel documents
  • register over 102,000 births, deaths, marriages and civil unions
  • issue over 200,000 birth, death, marriage and civil union certificates and printouts
  • recommend over 26,000 applications for grant of citizenship to the Minister of Internal Affairs.

The New Zealand passport is trusted internationally. This is evidenced by the number of countries (over 50) that continue to grant New Zealand travellers visa-free access. The New Zealand passport has a number of security features to prevent identity fraud, including a biometric chip.

The Department also participates in international programmes to detect fraudulent travel documents and visas. We share lost and stolen passport information with Interpol and with APEC economies through the Regional Movement Alert List. We also provide valid-passport information to Australia (through the Advanced Passenger Processing system), to extend New Zealand's border-checking offshore. This makes border crossing smoother for New Zealanders, and prevents people whose documents are not in order from entering New Zealand. These programmes have already been successful in detecting identity fraud.

We also have an investigations unit that provides intelligence, investigation and fraud-detection services, and collaborates with Government and overseas agencies to help detect and prevent identity fraud.

Identity services are reliable and accessible, and meet New Zealand and international standards

We continue to meet our timeliness statements of service performance for processing citizenship applications, and our other core products and services for births, deaths, marriages, civil unions and passports.

In the November 2005 customer satisfaction survey, most customers were pleased with the Department's service (83%), felt that our identity services forms were easy to understand and complete (89%), and felt that response times were quick for phone, letter and email inquiries (78%).

Challenges and Opportunities

Opportunity to provide leadership in identity management

We have an ongoing role as steward of the EOI standard, and in communicating and monitoring the Standard across the public sector. As the Government's expert in identity management, we provide leadership in identity management projects and initiatives.

Detection of identity fraud

There is criminal interest in production of fraudulent identity documentation. Increasing financial fraud will put pressure on financial institutions to protect themselves from this fraud. There is growing concern internationally about the consequences of crime committed by using a fraudulent identity. The Department recognises the importance of preventing and detecting identity fraud, and will continue to focus on improving the integrity and security of identity records through risk management, internal controls, internal audit, investigations, supporting prosecutions and broader development of improvements supporting security of identity information.

International security and travel facilitation

International demand for border security and international travel facilitation will further increase. The Department will continue to collaborate with other agencies to achieve Government outcomes in identity management, border and national security, settlement and national identity. Our work with international partners, particularly the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), will be increasingly important. The Department has a leadership role in the ICAO's committee on machine-readable travel documents and in other international groups.

Changes in information technology

Information technology provides opportunities for management of data, but also provides challenges in keeping data secure, providing appropriate protection of personal privacy and providing appropriate access to information. We will continue to ensure that our systems provide appropriate levels of integrity and security for the information we protect. We will also continue to work closely with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner to ensure that privacy of individuals is appropriately protected. We are using a facial recognition technology to identify fraudulent passport applications and are exploring further integration of biometric technologies as we redevelop the passport system.

Opportunity to provide online services

There will be an expectation from a wide range of sectors that the Department will provide identity verification services online, with real-time solutions. We will be expected to offer transactional online services to the public via the Internet. We have already commenced this process by providing a service for funeral directors to request and notify deaths information online.

Evolving nature of New Zealand society

According to Statistics New Zealand, the age structure of the New Zealand population is projected to undergo significant changes, with fewer children, more older people and further ageing of the population. The Auckland region is expected to account for two-thirds of New Zealand's population growth between 2001 and 2006, and we are currently working to increase our delivery of services to the Auckland region. The New Zealand population will continue to become more ethnically diverse.6 All of these factors provide challenges for the Department in relation to our ability to meet our customers' needs and service expectations.

Growth in volumes

To improve the security of New Zealand passports, we have moved from a 10-year to a five-year passport. This change has been driven by the need to maintain pace with the international community's desire for enhanced security. It will greatly increase the volume of passports handled in coming years.

Planned Outcome Contribution

We are looking to achieve advances in the provision of services to customers and in the development of an increasing leadership role within the wider public service.

Redeveloping the New Zealand passport system

The Passport System Redevelopment project will replace ageing technology and implement a new and robust system to handle the progressive increase in passport application volumes that will result from the move to a five-year passport. The five-year passport will help New Zealand to retain a technological advantage over fraudsters.

Leading identity management in the public service

The Department will lead EOI development in the public service. The EOI Standard was launched in the 2005/06 year as part of the State Services Commission-led authentication standards initiative. In 2006/07, we will be undertaking ongoing stewardship of the standard. Stewardship will involve the provision of advice and development to assist government agencies to implement the EOI standard, and continuous improvement of the standard to ensure that it continues to reflect best practice

Collaboration in identity management

We collaborate with a wide variety of agencies, both national and international, to achieve shared outcomes, including the Department of Labour (Immigration New Zealand), New Zealand Customs Service, Statistics New Zealand and the ICAO. In service delivery, we collaborate with the Department of Courts and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. We are working in partnership with the State Services Commission to develop authentication solutions for the New Zealand Government.

New legislation planned to cover births, deaths, marriages and other relationships.

A Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Amendment Bill is under development and is intended to enhance our operational efficiency and introduce new services while, at the same time, introducing measures to protect individual privacy and reduce the likelihood of identity fraud.

Managing impacts from legislative change

We will need to manage the impacts of legislative changes in 2005 on citizenship operations, in order to meet high levels of demand and reduce work inventory and turnaround time, while maintaining efficiency, effectiveness and integrity during a period of extreme demand fluctuation.

Improving customer service

We will be working to develop online access and registration services. This will include completing feasibility studies for online notification of births by hospitals and online registration of marriages and civil unions.

Integrity of products and services

We will continue to maintain a strong focus on providing clear guidance about ethical decision-making and work practices to staff, as this is critical for maintaining trusted records of identity. This year will see a review and updating of our staff integrity policy. To enhance data validity, we will continue our work on moderating birth and death records. Redevelopment of the passport system will include emphasis on building sophisticated fraud prevention and security functionality into our passport application process.

Maintaining and Developing Capability

The combined effect of new technology, a series of major development projects and an increasing volume of activity means we will need to enhance our capability over the medium term.

To develop more automated and online services we need to be making a significant investment in both our systems and our people. We need to recruit staff with IT skills and upskill our current staff. This will be a focus for 2006/07. We are in the process of further enhancing our project and risk management processes, to improve our monitoring of major projects and risks.

We are reviewing how we respond to the growing customer base in Auckland, given projected population growth in the Auckland region, and we aim to reduce business continuity risks in the event of our Wellington offices being affected by an emergency event.

We will continue to work with other agencies, particularly where we are contributing to shared outcomes or where there are opportunities to provide better integrated services. Collaboration is important in our role as leader in identity management. The Evidence of Identity standard provides the Department with the opportunity to collaborate more extensively in the area of identity management.

As part of the Department's “managing for outcomes” development, we will be refining our measurement framework to improve our ability to provide evidence and test the effectiveness and efficiency of the outputs we provide.

Executive Government is Well Supported

The community's interest

Executive Government is Well Supported

Our Intermediate Outcomes The range of services needed to be effective is available to the Executive, both inside and outside Parliament Guest-of-Government visits help build international relations Ceremonial events contribute to an understanding of New Zealand culture and heritage
The department's role
Our Contribution Providing neutral advice and impartial secretariat services Providing the administrative infrastructure for members of the Executive and their staff Providing support for Executive Government transition Integrating services with those provided by other agencies involved in the parliamentary complex Providing safety and security for members of the Executive and their staff Organising Guest-of-Government visits and ceremonial events
Our Outputs and Activities Support services, office facilities and residential accommodation Integrated services with other agencies Safe, reliable and trusted transport services Planning and delivery of Guest-of-Government visits and ceremonial events
Our Output Expenses Vote Ministerial Services Support Services to Ministers Vote Ministerial Services VIP Transport Vote Ministerial Services Visits and Official Events Coordination
We work with
  • The Executive Branch of Government
  • Government's coalition partners
  • The Parliamentary Service
  • The Office of the Clerk
  • The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • Ministry for Culture and Heritage
  • Veterans' Affairs New Zealand
  • Guests of Government
  • Diplomatic representatives


“Good government” depends on the effective functioning of Executive Government processes.

Providing Executive Government with the environment, support and advice to carry out its duties is an important objective for the Department.

We also support the Executive by arranging official visits to New Zealand by representatives of foreign governments, and managing ceremonial and commemorative events for government.

To ensure that Executive Government is well supported, we have set ourselves three intermediate outcomes (see table below). Through these intermediate outcomes our work contributes to outcomes of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and the Parliamentary Service, as shown in the diagram.

Our Objective
Executive Government is well supported
supports the work of many other agencies
Our intermediate outcomes
The range of services needed to be effective is available to the Executive, both inside and outside Parliament Guest-of-Government visits help build international relations Ceremonial events contribute to an understanding of NZ culture and heritage
links to Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet outcome “The continuity of Executive Government within accepted conventions and practices is maintained and well supported” links to Parliamentary Services outcome “Members have confidence that they will be provided with the advice and support required to achieve their roles as legislators and representatives” links to Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade outcome “New Zealand's international connections facilitate sustainable economic growth through increased trade, foreign investment and knowledge-transfer” links to Ministry for Culture and Heritage outcome “Widespread access to and understanding of New Zealand culture and heritage”

The range of services needed to be effective is available to the Executive, both inside and outside Parliament

The protocols, precedents, conventions and practices that support the Executive form an important component of New Zealand's constitutional arrangements, and the continuity of Executive Government is critical to New Zealand's economic and social well-being. The Department contributes to this outcome through its provision of support services to Ministers.

Executive support services include staffing, transportation, media and communications technology, housing and logistical support to enable the Executive to work effectively. Our contribution includes ensuring that the safety and security of Ministers and their staff are maintained, providing institutional knowledge of the accepted conventions and practices within which Executive Government functions, and contributing to the evolution of new protocols and procedures as the Executive's needs change. We also undertake a range of administrative services to the Executive, which assist the smooth functioning of government, such as publishing the New Zealand Gazette, supporting commissions of inquiry and providing translation and authentication services.

The continuity of Executive Government is particularly important at times of transition. New Ministers and new administrations rely in large part on the institutional knowledge of the public service to facilitate the smooth transition of power and responsibility from their predecessors. Our role in supporting Executive Government transition is to ensure that new Ministers have access, when and where required, to training and staff expertise to guide them through unfamiliar systems and protocols, and to manage the changes to travel, residential and office accommodation, staffing, communications and remuneration arrangements for new and departing members of the Executive. In effecting change, Executive Government Support Group works closely with the Parliamentary Service.

Guest-of-Government visits help to build international relationships

Guest-of-Government visit programmes provide an opportunity to showcase New Zealand to visiting representatives of foreign governments as a country that has a distinctive profile in the international arena.

They also provide the opportunity to enhance understanding by foreign countries of the opportunities for engagement with New Zealand, which could contribute to New Zealand's security and economic prospects.

The objectives of each visit will vary depending on the country from which the visitors come and their position. By working closely with other agencies (particularly the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade), to understand the relationship that the Government is seeking to promote with particular countries, we are able to ensure that visit programmes are targeted towards opportunities that will support the development of that relationship and the strategic objectives for the visit.

At the operational level, careful and detailed planning and delivery of the visit programme, and sensitivity to the cultural needs of the visitors, enhances the visitors' perception of New Zealand and also offers the opportunity to showcase aspects of New Zealand's unique culture.

Ceremonial events contribute to an understanding of New Zealand culture and heritage

We work with the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and Veterans' Affairs New Zealand to support access to and understanding of New Zealand's culture and heritage through our management of commemorative and ceremonial events. Over time we have seen a gradual upsurge in public interest in marking and acknowledging significant occasions, particularly when these have a link to the development of a sense of nationhood. We expect this trend to continue to impact on the turnout at events such as the annual ANZAC commemorations, and potentially generate public demand for more commemorative and ceremonial markers of important events in the future.

Evaluating Progress

Support to the Executive

Evidence from:

  • the 2004 Triennial Review of Parliamentary Services
  • the evaluation of the Ministerial Services 2002 Formation of Government project and
  • annual Ministerial satisfaction surveys conducted by the Department

is that the differing operating environments of the Parliamentary Service and the Department of Internal Affairs can cause difficulties for users. As well, we are aware that there is a loss of institutional knowledge when long-serving senior ministerial administrative staff leave Ministerial Services and that current employment tenure arrangements, while necessary in the MMP environment, can lead to such loss on a large scale at the time of a change of Executive. This has caused us to review our IT, knowledge management and human resources strategies.

In addition, we plan to evaluate the impact and effectiveness of our training and development of ministerial support staff during 2006/07, and to review the focus of our annual ministerial satisfaction surveys.

Guest-of-Government visits and ceremonial events

Given the importance of the relationship the visits are intended to support, it is essential that the visits programme is delivered with a high degree of professionalism.

Formal reviews with stakeholders following visits or managed events identify areas of possible improvement, but we will be seeking ways of improving the relevance of the feedback we receive. In particular we will seek to gain information to assist in assessing the degree to which the visits programme and arrangements for ceremonial and commemorative events supports the strategic objectives for each visit or event and hence the broader outcome.

Challenges and Opportunities

Environmental changes

A variety of environmental factors have the potential to impact on future expectations and requirements for the delivery of our services. These factors include:

  • the changing demographic composition of the New Zealand population
  • the potential for MMP to bring complex coalition arrangements and greater diversity to the composition of Parliament
  • technological developments
  • heightened security and business continuity concerns
  • expectations for greater efficiency across the public service.

The impact of these changes cannot be fully predicted, but may include:

  • changes to the size of the Executive and the demographic composition of its members
  • greater politicisation, and ethnic and cultural diversity, of ministerial staff
  • complex support arrangements with other parliamentary parties
  • more frequent movement of staff and members between Parliament and the Executive
  • staff working partially for the Executive and partially on parliamentary business
  • demand for increased use of technology to streamline the management of information and communications between and within the various arms of government and with constituencies and the public.

To be positioned to meet these challenges we need to align our ministerial office human resources and IT systems and processes with those of the other agencies represented on the Parliamentary campus and, in the longer term, to support moves towards the introduction of systems more aligned across the wider public service. More broadly, all our services need to be sufficiently flexible and responsive that we can quickly respond to new realities, including those that cannot be anticipated and planned for in advance.

Maintaining and developing institutional knowledge

The introduction of MMP has increased the complexity of the make-up of the Executive. At the same time we have seen a gradual loss of the cadre of career senior private secretaries who formerly functioned as an “institutional memory” in ministerial offices and an important transmitter of conventions and practice from one administration to the next.

Within our Visits and Ceremonial Office we have a long-serving workforce with considerable, largely undocumented, institutional knowledge and consequently risk exposure as the older cohort moves towards retirement.

Business continuity and risk management

The recent world focus on SARS and avian flu, and the work on the National Civil Defence Emergency Management Plan, have provided a timely reminder of the need for effective business continuity planning across a range of credible scenarios. The interdependency and co-location of the various agencies on the parliamentary campus requires a well-coordinated approach to maintaining support to the Executive, and we are coordinating and consulting with the other agencies in our planning for management of business interruptions.

Developing international linkages and national identity

Growing public interest in formal recognition of important events that contribute to New Zealanders' sense of national identity, and an increase in the number of significant visits to New Zealand by representatives of foreign governments, presents the Department with an interesting mix of challenge and opportunity. There has been a noticeable increase in the volume of activity, which has been recognised in the recent review of the Visits and Ceremonial Office and the decision to recruit additional staff for it. Timelines for preparation between visits are more compressed and the profile of the activity is noticeably higher, both domestically and internationally.

Planned Outcome Contribution

We will continue to deliver core services while undertaking a series of initiatives to enhance delivery of our services in the following areas:

  • We have identified the human resources area as an area for future collaboration. A working group, with representatives from the Department of Internal Affairs and the Parliamentary Service, will be working to align human resources policies applying to the Parliamentary Service and Ministerial Services staff in order to enhance our ability to staff Ministerial offices effectively.
  • We will implement a property strategy to meet the changing security and accommodation needs of Ministers into the future.
  • We will work with the other agencies at Parliament towards our shared goals, in the context of our collaboration agreement for strategic information and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) management in the parliamentary complex. We will align our operating systems as closely as is practicable with the other agencies operating on the parliamentary campus, in particular with the Parliamentary Service, to reduce the impact of Executive change on users and to streamline change processes.
  • We will review our business continuity planning and refine the risk management strategy.
  • We will consolidate vehicular security initiatives and enhance VIP transport service standards.
  • We will enhance liaison with external stakeholders of the Visits and Ceremonial Office, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, The Office of the Clerk, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and veterans' organisations, and will closely align our visits and ceremonial programmes with Government objectives. We will continue to identify external stakeholders (such as iwi, local Chambers of Commerce, Crown Research Institutes, educational institutions and other organisations) to identify relevant initiatives that can be showcased during visits programmes.

Maintaining and Developing Capability

Training and knowledge management

Initiatives will include:

  • increased training and mentoring of staff employed to support Ministers, and to further develop and maintain the institutional knowledge base required to provide ongoing Executive support
  • implementation of a comprehensive driver training, assessment, and qualification programme for VIP chauffeurs
  • mentoring and induction of new Visits and Ceremonial Office staff, including development and implementation of standard operating procedures and systems.

Information and communications technology (ICT)

Ongoing development of ICT arrangements will include:

  • hardware and software enhancements to ICT for members of the Executive and Ministerial office staff
  • review of the VIP transport service vehicle dispatch and management system
  • alignment of our Ministerial offices operating system with that of Members of Parliament offices
  • review of the contract for IT support to Ministerial offices.

Capacity building

By the end of June 2006 we will have completed the recruitment of our full-time team of Visits and Ceremonial Office managers. We will continue to build a pool of on-call people with appropriate skills to provide additional resourcing at times of peak demand and arrange for their induction into the Office's operating environment.

  1. An “Outcome” means a state or condition for society, the economy or the environment, or a change in that state or condition. Return
  2. “Objectives” recognise that not all department functions are to achieve outcomes, as they are not directly targeting societal, economic or environmental effects. Return
  3. "Counting for something, Value added by voluntary agencies: the VAVA Project” September 2004. Published by New Zealand Federation of Volunteer Welfare Organisations. Return
  4. For example, the Citizenship Act 1977, the Passports Act 1992, the Births, Deaths, and Marriages Registration Act 1995, the Civil Union Act 2004 and the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology Act 2004. Return
  5. OPC, Report of the Privacy Commissioner for the Year Ended 30 June 2005. Return
  6. Statistics New Zealand, Demographic Trends 2005. Return