Part Three: Managing the Department

Capability Development

We aim to be a high-performing, trusted organisation working as one to maximise our outcome contribution for citizens, communities and government. We will develop our capability accordingly.

Continuous capability development is a basic responsibility for any department. This responsibility occurs within the wider State sector framework and should contribute to the Department's strategic direction.

The Development Goals for the State Services, launched by the State Services Commission (SSC) in March 2005, aim to create a world-class professional State service for New Zealand. They emphasise a culture of continuous learning, with organisations using technology to deliver coordinated, accessible and networked service for New Zealanders.


Overall Goal: A system of world class professional State Services serving the government of the day and meeting the needs of New Zealanders.

The State Services Commission, with support from the other central agencies and agreement from the Government, launched the Development Goals in March 2005.

Development Goals:

1. EMPLOYER OF CHOICE: Ensure the State Services is an employer of choice attractive to high achievers with a commitment to service.

2. EXCELLENT STATE SERVANTS: Develop a strong culture of constant learning in the pursuit of excellence.

3. NETWORKED STATE SERVICES: Use technology to transform the provision of services for New Zealanders.

4. COORDINATED STATE AGENCIES: Ensure the total contribution of government agencies is greater than the sum of its parts.

5. ACCESSIBLE STATE SERVICES: Enhance access, responsiveness and effectiveness, and improve New Zealanders' experience of State Services.

6. TRUSTED STATE SERVICES: Strengthen trust in the State Services, and reinforce the spirit of service.

The strategic direction developed by the Department's senior managers recognises that we can provide much more effective service if we operate as "one organisation" rather than as a collection of independent functions. By operating as "one organisation" we can make more efficient use of our resources, take actions based on a broader and richer understanding of stakeholders' interests, and deliver services designed around stakeholder needs, not functions and portfolios. Much of our existing capability development is directed towards achieving our aspiration to be "one organisation", trusted and respected by stakeholders for high performance.

Developing our people

Our People Strategy, which was revised in August 2006, will enable us to recruit, retain and develop the people we need to deliver on our outcomes and strategic objectives through to 2010 and beyond. It will also help us contribute to the Development Goals for the State Services (an employer of choice with excellent state servants).

The four areas of focus are:

Building a "one organisation" culture

A sense of shared vision and values can provide a sense of common purpose for staff and help build a single, high-performing organisation. We need staff to identify with the Department and understand how their work contributes to outcomes for the organisation, so that they can direct their efforts to best effect. Our aim is for all staff across all business groups to identify with, and see themselves as employees of, the Department of Internal Affairs.

In March 2007 we undertook a staff engagement survey. We will be using this information to better understand the levels of engagement of staff with the Department and to identify areas for improvement.

We expect our managers to be actively promoting our workplace principles and building understanding and commitment within their teams for a "one organisation" culture and the outcomes the Department is seeking to achieve. Staff are reminded of the workplace principles and the "one organisation" message through induction, through planning and reporting documents and through communication of achievements across the Department.

Workplace principles

  • We value people
  • We act with integrity
  • We provide outstanding service

To gain a better understanding of the culture of the organisation we plan to commission and undertake a culture survey for the Department during 2007/08. We will use this and the staff engagement survey information to identify how best to build staff understanding about our business and commitment to our aspirations for the organisation.

Developing leaders

To provide outstanding service and policy advice we need leaders who are capable managers and strategic thinkers, able to inspire their people to achieve desired outcomes. The Department will continue to invest time and resources to develop a pool of people with the leadership/management competencies required now and in the future.

We have created a management and leadership development framework to better target development initiatives for managers and prospective managers. The framework has four levels: aspiring, new, existing and senior managers. During 2006/07 we have developed and introduced training for new and existing managers. In 2007/08 we will be extending this to provide training for senior and aspiring managers.

Building our people capability

With increasing competition for a limited pool of experienced, skilled people, we need to build the capability of our staff to successfully deliver our services and policy advice. We must ensure we have a diverse range of people with the competencies to successfully undertake their current roles, and to prepare them for future roles within the Department and the wider State Services.

Staff numbers have increased, reflecting increased demand for services and the Government's investment in the capability of the Department. During 2006/07 we have largely completed recruitment for the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management (MCDEM).

Key measures we monitor are staff turnover and number of years' service. During 2006/07 our overall turnover has been tracking at 19.9% (March 2007), which is higher than desirable, but reflects current economic conditions.

Staff Turnover and Average Length of Service bar graphs

Average length of service for permanent and fixed term staff has reduced (to 5.2 years in the March 2007 quarter). This largely reflects the recruitment of new capability into the Department.

We have developed, and are in the process of implementing, a workforce-planning framework that will enable us to better forecast capability and capacity requirements in both the medium and long term. This data will inform the Department's recruitment and training and development plans.

The Department has developed and is implementing a new career progression policy to enable us to retain staff. To retain our existing staff and to attract young people to the organisation, we need to ensure we have flexible working arrangements and be innovative in how we recruit staff. To address these issues we will be reviewing working arrangements (working hours and leave arrangements, for example) and exploring options for graduate recruitment and intern/scholarship programmes. In the medium term we will also be looking to develop and implement an aged employment strategy.

We are continuing to provide learning and development opportunities for our staff. We have designed and are implementing a Department-wide training and development strategy, which is implemented through individual development plans.

Creating a high-performing, inclusive work environment

Our aim is to provide a work environment that attracts the capability needed, that supports people to contribute their best and that recognises and makes best use of a diverse range of skills, knowledge and talents. Achieving this means focusing not just on leaders and staff individually but also on the broader work environment.

We have reviewed and agreed changes to our remuneration and performance management systems, to better enable us to retain competent staff and develop a high-performing organisation. During 2006/07 we are implementing a pay and equity audit, the outcomes of which will be addressed during 2007/08. The response plan arising out of the audit will identify any issues that require further investigation.

We have plans to develop and implement a Department-wide targeted employee wellbeing programme. The Department already provides a number of programmes that are valued by staff, such as the school holiday programme and Employee Assistance Programme.

As part of being a good employer we continue to promote diversity and equal employment opportunities (EEO). Our Diversity/EEO Plan to 2010 aims to increase and support a diverse workforce so that we can meet the needs of the people we serve. We will be reviewing our EEO targets, to be consistent with the outcome of a review being undertaken by the SSC. We continue to support five EEO network groups.

The Department of Internal Affairs' Effectiveness for Māori Strategy identifies as a priority building our staff capability in te reo, tikanga and Treaty of Waitangi, as they are relevant to job requirements. During 2006/07 we have developed refresher training courses to help staff keep their skills up to date. Since May 2006 we have also been providing training in intercultural awareness to support our work with ethnic communities.

The Department continues to invest in health and safety, and in April 2007 we initiated the audit process to achieve tertiary status as part of the ACC's Workplace Safety Management Practices Programme. This is part of being a good employer, but will also bring cost savings for the Department with lower ACC premiums.

Enhancing our information and communications technology capability

Information and communications technology (ICT) is integral to the Department's strategic capability and operations. We are in the process of implementing a programme of initiatives identified in the Information Systems Strategic Plan that will:

The programme of work involves upgrading core ICT systems to improve:

During 2006/07 we expect to complete a network and desktop upgrade. The focus for 2007/08 will be to upgrade server(s) and databases, and migrate to a new email platform. In the medium term we will be implementing an enhanced document management system and document management processes, and upgrading the Department's websites.

We continue to build the corporate Information and Technology (I&T) Group capability to support the new systems. Over the medium term, we will be further integrating all our ICT capability to provide full and comprehensive centralised management and oversight of ICT. The I&T Governance Committee will continue to oversee strategic ICT business decisions across the organisation.

Key Governance Arrangements

Executive Management Team

I&T Governance Committee

Audit Advisory Committee

The Executive Management Team is chaired by the Chief Executive and includes the managers of the eight business groups that make up the Department. It provides direction and leadership to the whole organisation.

The Executive Management Team's focus is on sound strategic management and corporate governance.

The I&T Governance Committee is a subcommittee of the Executive Management Team chaired by the Chief Executive. It provides strategic oversight of Information and Technology development and delivery to achieve optimum results in support of the Department's outcomes.

The Audit Advisory Committee is a stand-alone committee that operates and reports directly to the Chief Executive who is also the Chair. All other committee members are external appointments. The committee provides expert independent advice and comment to the Chief Executive on assurance matters pertaining to or arising from the Department's performance and management of its accountabilities, deliverables and risks.

Strengthening risk management

The Department implements risk management policies and guidance material across the Department, which helps business groups identify and manage operational risks. All business groups report regularly on key risks to the Executive Management Team (EMT) who review the effectiveness of mitigation actions and strategies.

Establishment of the Project Office and development of good-practice project methodology provide further assurance that risks and uncertainties arising with projects are recognised and responded to in a timely and effective manner. The initial focus was on I&T projects, but that is gradually being extended to other projects as appropriate. The Project Office and Risk and Audit Services staff will be working together to ensure that collection and handling of the risk information generated across the organisation is appropriate and consistent. This will be supported by training and workshop presentations to staff to meet their business needs. The EMT and I&T Governance Committee use this information to provide assurance on project and risk management.

We have a three-year audit programme to better inform the Chief Executive and EMT about risk management in practice. Risk and Audit Services capacity has been increased to ensure that the collective audit activity is appropriately managed and applied so as to meet Departmental assurance needs and priorities. We have also recently reviewed and reconfigured the Departmental Audit Advisory Committee, which will operate to review and comment on internal and external audit activity.

Security can be a key area of risk. We are in the process of enhancing our security policies, to lower the risk of security breaches and contribute to the Development Goal of strengthening trust in the State Services. From 2007/08 we will be implementing revised security policies and strengthening the risk management framework to reflect this.

Enhancing our procurement procedures

The Department is looking to enhance its procurement procedures to better align with the procurement principles set by the Office of the Auditor-General. In the procurement of goods and services, the Department will ensure it creates open and effective competition in its tendering process taking into account the following principles of the Office of the Auditor-General:

We will also be looking to ensure the key procurement principles are adhered to throughout the Department.

Work is already under way to provide online financial management services with:

This will deliver timely and reliable reporting and a more efficient service.

Reviewing our property strategy

We have commenced development of a medium-term property strategy that supports our vision of "one organisation" and will provide us with accommodation options to meet our current and anticipated business needs. This is an opportunity to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our property portfolio and make sure it is meeting the changing needs of the organisation. The strategy will look out 10 years, with overall guidelines agreed by the Executive Management Team during 2006/07. The focus is on making more efficient use of existing office space, particularly in Wellington. As part of developing the strategy we will be looking at "Green Building" issues, in line with the Government's focus on sustainability.

Our Organisation

The Department of Internal Affairs - Te Tari Taiwhenua - is the oldest government department and traces its history back to the structures put in place immediately after the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

The Department is a diverse organisation, with around 1,300 staff providing a range of services supporting citizens, communities and government. We deliver services from 17 locations throughout New Zealand, plus small offices in Sydney and London.

We provide policy advice to our Ministers and Associate Minister in the areas of local government, community and voluntary sector issues, ethnic affairs, civil defence and emergency management (CDEM), gambling, racing, fire, identity and censorship. We also advise a number of other Ministers as the need arises. The Department administers around 90 Acts and Regulations.

The Department delivers its services through eight business groups. The managers report direct to Christopher Blake as Chief Executive, and are responsible for managing their respective areas and delivering agreed outputs with Ministers. In addition, they form part of the Executive Management Team, whose role is to provide direction and leadership to the Department. A brief description of the operations, roles and responsibilities for each business group follows.

Staff Numbers by Business Group

Identity Services

General Manager: Annette Offenberger

TheIdentity Services Group is a trusted steward of New Zealanders' identity information. It provides leadership in identity management and is responsible for the creation, stewardship and integrity of records of, or relating to, New Zealanders' identity. It registers birth, death, civil union and marriage details, issues passports and manages citizenship applications.

Executive Government Support

General Manager: Janice Calvert

The Executive Government Support Group supports the efficient operation and continuity of Executive Government by providing Ministers with a range of services including residential accommodation, transport services, advice and administrative support for their ministerial offices. Through the facilitation of guest-of-Government visits and ceremonial events, the Group contributes to the development of New Zealand's international connections and a public understanding of our culture and heritage. It provides a translation service that is available to government and the general public, publishes the New Zealand Gazette, provides authentication of official documents and administers the Gambling Commission. It also sets up and administers commissions of inquiry and other ad hoc bodies, ensuring these are established quickly and efficiently when required.

Local Government and Community

Deputy Secretary: Anne Carter

The Local Government and Community Branch promotes the building of strong communities, and supports the local government system by providing community advisory and local government interface services and information to the public, including administering CommunityNet Aotearoa. It administers lottery grants, Crown-funded schemes such as the Community Organisation Grants Scheme, and a range of other grants and trusts that develop community capacity to address local issues. The Branch provides policy advice on local government and community and voluntary sector issues, and administers an array of local government legislation.

Regulation and Compliance

Deputy Secretary: Keith Manch

The Regulation and Compliance Branch integrates regulatory policy and operational activities that help to ensure safer communities; contribute to building strong, sustainable communities/hapū/iwi; and promote trust in the integrity of New Zealand's records of identity. Key areas of focus include providing policy advice on gambling, racing, censorship, CDEM, fire, identity, public inquiries and daylight saving. The Branch also monitors the performance of three Crown entities on behalf of Ministers. It licenses gambling activities, inspects and monitors gambling, and regulates the sending of unsolicited electronic messages, the possession and supply of objectionable material and the public display of publications. It also provides administrative support for the Local Government Commission, and is responsible for the Rates Rebate Scheme and the Department's local government regulatory responsibilities.

Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management

Director: John Hamilton

TheMinistry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management (MCDEM) provides operational advice to the Government on civil defence emergency management (CDEM). It provides leadership on the strategic direction for CDEM in New Zealand through the development of an integrated, risk-based approach. This includes working with stakeholders, including CDEM groups and government agencies, to address the "4R's" of reduction, readiness, response and recovery. MCDEM also supports, coordinates and manages local and national civil defence emergencies.

Office of Ethnic Affairs

Director: Mervin Singham

The Office of Ethnic Affairs is the Government's primary advisor on ethnic diversity and intercultural matters. It provides a point of contact between ethnic communities and the New Zealand Government. The Office supports ethnic communities to participate in civil society through providing information and advice and facilitating forums where issues can be raised and solutions discussed. The Office also provides policy advice and training to government agencies on diversity and intercultural matters, and manages the telephone interpreting service Language Line.

Business Services

Director: Norah Familton

The Business Services Branch provides a range of corporate services and support to the operational business groups, enabling them to excel in their areas of expertise. The range of services provided includes finance, strategic human resources, strategic communications, I&T, research and evaluation, property and procurement.

Office of the Chief Executive

Director: Jared Mullen

The Office of the Chief Executive provides advisory and project support to the Chief Executive, the Executive Management Team and operational business groups. The range of services includes strategic development and planning, risk and audit, project management, legal services and effectiveness for Māori.


The Department is responsible to seven Ministers administering six Votes. The Minister of Internal Affairs is the Minister Responsible for the Department. The Department monitors the performance of two Crown entities under the Internal Affairs portfolio, and one Crown entity under the Community and Voluntary Sector portfolio.

Hon Rick Barker




Minister of Internal Affairs

Minister of Civil Defence

Minister Responsible for the Department of Internal Affairs


New Zealand Fire Service Commission

Office of Film and Literature Classification

Rt Hon Helen Clark




Minister Responsible for Ministerial Services

Hon Mark Burton




Minister of Local Government

Hon Chris Carter


Minister for Ethnic Affairs

Hon Nanaia Mahuta


Associate Minister of Local Government

Hon Luamanuvao Winnie Laban




Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector


Charities Commission

Rt Hon Winston Peters




Minister for Racing

The Department also works with various portfolio-related statutory bodies, trusts and committees (for example, the Lottery Grants Board), providing them with administrative support and managing the appointments process. We also manage the appointments process for the 12 community trusts (Responsible Minister: Minister of Finance), the Peace and Disarmament Education Trust, and the Pacific Development and Conservation Trust (Responsible Minister: Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control).

Legislation we Administer

As at 31 March 2007, the following is a list of legislation that we administer, classified by Vote.

Internal Affairs

Births, Deaths, and Marriages Registration Act 1995

Births, Deaths, and Marriages Registration (Fees) Regulations 1995

Births, Deaths, and Marriages Registration (Prescribed Information and Forms) Regulations 1995

Boxing and Wrestling Act 1981

Citizenship Act 1977

Citizenship Regulations 2002

Citizenship (Western Samoa) Act 1982

Civil Union (Prescribed Information, Fees, and Forms) Regulations 2005*

Commercial Use of Royal Photographs Rules 1962

Commissions of Inquiry Act 1908

Commonwealth Games Symbol Protection Act 1974

Films, Videos, and Publications Classification (Fees) Regulations 1994*

Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Regulations 1994*

Fire Safety and Evacuation of Buildings Regulations 2006

Fire Service Act 1975

Fire Service Levy Order 1993

Fire Service Regulations 2003

Forest and Rural Fires Act 1977

Forest and Rural Fires Regulations 2005

Gambling Act 2003

Gambling (Class 4 Banking) Regulations 2006

Gambling (Class 4 Net Proceeds) Regulations 2004

Gambling (Electronic Monitoring Fees) Regulations 2006

Gambling (Fees and Revocations) Regulations 2004

Gambling (Forms) Regulations 2004

Gambling (Harm Prevention and Minimisation) Regulations 2004

Gambling (Infringement Notices) Regulations 2004

Gambling (Licensed Promoters) Regulations 2005

Gambling (Problem Gambling Levy) Regulations 2004

Gambling (Prohibited Property) Regulations 2005

Human Assisted Reproductive Technology (Fees) Regulations 2005*

Marriage (Fees) Regulations 1995*

Marriage (Forms) Regulations 1995*

New Zealand Daylight Time Order 1990

New Zealand Fire Brigades Long Service and Good Conduct Medal (1976) (Royal Warrant)

Official Appointments and Documents Act 1919

Passport (Fees) Regulations 1996

Passports Act 1992

Queen's Fire Service Medal Regulations 1955 (Royal Warrant)

Royal Titles Act 1974

Rural Fire Fighting Fund Regulations 1992

Seal of New Zealand Act 1977

Seal of New Zealand Proclamation 1977

Time Act 1974

Emergency Management

Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002

Civil Defence Emergency Management Regulations 2003

National Civil Defence Emergency Management Plan Order 2005

Local Government

Bylaws Act 1910

Bylaws Regulations 1968

Chatham Islands Council Act 1995

Counties Insurance Empowering Act 1941

Dog Control Act 1996

Dog Control (Microchip Transponder) Regulations 2005

Dog Control (National Dog Control Information Database Levy) Order 2006

Dog Control (Prescribed Forms) Regulations 1996

Impounding Act 1955

Impounding Regulations 1981

Lake Taupo (Crown Facilities, Permits and Fees) Regulations 2004

Land Drainage Act 1908

Libraries and Mechanics' Institutes Act 1908

Litter Act 1979

Local Authorities (Members' Interests) Act 1968

Local Authority Reorganisation (Property Transfers) Act 1990

Local Electoral Act 2001

Local Electoral Regulations 2001

Local Government Act 1974

Local Government Act 2002

Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987

Local Government (Rating) Act 2002

Local Government (Watercare Services Limited) Order 2004

Local Legislation Acts 1926-1992

Municipal Insurance Act 1960

Public Authorities (Party Wall) Empowering Act 1919

Public Bodies Contracts Act 1959

Public Bodies Leases Act 1969

Rangitaiki Land Drainage Act 1956

Rates Rebate Act 1973

Rates Rebates Order 1982

Rates Rebates Order 1985

Rates Rebates Order 2006

Rating (Fees) Regulations 1997

River Boards Act 1908

Waimakariri-Ashley Water Supply Act 1961

Community and Voluntary Sector

Charities Act 2005

Charities (Fees, Forms, and Other Matters) Regulations 2006

Community Trusts Act 1999

Community Trusts (Fees) Regulations 2000

Trustee Banks Restructuring Act Repeal Act 1999

Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Act 1965


Racing Act 2003

Racing (Harm Prevention and Minimisation) Regulations 2004

Ministerial Services

Executive Travel, Accommodation, Attendance, and Communications Services Determination 2003**

* Regulations made under legislation administered by the Ministry of Justice.

** Regulations made under legislation administered by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

[ Previous | Next ]

Back to the Top