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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 outcomes that we believe contribute to the priorities for citizens, communities and government.

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)
  • New Zealand's approach to identity is trusted and
    well led

We also contribute to the objective:

  • Executive Government is well supported.

The following section outlines how we have made progress on the outcomes and delivered on the priorities identified in the Department's Statement of Intent 2007–10. Our Statement of Intent 2008–11 sets out how we will build on the achievements reported here in order to continue to progress these outcomes.

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Strong, Sustainable Communities/hapū/Iwi

The outcome of building strong, sustainable communities, hapū and iwi is key to achieving positive social, economic, cultural and environmental outcomes. This outcome has particular significance for both central and local government in ensuring that communities define and work towards meeting their own needs and aspirations.

The Department of Internal Affairs has particular responsibilities for:

  • supporting the system of local government through the administration of aspects of the statutory framework, the provision of information and advice, and the facilitation of central and local government engagement
  • enhancing community development by providing advice on community and voluntary sector issues, community advisory and information services, and administration of grants
  • contributing to a strong, self-directed ethnic sector by promoting the advantages of ethnic diversity in New Zealand.

Areas where the Department makes a contribution to strong, sustainable communities are outlined below, together with some of the core activities and key initiatives progressed during 2007/08.

People engage with and participate in their communities

Our progress

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

The Department continued work to encourage greater public engagement and participation in communities.

Encouraging participation in local government

Local government is based on democratic principles and, to be effective, councils need input and participation from across the community in elections and as part of their strategic planning activities.

Providing information

In 2007/08, the Department continued to provide a range of current information to the public on local government activities through the website There were a total of 97,677 visitors to the website, a 29% increase when compared with the previous year. There was also a noticeable increase of visitors during the 2007 local election period.

Updates to the website during the year included a results summary of the 2007 local government elections with click-through links to individual council websites.

New web pages were created relating to participation in local government, including:

  • voting in local government elections
  • being elected as a councillor or community board member
  • making a submission to councils on local issues
  • attending council meetings
  • council interaction with Māori, and community and ethnic groups.

A set of five information sheets about local government were made available for councils to share with their communities in the lead-up to the local elections.

Encouraging participation

Participation in local elections is a key way in which individuals can participate in their communities. Over the 2007/08 year, the Department continued to provide information and support for local elections and promote a wider understanding of local government as a way to enhance participation.

The Department undertook a public education campaign, which commenced on 20 September 2007, to ensure people were aware of their opportunity to vote in the 2007 local authority elections and better understood the Single Transferable Voting (STV) system. We also authored with Te Puni Kōkiri, Whaiwahi ki nga Poti a-rohe, a newsletter to encourage Māori to stand and vote in the 2007 local elections.

A post-election survey undertaken in October/November 2007 showed that awareness of STV, how to vote and recall of advertising were comparable with 2004 despite a smaller budget for the advertising campaign.

We will be collaborating and analysing the results of the 2007 local government elections and candidate surveys to gain an improved understanding of how people are participating in their communities.

The Department also supported the Kids Voting programme for the 2007 local government elections, as part of the Growing Active Citizens project. Kids Voting is an initiative that encourages civic participation at a young age. We worked with other interested parties, such as Local Government New Zealand and individual councils, to support the roll-out of Kids Voting. This included meetings, information-sharing, relationship-building and engagement across central and local government agencies.

Enhancing access to facilities for non-English speakers

To be able to fully participate in society and, in some cases, to access State services, people need to be able to communicate and access information. The Department's Language Line service provides quick, cost-effective telephone interpreting services to people with limited English who need to transact business with government agencies. It has had a steady uptake since its launch in 2003, supporting approximately 120,000 calls.

By the end of the 2007/08 year, 52 agencies (an increase from 29 in 2006/07) and 70 educational institutions, such as schools, were participating in the Language Line service.

Language Line – call volumes






Total Calls






The top ten languages since April 2003 are:

The top ten languages since April 2003

The top ten languages since April 2003 are:





















Promoting volunteering

As part of its work in encouraging greater public engagement and participation, the Department supported volunteer agencies and volunteers who play a key role in community well being.

The Support for Volunteering Fund was established in 2001 to promote and support volunteering. This included establishing a national volunteering body, Volunteering New Zealand, to provide support for volunteer centre projects, with volunteer centres and other organisations, promoting and supporting volunteering in communities.

The Department contributed to a stocktake of 'Government support for volunteering from 2002–2008'. Findings from the stocktake indicated that the investment of effort from a number of key agencies, including the Department, to raise the profile of volunteering within government in a more sustainable and durable way, had produced positive results.

Understanding the value of being a New Zealand citizen

The Department administers the Citizenship Act 1977. In 2007/08, 27,624 applications for grant of citizenship to foreign nationals were recommended to the Minister. However, the vast majority of New Zealand citizens have acquired their citizenship by virtue of birth in New Zealand or to New Zealand citizen parents overseas.

It is important that all citizens have an understanding of the nature of New Zealand citizenship and the rights and obligations that accompany it. To help build understanding about the nature of citizenship, the Department hosted an inter-agency forum in April entitled 'Diversity and New Zealand Citizenship Issues'.  The forum was designed to stimulate discussion and debate about citizenship issues amongst senior public servants working in areas related to immigration, migrant settlement, education, community development and national identity.

We will be building on this initiative throughout the 2009 calendar year, with a programme of initiatives to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the creation of New Zealand citizenship. These celebrations will provide good opportunities for the Department to raise public awareness of the meaning, importance and benefits of New Zealand citizenship. Associated with this, the Department is currently designing a research study to be undertaken early in 2009 to understand the extent of public awareness around citizenship issues.

Priorities for the future

In the Statement of Intent 2008–11, the Department set out its priorities for the future, which include:

  • expanding the use of Language Line and commissioning an independent review of the scope and effectiveness of the service in 2010/11 to ensure it continues to provide speakers of other languages with access to government services
  • promoting Language Line to more agencies, including justice sector agencies and local authorities, and investigating options for extending the service to the private sector
  • supporting work with the Office of the Community and Voluntary Sector (located in the Ministry of Social Development) to look at the promotion of volunteering and issues related to capacity development in the community and voluntary sector
  • continuing to participate in the Growing Active Citizens programme, promote awareness of opportunities for involvement in local government constitutional processes (such as representation reviews, and Māori wards and constituencies) and conduct an evaluation of how Māori and councils are engaging with each other
  • working with the Electoral Enrolment Centre and the Electoral Commission on ways to encourage members of ethnic communities to participate more actively in elections. International studies show that ethnic minority participation in elections is usually lower than that of their host community counterparts
  • analysing the results of the 2010 local government elections and candidate surveys to gain an improved understanding of how people are participating in their community.

Communities are empowered and able to help themselves

Our progress

Empowerment is a vital component of strong, sustainable communities. Empowered communities are able to identify and access resources that best meet their needs to make the most of economic opportunities and have a strong sense of identity.

Providing access to information and advice

Providing information and advisory services to communities enables them to build strong leadership and vision, form effective partnerships and be more aware of the resources available to them.

Deliver community advisory services

The Department's 16 regional offices throughout the country support local and regional initiatives, capability, capacity and relationship-building with communities, hapū and iwi. Community advisors have continued to play an important role in developing multi-agency partnerships and facilitating community-based solutions to local problems and issues. They ensure information on a range of funding streams is provided to communities.

Providing information platforms

The Department provides funding and technical support for the CommunityNet Aotearoa (CNA) website. During the year, enhancements were made to CNA, which resulted in an increased number of visits to the site.

Access to resourcing

The Department plays an important role in this by working to provide effective administration and support for grant-funding bodies, committees and trust boards that distribute resources into communities so they can work towards their own goals. The Department's work in this area includes:

  • administering the Community Organisation Grants Scheme (COGS)
  • supporting the Lottery Grants Board
  • direct administration of other Crown-funded grant schemes and trusts.

Administration of trusts

In 2007/08, the Department played an important role in the creation of the new Te Keke Tura Moriori Identity Trust including the planning and execution of the celebratory launch to announce the Government's one-off grant of $6 million to preserve and promote Moriori identity, heritage, culture and the legacy of peace. The grant will create income for Te Keke Tura Moriori Identity Trust, the charitable entity that will work to preserve, revive, support and promote Moriori identity. Departmental staff also supported the development of the Trust Deed, in partnership with the Hokotehi Moriori Trust, and advised Ministers on appropriate accountability mechanisms. Not only will Moriori benefit from the Trust, it also provides all New Zealanders with the opportunity to benefit from a better understanding and appreciation of Moriori as a unique indigenous people. The ceremony, which was held in June 2008, was linked by video to the Kopinga Marae on Rekohu (Chatham Islands).

Administration of Crown-Funded Schemes

During the year, improvements were made to the administration of Crown-Funded Schemes by implementing the Better Funding Practice Programme and reviewing particular funding schemes.

The Better Funding Practice Programme seeks to achieve a more consistent and sustainable approach to grant-making, through better alignment between Crown-funded schemes administered by the Department and Lottery Grants. Better funding practice will continue to be incorporated into day-to-day grants administration and this approach has been applied across all funds administered by the Department.

Grant-funding business process databases have been developed for the Community Organisation Grants Scheme (COGS), Crown schemes, Trusts and Lottery Grants. The Crown schemes operational policy database went 'live' in August 2007 and is being extended to enable it to be the central repository of operational policy for all funds administered by the Department. A training package was delivered to all regional and national staff to enable them to easily access and utilise the database information.

Seven Crown-Funded Schemes were reviewed during 2007/08. As a result, four of the community development worker-based schemes were merged into a new Community Development Scheme.

Operational details and a funding strategy for the new Community Development Scheme have now been developed and changes to this scheme and others are being implemented for the 2008/09 year.

Strategic approaches to funding

The Lottery Grants Board is moving towards an outcomes-focused approach in its funding. The aim is to obtain the greatest community benefit from its funds, while looking to minimise disparity between communities.

Work is underway to re-orient Lottery Grants Board policies and systems to support an outcome approach to lottery grants funding. Scoping and planning work for the Lottery Grants Board outcome framework was completed in 2007/08. Implementation of the framework is planned for 2008/09 and 2009/10 to enable decisions for grants to be more outcome focused.

A new lottery Community Sector Research Committee was established during the year and will commence in 2008/09.

A new Lottery Significant Projects Fund was established to provide funding for large-scale capital works building projects and events in the community.

Connecting communities and ICT

The Government's refreshed draft Digital Strategy 2.0 was released in April 2008 with the final Digital Strategy 2.0 to be released in late August 2008. The Department supported the refresh process through work with the Ministry of Economic Development and as a member of the Digital Strategy Steering Group. The Strategy includes initiatives designed to break down the digital divide. The Department's focus has been to improve the uptake of information technology in communities, using existing platforms such as CommunityNet Aotearoa to improve access to information and administration of the Community Partnership Fund (CPF). This Fund was allocated $17.4 million of seed funding to assist innovative and sustainable ICT projects that support communities in achieving their social, cultural, economic and environmental goals.

Key achievements over the 2007/08 year were:

  • 61 of the 64 CPF projects approved have started, having met funding conditions
  • demographic information about CommunityNet Aotearoa has been established for the first time. This information will be used to assist with content development and improving the 'look and feel' of the website
  • a full review and update of the 'how to' guides on CommunityNet Aotearoa were completed
  • visits to CommunityNet Aotearoa rose by 46,000 to over 75,000 per month (155% increase) over the past 12 months.

Our future focus will be on examining opportunities to leverage off CPF initiatives so that communities continue their uptake of digital technologies to support their economic, environmental and social goals.

The Department provided administrative support to the Microsoft Unlimited Potential training (UPLIFT) programme, a four-day residential computer training course for community project workers that builds skills in ICT, enabling those people to further develop capacity in their own communities. This project was concluded in September 2007. An evaluation report on the UPLIFT programme was completed later in the year and showed the programme met its intended outcome of delivering community ICT capacity.

Priorities for the future

In the Statement of Intent 2008–11, the Department set out its priorities for the future, which include:

  • examining aspects of the Community Advisory Service (specifically, professional development of staff, information capture and reporting on contribution to outcomes) to ensure that communities are served by skilled community advisors able to enhance community capability
  • building leadership and intercultural awareness within ethnic communities to contribute to their cohesion and resilience, by creating and developing bridges across communities
  • identifying issues and analysing trends likely to impact on communities in 5, 10 and 20 years to better understand their future needs and how the Government might respond to these changes
  • continuing to support the Lottery Grants Board to develop and implement an outcome focus for its grant funding through the Lottery Grants Board outcomes framework project
  • continuing to improve our administration of Crown-Funded Schemes through the implementation of better funding practices.

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

Our progress

Local government plays an important role in delivering essential facilities and services and promoting community well being. Effective local government provides communities with a greater say over their resources and the decisions that effect them. Councils need to act in a clear and accountable manner, showing consideration for sustainable management and the diversity of communities. In most cases, the Department provides tools and advice to help make a difference.

The Department plays a key coordinating role by bringing together local and central government. As part of the Department's commitment to supporting local and central government relationships around community outcomes, an extensive rebuild of is underway. From late 2008, it will become The updated website will explain community outcomes processes and provide up-to-date information, knowledge, examples and resources for achieving community outcomes. A comprehensive contacts directory of government and community organisations will be a feature of the site.

Understanding the system of local government

Reviewing local government legislation

Three main pieces of legislation define the roles, responsibilities, powers and accountabilities of local government: the Local Government Act 2002, the Local Electoral Act 2001 and the Local Government (Rating) Act 2002. The Department has a programme to evaluate the legislation out to 2013. The evaluation aims to assess the extent to which the new legislative framework is operating as intended and achieving the results expected for local government and communities. The overall approach for the evaluation is described in the Strategy to Evaluate Local Government Legislation. This is now supported by a departmental Information, Evaluation and Research Strategy for local government and community.

A departmental report, currently undergoing an external peer review, analyses trends between 2002 and 2006 and provides an overview of the changes that have occurred in local government since the introduction of the Act. While it is difficult to relate any of the changes directly to the Act, it is apparent that local government funding and forecasting have altered over this period. Changes in representation have also occurred.

In 2007/08, selected case studies were completed looking at the short-term impacts around community outcomes, planning and decision-making. These case studies have provided a unique view into the way councils reacted to the introduction of the Local Government Act. While some councils noted implementation issues, it was apparent that the Act has generally promoted positive change and an increasing degree of community involvement and rigour in planning.

The Department provides administrative support and resources to the Local Government Commission. During the year, the Commission substantially completed its review of the Local Government Act and the Local Electoral Act. The Department will consider the Commission's findings and recommendations and report to the Minister of Local Government in 2008/09.

Coordinating Central Government's engagement on Auckland governance issues

The Department is directly supporting the development of Auckland governance. During the year, the Government worked cooperatively with Auckland councils on a project to strengthen regional governance in Auckland, as part of the ongoing development of the Auckland region into a world-class city/region. In July 2007, the Government endorsed the Final Report of the Strengthening Auckland's Regional Governance Project as a positive first step for strengthening Auckland's regional governance.

During 2007/08, the Department coordinated central government's engagement with the Auckland region during the development of a draft regional strategic plan, known as One Plan. The Regional Sustainable Development Forum approved the draft One Plan for consultation with Auckland councils and engagement with key stakeholders by 27 June 2008.

The project has effectively coordinated central government input into the draft One Plan, working collaboratively with Auckland local government at both officials and political levels.

The Department is also providing administrative support for the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance, which is due to report back by 31 March 2009.

Responding to the findings of the Rating Inquiry

The report of the Local Government Rates Inquiry was provided to the Minister of Local Government in August 2007. The Department has led the development of a cross-government response to the report's recommendations, on which the Government has made some decisions in 2007/08. Decisions some aspects of the response are planned for 2008/09.

The Rates Inquiry, and the subsequent work across government on its recommendations, has confirmed the generally strong financial position of local government. The Government has affirmed that there is no case for generalised financial assistance to local government for infrastructure. The Government directed the Department to commence work on a framework to determine the relevance of central government investment in local authority infrastructure. The Government affirmed that local government should generally be able to recover costs from fees for regulatory functions. The Department has also been asked to commence regular monitoring of aspects of the affordability of rates in 2009.

The local government sector has picked up responsibility for addressing those recommendations of the Rates Inquiry for which they are responsible.

Supporting local government activity

Administration of the Rates Rebate Scheme

The Department continued to administer the Rates Rebate Scheme, which was established to assist low-income homeowners pay local authority rates. The number of applications granted for the 2007/08 rating year was 110,647 to a total value of $49.664 million. The average value of rebates granted was $449. In 2008, the maximum rebate and income threshold were reviewed. As a result, the maximum rebate was increased from $500 to $530 and the threshold was increased from $20,000 to $21,180. The changes take effect from 1 July 2008. These changes are expected to result in an increase in the number of rebates granted and in the value of the average rebate.

Public Safety around Dogs

During 2007/08, the Department progressed work to improve public safety around dogs. The Dog Control Amendment Act 2003, Dog Control Amendment Act 2004 and the Dog Control Amendment Act 2006 are intended to collectively improve public safety through the use of stronger deterrents, preventive measures, more extensive powers of enforcement, better information about dogs and dog safety education.

Cabinet agreed in October 2007 to a work programme consisting of:

  • enhancing dog safety data
  • developing enforcement guidelines collaboratively with the local government sector and stakeholders
  • developing consistent public education messages
  • initiating the process of adding the presa canario breed to the import ban list
  • developing and introducing a Bill that would require mandatory neutering of dog breeds on the import ban list, simplifying the process for adding to the import ban and allowing the Minister to specify by regulation the new issues that councils must address in their dog control policies
  • a public discussion document on a range of further options for dog control.

The results of the discussion document process indicate that the current regime provides sufficient tools for effective dog control. However, the changes to be sought in the proposed Bill and associated regulations will provide further assurance of improved public safety around dogs. The availability of enforcement guidelines will assist councils to adopt best practice and enhanced data will inform future policy development through a better understanding of dog safety outcomes.

Building trusted local groups and organisations

The Department manages the process of ministerial appointments to Community Trusts, which distribute over $60 million per annum to support community initiatives and developments. In 2007/08, there were 17 reappointments and 17 new appointments across the 12 Community Trusts.

In 2007/08, the Department progressed the review of fees paid to members of the Boards of the Community Trusts. The review is scheduled for completion by 31 October 2008.

The Department also continued to monitor the implementation of the Charities Act 2005 and the initial registration of charities. The Charities Commission expects to process the majority of initial applications received for charitable status by 31 December 2008. Following the completion of initial registration, a review of the Charities Act will be considered by the Department.

Priorities for the future

In the Statement of Intent 2008–11, the Department set out its priorities for the future, which include:

  • working to identify and respond to issues facing local government in the future. This includes consideration of the financial sustainability and future funding of local government activities and services as a way to assist both local and central government to plan for, and respond to, future challenges
  • continuing to evaluate aspects of local government legislation, as part of a long-term programme to ensure the legislative framework is operating as intended and is achieving the results expected for local government and communities that will include issues specific for Māori
  • continuing to develop a comprehensive information and research base about local government and disseminate information and good practice, as appropriate
  • working with Auckland local government to coordinate central government input into the development and implementation of the One Plan to strengthen Auckland regional governance. In addition, the Department will provide administrative support for the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance and lead the policy response to address the recommendations in the Commission's report
  • promoting and administering the Rates Rebate Scheme providing a subsidy to low-income homeowners on the cost of their rates
  • supporting smaller councils, such as the Chatham Islands Council, that require assistance
  • continuing to support work to improve public safety around dogs
  • working with local government to improve settlement outcomes for migrants and refugees and encourage local government to offer the Language Line service to members of ethnic communities accessing local government services.

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

Our progress

The Department has a key role in working with ethnic and diverse communities through the Office of Ethnic Affairs and through our local government, community advisory and funding roles.

The increasing diversity of New Zealand presents us with opportunities and challenges. Census 2006 showed that almost 23% of the New Zealand population were born overseas and that there are over 200 ethnic groups in New Zealand.

Connecting diverse communities

The Department co-leads the Connecting Diverse Communities initiative with the Ministry of Social Development. This initiative aims to improve coordination across government agencies to promote social cohesion and stronger relationships among diverse communities. Consultation meetings were held around New Zealand in 2007 to hear from communities about what is being done locally, what more could be done and what the Government's role should be in this work. In May 2008, Cabinet agreed to the release of findings from the public engagement, which will be used to inform ongoing policy work. Key themes were around the importance of:

  • making sure people feel that they belong  
  • providing and taking opportunities to learn about
    each other  
  • finding the common ground on values  
  • taking advantage of, and celebrating, diversity
  • valuing biculturalism and multiculturalism
  • assisting newcomers to learn English
  • establishing the infrastructure needed for social cohesion
  • implementing that infrastructure nationally and locally.

As part of the Connecting Diverse Communities programme, the Department contributes to 'Good Practice' forums that are held for government operational and policy staff. These forums provide topical information on various ways to be responsive to New Zealand's ethnic, cultural and religious diversity.

Building capacity within ethnic communities

Encouraging civic participation from ethnic communities

During the 2007/08 year, the Department ran 26 community forums. These are a key means to update ethnic communities on government activities and receive feedback about community needs. Pan-ethnic forums are also held, bringing a range of communities together to consider common interests. Forums were held for Chinese, Korean, South Asian and Muslim communities, with specific meetings also held for refugees and new migrants, women and ethnic youth. Fifteen additional community forums were also held around New Zealand as part of the Connecting Diverse Communities consultation on diversity and social cohesion.

The Building Bridges programme is an initiative developed for the Muslim community. Created in conjunction with the Federation of Islamic Associations, it aims to provide information to Muslim communities to increase civic participation and build relationships between Muslim and other communities. The Department ran a series of workshops to discuss issues such as integration and public perceptions. As a result, the Department developed media training workshops, youth leadership, dialogue sessions, and the resource 'Building Bridges' for the Muslim community.

The Ethnic Women's Network and Latin American Women's Network bring ethnic women together to share information and raise awareness of issues affecting them. The Department supports the networks' running of regular workshops and seminars for ethnic women on topics such as developing employment and leadership skills. These workshops are run in Auckland and Wellington and during 2007/08 the Christchurch Ethnic Women's Network was also established.

The Department is working with the Chinese business community in holding regular Economic Information Exchanges. These meetings bring together representatives of the Chinese and wider business communities to network with each other and government agencies, with a view to increasing understanding and cooperation.

Improving State sector responsiveness to ethnic diversity

The Department has taken a leadership role in the area of ethnic diversity and is involved in a number of inter-agency initiatives. During 2007/08, the Department, in conjunction with the Ministry of Women's' Affairs, Te Puni Kokiri and the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs, produced a research paper on the benefits of diversity in New Zealand.

The Department also leads the New Zealand/United Kingdom Policy Dialogue on Multicultural Communities. The purpose of the project is to share best practice between governments on social cohesion and cultural diversity. During 2007/08, both countries hosted delegations, with information gained informing future policy development.

The Department participates in the implementation of the Government's New Zealand Settlement Strategy at both national and regional levels. The Strategy, led by the Department of Labour, assists new settlers who have been in New Zealand for more than two years.

The Authentic Dialogue programme was launched in 2007 and aimed to facilitate dialogue on ethnic-related issues in contemporary New Zealand society. The programme was evaluated to measure the impact of the sessions on each participant. As the results were positive, the Authentic Dialogue programme will continue targeting students and staff at academic and educational institutes.

In response to significant demand for the Intercultural Awareness and Communication (IAC) programme, the Department received funding for a dedicated intercultural advisory team, which was established in early 2008. IAC training, which promotes intercultural effectiveness as a core business skill, has been provided to a variety of government agencies. This training will continue in 2008/09, with intercultural advisors also working with agencies to manage change and highlight the benefits of diversity.

The Department promotes and monitors the Ethnic Perspectives in Policy (EPP) framework, which assists government agencies to include ethnic perspectives in their policy development. During 2007/08, EPP training was provided to policy analysts both internally and across the State sector. Further training is planned to meet ongoing demand from agencies.

Supporting diversity across the community

Contributing to government strategies

As a department, we continue to contribute to various government strategies, that seek to ensure that the needs of diverse groups are recognised in relation to reducing inequalities, effectiveness for Māori, Pacific peoples, positive ageing, ethnic responsiveness and the New Zealand Disability Strategy.

Over the 2007/08 year, work has continued on:

  • implementing the Department's Effectiveness for Māori Strategic Plan, including continuing work on the Te Whakamotuhaketanga hapū Strategy, a programme designed to improve the awareness and skills of departmental staff working with hapū and iwi
  • administering the Pacific Provider Development Fund, which received 63 eligible applications
  • implementing a training package on Pacific Cultural Awareness for Lottery and COGS Committee members and operational staff
  • delivering key actions for the Positive Ageing Strategy including Lottery and COGS funding and implementing the revised Rates Rebate Scheme.

Increasing visibility of ethnic communities

Awareness of the existence of diverse groups is the first step towards community acceptance of them. During the 2007/08 year, the Department ran projects aimed at increasing the visibility of ethnic communities. These included the Diversity Stage at the ASB Polyfest, Race Relations Day, Around the World in 30 Lounges, the Global Football Festival and Chinese New Year celebrations.

The Department also produced the second book in the 'Portraits' series, which contains images and stories told by ethnic New Zealanders about their journeys and life experiences.

Portraits 2 arrangement s.tif

The Office of Ethnic Affairs' education kit – 'Portraits 2: Cultural Diversity'

The media can play a key role in assisting the wider community in understanding issues relating to ethnic diversity. In 2007/08, the Department hosted several ethnic media gatherings, providing a channel of communication between ethnic media, mainstream media and government. This initiative supports improved communication to the community as a whole about ethnic communities and their issues as well as encouraging the development of information to better meet the needs of ethnic communities.

Working as One Organisation

The Department participated in one of the largest community events in the South Pacific, Auckland's Pasifika Festival, which celebrates the art, culture and lifestyle of Pacific Island peoples. This year's theme was 'The Pasifika and the Increasing Technological World'. An estimated 200,000 people attended with 300 food, craft and information stalls – including the Department's own.

Representatives from several of the Department's business groups participated in the event. Visitors to the Department's information stall inquired about a range of our services and work, including:

  • community funding
  • publications
  • the Charities Commission
  • Language Line
  • obtaining a passport
  • birth registration
  • marriage licences
  • spam and internet safety
  • the 'Get Ready, Get Thru' public education programme.

Priorities for the future

In the Statement of Intent 2008–11, the Department set out its priorities for the future, which include:

  • continuing to develop and implement an Effectiveness for Māori Strategy across the Department, and review the Effectiveness for Māori Strategy for the period 2009-2012
  • continuing to take a leadership role in response to ethnic diversity
  • advising government on how the benefits of diversity in communities can be harnessed
  • developing and applying a monitoring framework to encourage greater ethnic responsiveness from the State sector
  • working with specific communities to assist people from a range of backgrounds to participate in society, contribute to economic development and interact with the wider community
  • continuing to target our interventions in three key areas: awareness (visibility), interaction (intercultural awareness and inter/intra-community dialogue) and institutional responsiveness (policy, advisory services, Language Line).

Capability development

We continued to build our capability through a number of new and ongoing projects in 2007/08.

  • Following a review, it was agreed that the Local Government Services would be moved from the Regulation and Compliance Branch to the Local Government and Community Branch, to provide better alignment and integration with the wider outcomes of the Department. This took effect from 1 July 2008.
  • We continued to develop the skills of our staff and ensure they align with the needs of the organisation to deliver coordinated, accessible
    and networked services for New Zealanders.
  • We have been increasing our capacity in responding to ethnic diversity by participating in community and information forums, building relationships with key community organisations and improving intercultural awareness and skills.
  • We continued to embed the changes that have been made in the local government and community policy development area, progress skills development work across the organisation and enhance departmental information systems.
  • We supported the Department's grants administration work to ensure the integrity of the financial processes and information. This work is expected to facilitate both internal decision-making and reporting to external boards.

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Safer Communities

Communities are more resilient to hazards and their risks

A fundamental responsibility of the Government is to protect the people of New Zealand. This includes protection from hazards including natural events, fire and other emergencies. New Zealand's dynamic physical environment exposes New Zealanders to a wide variety of hazards.

The risks faced by New Zealanders were highlighted by a series of emergency events that occurred over the 2007/08 financial year. A number of weather-related emergencies occurred in July 2007 with tornadoes striking Taranaki, a major storm affecting the North Island and floods occurring in Otago. An earthquake off the east coast of the North Island in December 2007 damaged buildings, particularly in Gisborne.

The Department, through the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management (MCDEM), leads and supports individuals and communities in reducing the risk of, managing and then recovering from civil defence emergencies that occur. Our overall aim is for communities to be more resilient to hazards and their risks.

The Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Act 2002 establishes the framework for the management of the risk posed by hazards. Under the CDEM Act, the National CDEM Strategy sets out the Government's vision for CDEM in New Zealand encapsulated as 'Resilient New Zealand – communities understanding and managing their hazards'.

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 informed of hazards, their consequences, and how to best 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.

Our progress

Over the last financial year, the Department focused its contribution on these intermediate outcomes through five key areas of work.

Strengthening the CDEM framework

The Department worked to ensure the continued development and improvement of the CDEM framework, which consists of the CDEM Act 2002, the National CDEM Strategy, the National CDEM Plan and the Guide to the Plan.

The National CDEM Strategy outlines the vision, values, principles and goals for CDEM in New Zealand. After public consultation, a revision of the Strategy came into force in March 2008 that will remain in effect for 10 years. The National CDEM Plan sets out how the Government will manage a national emergency and how it will support CDEM Groups in the management of local events. The Guide to the Plan assists and supports New Zealand agencies to achieve the Plan's purpose. In December 2007, 13 amended sections of the Guide were released to the sector. A broader review of the Guide is now underway. There will be a review of the contents of the Plan in early 2009.

A planned review of the CDEM Act 2002 was replaced with a more general review of the implementation of the CDEM framework, which is now underway. This review will draw on feedback from across the sector on its experiences in implementing the framework over recent years.

To further enhance the CDEM framework of New Zealand, the Department has developed a strategy to strengthen international relationships in the CDEM area. It seeks to provide better assistance to other nations, enhance the international assistance that would be provided to New Zealand in the event of a major emergency and learn from overseas practice. A two-year work programme has been developed to implement the strategy.

Developing the CDEM sector

The Department seeks to enhance the capability of the CDEM sector by assisting communities, local government, the private sector and central agencies to develop resilience against civil defence emergencies.

One means by which the Department assists capability development across the CDEM sector is through the support of the National Exercise Programme. The Department supported a large-scale exercise led by the Canterbury CDEM Group. Conducted in September 2007, Exercise Pandora involved all CDEM Groups in the South Island and was based on the scenario of an earthquake in the Southern Alps of magnitude 8.2.

Another major area of activity over the last year was Exercise Ruaumoko, the largest exercise ever to occur in New Zealand, with more than 1,500 participants from approximately 125 agencies involved. Testing national preparedness for a volcanic eruption in Auckland, the exercise began in November 2007 and the main event simulation occurred in March 2008. The Department worked in close cooperation with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Auckland CDEM Group to conduct the exercise.

The final report Exercise Ruaumoko: Final Exercise Report was released in September 2008. It concluded that the Exercise had met its objectives. It also noted that the National Crisis Management Centre (NCMC) performed well overall and that the NCMC showed the benefit of process improvements that were implemented over the previous three years in response to exercises and actual events.

MCDEM supports the development of CDEM sector capability through its regional and national offices. Extension programmes have been developed to assist CDEM Groups and cluster groups in educational and change management processes. During the year, MCDEM provided training courses for pivotal roles in emergency management (controller, public information manager and recovery manager). Work commenced on a competency framework, which aims to promote comprehensive and knowledge-based CDEM professional development. The Ministry has also released guidelines and technical standards to the CDEM sector to establish national consistency and provide guidance, where necessary.

To support the long-term development of capability across the CDEM sector, MCDEM is producing a monitoring and evaluation programme to assess compliance against the requirements of the CDEM Act and other key documents, monitor and evaluate capacity and capability of CDEM organisations, and measure progress towards the achievement of higher level outcomes. The development of an evaluation tool has commenced in consultation with stakeholders. The tool will initially be applicable to CDEM Groups and will then be rolled out to other agencies in the sector.

Developing CDEM initiatives for hazard risk reduction

Risk reduction is an important component of the management of hazards as it mitigates the potential effects on communities. The Department engages with the CDEM sector and government agencies, providing technical advice, support and information to assist coordinated risk reduction.

A high priority for MCDEM's work over the last year has been mitigating the tsunami risk faced by New Zealand. In consultation with the representatives of the CDEM sector on the Tsunami Working Group and the Tsunami Steering Group, MCDEM released a national standard for signage in tsunami hazard and evacuation zones, published the National Tsunami Advisory and Warning Plan, and conducted three regional seminars outlining work to date on the tsunami hazard. MCDEM also deployed an upgraded National Warning System on 20 December 2007, which has been used on six occasions since then.

To assist national and local decision-makers and emergency management stakeholders in understanding the range and nature of New Zealand's hazards, MCDEM coordinated the preparation of the National Hazardscape Report (NHR), which was launched on 20 September 2007. The NHR identified 17 hazards of national significance facing New Zealand and how they can best be managed.

Raising public awareness

MCDEM has maintained the two programmes aimed at enhancing public awareness of hazards and their risks – the schools' programme 'What's the Plan Stan?' and the public awareness programme 'Get Ready, Get Thru'.

In response to requests from teachers, 'What's the Plan Stan' has been extended with a story book and audio compact disc suitable for children aged 5 to 8 added in late July 2007. A Te Reo version of the resource, 'Kia Takatu', was developed in June 2007 and distributed to Māori language immersion and bilingual schools in July 2008.

Get Ready, Get Through

'Get Ready, Get Thru' is a high-profile publicity campaign in print, television and radio. The mass media campaign has been supported by information on the website, which has now been translated into eight different languages. The campaign aims to build awareness and preparedness among individuals, families, businesses and communities across New Zealand. A recent survey by Colmar Brunton determined that the campaign is creating a higher level of awareness of hazards and preparedness for emergencies amongst New Zealanders.

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Reviewing fire and rescue services

In August 2007, the Department reported on the public response to the discussion document New Fire Legislation – A framework for New Zealand's fire and rescue services and their funding. The analysis revealed a lack of consensus on the proposed framework, particularly around the future direction of rural fire management. For the rest of the year, officials and key stakeholders discussed a range of alternative measures to address the outstanding problem areas. Several options for a way forward are currently being considered.

Capability development

The Department continues to develop the capability of MCDEM to ensure it is best placed to support stakeholders both during business as usual and during emergencies. MCDEM capability was expanded significantly as a direct result of the Government's commitment of funding in the 2005 Budget to address shortcomings identified following the 2004 floods in the Manawatu region. The Department now has 45 full-time equivalents committed to CDEM (up from 28 two years earlier) and 93% of these positions were occupied as at July 2008. The increase in staff has:

  • provided additional resources in the regions and increased support to CDEM Groups and their professional development
  • enhanced capacity for operational planning and support services
  • provided more focused CDEM policy resources, supported by departmental policy resources.

Closer integration with other parts of the Department is enhancing the overall capability of MCDEM. The Department's 'one organisation' strategy is intended to facilitate the flow of knowledge and resources to areas of need, such as the ongoing need and ability to supplement resources within MCDEM during emergency events. The practical benefits of the approach were demonstrated during Exercise Ruaumoko, when staff from other areas of the Department helped operate the National Crisis Management Centre (NCMC).

MCDEM's capability to coordinate the response necessary during civil defence emergencies and to support CDEM Groups and local arrangements has been enhanced significantly through the strengthening of the capability to operate the NCMC. Increased staff numbers have added greater depth to the staffing of the NCMC in an emergency. Improved processes for the operation of the NCMC were employed successfully during Exercise Ruaumoko.

Moves are also underway to strengthen MCDEM's backup facilities, information management capabilities and communication systems. The 2007 Budget provided additional funding for the Department to undertake these improvements. A study has been undertaken on the system and user requirements for a virtual alternative emergency operations facility and a management information system to support information and decision-making within the NCMC. The business case for an Emergency Management Information System is under development.

Alongside the upgrade of the National Warning System, MCDEM entered into a partnership with the New Zealand Fire Service to provide an additional layer of redundancy in the 24/7 duty system for the receipt and dissemination of warnings.  On 9 April 2008, the Minister formally launched the new arrangements that saw the NZFS Northern Communications Centre (Auckland) have the capability, with the support of the MCDEM duty team, to issue national warnings and advisories to the recipients on the national warning list and release initial public information alerts to the media.

Priorities for the future

As noted in the Department's Statement of Intent 2008–11, the Department intends to continue addressing the risks New Zealanders face from hazards through five key strategic initiatives. These include:

  • the ongoing review of the implementation of the CDEM framework to identify any changes needed to ensure the work to enhance New Zealand's resilience is undertaken within an environment best geared to support these efforts
  • enhancement of stakeholder capability, which is a key focus of the Department's CDEM efforts and encompasses a wide range of different activities
  • increasing public awareness, understanding of and commitment to civil defence and emergency management through the continuing public education campaign
  • developing the tools and mechanisms to mitigate tsunami risk
  • enhancement of MCDEM capability, particularly in the management of civil defence emergencies with the implementation of the Emergency Management Information System and the ongoing development of staff training and procedures, including staff from other parts of the Department, as necessary, to provide a sound response to emergency events.

In addition, MCDEM will also be undertaking a programme of work to enhance internal processes and systems in order to improve support to its stakeholders.

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Safer Communities

Gambling is safe, fair, legal and honest

The effective regulation of gambling contributes directly to a safer community by ensuring that gambling is safe, fair, legal and honest. To achieve our gambling outcome, the following four intermediate outcomes, derived from the Gambling Act, applied in 2007/08:

  • Growth of gambling is controlled.
  • Responsible gambling is facilitated.
  • Vulnerable persons are protected.
  • Opportunities for crime are limited.

Gambling is a significant economic activity in New Zealand. After a decade of rapid growth, New Zealanders' total expenditure on major forms of gambling has remained relatively steady at around $2 billion per annum since 2004.

Gambling can be a harmless entertainment activity from which people derive personal enjoyment and which provides other positive social effects. The proceeds from non-commercial gambling provide significant funding for a wide variety of community purposes. If well directed, these funds can enhance empowerment, participation and the quality of life across all types of communities. Some people also argue that 'commercial' gambling can provide general economic benefits such as employment.

However, gambling also has adverse effects on many individuals, their families and their communities. The community has an interest in ensuring that the benefits of gambling outweigh its negative social and economic impacts. The potential for problem gambling and gambling-related crime means that consumers, and the wider community, are subject to significant risk unless there is effective regulation and enforcement.

The Department advises the Government on gambling policy and administers the Gambling Act 2003 and the Racing Act 2003. As the Gambling Act has now been in place for several years, the Department has shifted its focus from implementing the legislation to thinking more broadly about the role of gambling in New Zealand society. It is well positioned to maintain a strategic overview of how the policy settings and legislation are operating and is taking a lead role in shaping the future of gambling to ensure it operates in a way that is acceptable to all in our communities.

Gambling operators should be aware of the social impact of gambling and take steps to be socially responsible by enhancing the safety of their operations. The Department has a role in auditing, investigating and enforcing compliance of gambling activities with the Gambling Act. We also advise and educate operators to achieve voluntary compliance and high standards
of practice.

Our progress

Increasing our understanding of the role of gambling in New Zealand society

The Department's shift to a more strategic focus is supported by an evolving approach to our outcome measurement, policy development and regulatory strategies. During 2007/08, we refreshed our outcome of 'gambling activities are fair and lawful, and harm has been prevented or minimised' to 'gambling is safe, fair, legal and honest'. This was part of improving our outcomes framework to better reflect the range of impacts we are trying to achieve. Our intermediate outcomes were also reviewed and, for the 2008/09 year onwards, changed to:

  • The benefits of gambling outweigh the costs.
  • Communities are engaged, empowered and informed in relation to gambling.
  • Gambling is operated with integrity.
  • Gambling-related harm is prevented and minimised.
  • Gambling-related crime is prevented and minimised.

We have also progressed the following:

  • the revision of outcomes for gambling for the Statement of Intent 2008–11 to better reflect the full range of impacts we are trying to achieve (for example, including outcomes in relation to community empowerment and engagement). Draft outcome indicators were also developed and will be further refined as our information and performance management capability develops.
  • the development of a paper outlining the Department's strategic approach to gambling. This was released in June 2008 and has been well received by stakeholders. It will be updated regularly as the Department's strategy develops. A strategic approach to regulation confers major benefits including progress towards strategic goals, the ability to inform future policy, and harmonisation of operational and policy activities.
  • initiation of a project to gain an improved and systemic understanding of key aspects of the class 4 (non-casino gaming machine) environment. The purpose is to use this understanding to shape the strategy, policy and operational approach to the class 4 environment.

Reducing crime and criminality

During 2007, we adopted a broader strategic focus aimed at the prevention or reduction of crime and criminality associated with gambling venues. The Department has taken opportunities for collaboration among the gambling sector, local communities, government and local government to address issues such as gambling funding, harm prevention and minimisation, and crime prevention at a local and national level. We have continued to maintain a leadership role in the prevention and detection of illegal gambling as well as continuing to build our intelligence capability and networks to identify the risks and trends associated with crime. Work during 2007/08 has included:

  • working with an interagency working group to consider the broader implications of the Department's intelligence analysis of crime and criminality associated with casino venues. The group included representatives from the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Health, New Zealand Police, Commerce Commission and Ministry of Consumer Affairs.
  • continuing to closely monitor suspicious activity or potential illegal gambling operations, and working with other government enforcement agencies to ensure effective sharing of information on illegal gambling matters and, where appropriate, combining resources with other agencies in response.

Information and monitoring strategy

The Department already has a variety of information sources that provide important data to help us measure outcomes. During 2007/08, we continued to improve our knowledge of the distribution of grants to the community from gaming machine operators and to increase the level of our regular communication with stakeholders.

We have completed a consultation project with a wide range of stakeholders. The consultation identified a shortage of information relating to the allocation of gaming machine proceeds to authorised purposes and information relating to exclusion orders. As a result, the Department intends to collect data from operators for all applications for funding from gaming machine proceeds and establish information collection via an electronic portal.

Over the past four years, the Department has commissioned an annual survey of gaming machine operators to measure levels of satisfaction with the information services we provide. Our overall performance ratings continue to be very high with more than 90% of respondents indicating approval. This suggests that our targeted advice and information are helping stakeholders voluntarily comply with gambling requirements.

Working with others

We continue to work with key stakeholders in a number of areas, including other government agencies, for example the interagency group that considers crime and criminality associated with casino venues. We also maintain relationships with international regulators and the Department is represented on the steering group of the International Association of Gambling Regulators, and at the Chief Executives' Forum of Gambling Regulators, the Responsible Gambling Working Party (Australia/New Zealand) and the Australia/New Zealand National Standards Working Party. During 2007/08, the working party revised the Australian/New Zealand Gaming Machine National Standard.

The Department also continues to facilitate a number of forums and meetings with key stakeholders including regular gambling operator forums and a combined forum with the Ministry of Health to consider harm minimisation options.

The Department also maintains relationships with accredited testing labs, to ensure that the gambling equipment used in New Zealand meets the requirements set by the Act.

Supporting legislative and regulatory changes

A number of issues were identified in the course of implementing the Gambling Act 2003. As a result, the Department developed and provided advice on a substantial Gambling Amendment Bill, which includes several small policy amendments and many technical amendments to allow the Act to operate as originally intended. The Department has been involved in supporting the passage of the Gambling Amendment Bill through the House. The Bill has been considered by select committee and now awaits a second reading. The Department will continue to support the passage of the Bill in 2008/09.

The Department reviews the fees it charges to the sector every three to five years to ensure the fees are at a sufficient level to sustain our regulatory activity while offering value for money to the community. The first full review of fees since the introduction of the Gambling Act 2003 was undertaken in 2007/08. Cabinet approved the fee proposals in November 2007 and the new fees regulations came into effect on 1 February 2008.

Responding to the 2006/07 performance audit report about controls on non-casino gaming machines

The 2006/07 performance audit by the Office of the Auditor-General (OAG) Effectiveness of Controls on Non-casino Gaming Machines reported that, although the Department's strategic approach to gambling compliance was still emerging, the fundamental elements were in place. The OAG noted, however, that the systematic monitoring of compliance outcomes required some improvement.

In response to the performance audit, the Department developed and agreed an action plan to resolve the issues identified.

Two items have yet to be fully resolved:

  • ensuring gaming machine net proceeds are maximised. This is a core focus of the Department's regulatory activities across the board. In addition, a variety of specific activities are underway to address this issue. These include amendment and ongoing monitoring of the gaming machine 'Venue Costs Notice' and the preparation of guidelines to assist societies in remaining financially viable while continuing to maximise their returns to authorised purposes and comply with the Gambling Act in other respects.
  • resolving gaming machine licence renewal applications that have been outstanding for more than one calendar year[1] – actions underway to address this issue include ongoing tracking of 'old' applications and a review of the performance standards in this area.

[1] Where a licence renewal application is not resolved, the 'old' licence continues in force.


The key focus for the Department in the racing area of the gambling sector is the provision of policy advice and information on matters relating to race and sports betting and on the racing industry generally. The Department is also responsible for administering the Racing Act 2003.

During 2007/08, to support the Minister for Racing, we were responsible for the establishment and administration of the Racing Safety Development Fund, which offers $1 million in dollar-for-dollar support for projects that improve the safety, and therefore the quality, of racecourse facilities around New Zealand. The fund was established with decisions made on two funding rounds (January and May 2008).

Capability development

In 2007/08 we strengthened:

  • our strategic capability, for example by building the strategy and outcomes function within the Regulation and Compliance Branch and developing a business case to implement a more integrated technology system to support our work in the gambling area
  • our regulatory capability, for example by reviewing the strategy, skills and structure of the Gambling Compliance Group to achieve a unified approach to regulation and enforcement of casino and non-casino gambling
  • linkages within the Department, through collaboration between our Regulatory and Compliance Branch and our Local Government and Community Branch on local government, community engagement and funding issues
  • our relationships with other government agencies, for example by contributing to the Ministry of Justice review of anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing
  • our international relationships, for example by leading the work of the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering in relation to money laundering typologies in casinos.

Priorities for the future

The Department cannot achieve gambling outcomes in isolation. The outcomes demand shared action across government, communities and the gambling sector. They imply a comprehensive understanding of, and ability to influence, the way gambling takes place in our society and the overall impact it has.

The Department will continue to enhance its leadership of gambling regulation through activities such as:

  • working to enhance the social responsibility of gambling operators. The ultimate aim is for gambling operators to voluntarily adopt good practice that goes beyond the minimum requirements for compliance with the Act, for example, in the areas of harm prevention and minimisation, crime prevention, transparency and accountability
  • ensuring all stakeholders are informed of and increasingly 'own' the gambling issues that affect them and that the Department responds to stakeholder concerns. One mechanism for enhancing communication will be the first Department-led gambling conference, scheduled to be held in 2009. We are also exploring new technologies such as web-based collaborative tools to enhance stakeholder involvement in the Department's work
  • analysis of information available to the public about gambling, both from the Department and from other sources, to assess whether information is readily accessible, accurate, complete and up to date
  • enhancing our information management and performance/ outcomes measurement to provide strong, well evidenced indicators of the impact of our work. This includes:
  • exploring with other agencies, such as the Ministry of Justice, the feasibility of developing a framework for describing and measuring gambling-related crime and criminality
  • the proposed implementation of a more integrated gambling IT platform (IGP) to complement the newly implemented electronic monitoring network, with the objective of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of licensing and compliance activities, and supporting enhanced information-gathering, analysis and reporting
  • assessing the use and sustainability of gaming machine funding by collaborating with the gambling and community sectors to ensure gambling operators are aware of the needs of the communities they serve and that funds from gambling make a sustainable, long-term contribution to community needs
  • building networks within local communities utilising tools such as the newly developed Community Engagement Model. Although this is resource-intensive work, the Department is confident it will lead to greater public understanding of gambling issues and better communication between gambling operators and the community
  • maintaining the impetus of our recent intelligence-led and cross-agency initiatives in relation to reducing crime and criminality associated with gambling venues.

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Safer Communities

Harm from restricted and objectionable material has been minimised

As censorship issues are largely value-based, censorship regulation involves balancing the preservation of freedom of expression against the need to protect vulnerable people from objectionable and restricted material.

Objectionable publications, films and videos can be harmful on two fronts. They are intrinsically harmful because the production of the material may involve actual harm to the subjects – especially in the case of material depicting sexual abuse of children. In addition, the nature of the material means that viewing it may cause harm.

Ensuring that harm from restricted and objectionable material is minimised through effective regulation and enforcement contributes directly to a safer community.

The Department contributes to safer communities through the enforcement of the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993. The Censorship Unit investigates and prosecutes people suspected of making, distributing and possessing objectionable material. It also ensures that the publication industry complies with the Office of Film and Literature Classification's (OFLC) decisions on the classification of publications – proactively inspecting, responding to complaints and taking enforcement action where cooperation is not forthcoming.

The Department also provides administrative support to the Film and Literature Board of Review and monitors the performance of OFLC on behalf of the Minister of Internal Affairs.

To minimise harm, we have set ourselves four 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 focuses on helping the public understand what is meant by 'objectionable material' and how to protect vulnerable people, especially young people, from objectionable and restricted material. We work extensively with international law enforcement agencies to detect and prosecute those involved in trade and possession of objectionable material and to develop technological tools to assist in the detection of criminal activity on the Internet. We also work with the publication industry and other stakeholders such as Internet service providers to achieve a significant level of voluntary compliance and a safer environment for the public.

Our progress

Increasing public awareness

The Department's focus is to educate and inform the New Zealand public to improve their knowledge of censorship law and the risks of unrestricted and objectionable material. Information is available on the Department's website and is also provided directly to involved organisations, such as schools.

In 2007/08 we provided or made available the following:

  • The 'Interactive Internet Safety Presentations' DVD was sent out to 782 New Zealand secondary schools.
  • 'The mechanisms of importing and trading objectionable material via the Internet' DVD was made available, on request, to lawyers, judges and government agencies.
  • Three censorship leaflets were provided to the public and in particular DVD/video outlets and magazine outlets.
  • Censorship mousepads were made available to New Zealand schools.
  • Three censorship posters – Ratings and Classifications, Restricted Games, and Age
    Restricted Movies – were made available to the publication industry.
  • Numerous media releases about prosecutions for offences relating to images of child sexual abuse. Almost invariably these releases receive widespread media coverage. They carry key messages supporting public awareness, compliance and deterrence from offending.

Encouraging voluntary compliance

We 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 work, education, information and inspections programme is achieving its intended target of increasing voluntary compliance with censorship laws. Levels of compliance continue to improve within the publications industry suggesting that our current intervention mix of education and persuasion is appropriate. Our compliance rate remains at 91%, significantly exceeding the performance target of 85%. A total of 1,627 censorship inspections were completed for the year.


Each year, the Department responds to over 700 censorship complaints and/or undertakes inspections and investigations of publications, videos, films and Internet material. Our prosecutions continue to be largely successful. Forty-six prosecution files were prepared for court. Thirty-one prosecution cases were resolved in the courts and in every case the defendant was convicted (fifteen cases were still in the court process at year-end). In 10 cases the defendant received a term of imprisonment and in four cases a term of home detention.

Working with others

We work with other enforcement agencies in New Zealand and internationally to target potential offenders and develop new forensic and computer technologies.

Activities include:

  • attending and presenting at the 26th Meeting of the Interpol Specialist Group, held in Sydney, Australia
  • actively providing intelligence targets to like-minded enforcement agencies overseas and investigating intelligence targets received from such agencies
  • participating in joint operations with both the New Zealand Police and New Zealand Customs Service.

Harnessing technology

The Department's technology strategy is intended to mitigate the effects of Internet offending. We continue to invest in resources to ensure inspectors receive up-to-date training and have access to the latest software. The technology strategy included development of in-house techniques and software such as:

  • techniques for searching computer files
  • software that assists in the detection of offenders operating on the Internet
  • promoting the use of this software to enforcement agencies internationally.

The development, testing and refining of peer-to-peer investigative software to monitor Internet file-sharing applications has been completed. This software provides a means to target offenders, especially prolific offenders, more effectively, thus stopping the activity and bringing offenders to prosecution more quickly.

A 'website capturing tool' and a 'secure share-point portal' have also been developed. This software has been supplied to 19 countries to date.

Successful trials of a website blocking system have also been completed. A master filtering list has been established that includes over 7,000 objectionable child pornography websites. The system can process approximately four to five million requests per week without error. Setting up and establishing a connection with any Internet service provider (ISP) was found to be quick and effective with no cost to the ISP.

We will continue to run the website blocking system and will encourage all New Zealand ISPs to join.

Capability development

The Department's capability strategy in this area involves:

  • channelling most of our resources to the area of highest risk – currently the Internet, where 80% of offending (and the bulk of serious offending) occurs
  • continuing to develop technological solutions to enforcement challenges
  • continuing to train and develop staff and provide opportunities for networking with national and international law enforcement agencies.

Priorities for the future

The Department expects to take a leadership role in the training and development of our partner law enforcement agencies, in New Zealand and internationally, in relation to forensic computer analysis and the coordination of intelligence.

The Internet continues to be the primary vehicle for censorship offending. The challenge in the constantly evolving environment of the Internet is to keep up with increasingly sophisticated techniques used by criminals to avoid detection. Our focus remains on persons trading and downloading files from peer-to-peer applications. Software aimed at detecting offenders will continue to be developed and customised for individual enforcement agencies, providing a valuable contribution to the work of the international enforcement community.

We will continue to reinforce our 'education and persuasion' approach to achieve voluntary compliance within the publications industry.


Unsolicited commercial electronic messages, or spam, are a significant global problem. On average 20 spam messages per day are sent for every person on the planet – including those without computers – and spam constitutes up to 90% of inbound business email. Dealing with spam has high costs for businesses and individuals, for example the cost of spam filters and firewalls. Spam is also associated with criminal and harmful activity – including fraud, hacking, misleading advertising, identity theft, money laundering, pornography and the financing of terrorism. In order to ensure public and business confidence in our information and communications framework, as reflected in the Government's Digital Strategy, it is important to discourage and, where possible, eradicate spam.

During 2007/08, the Department established a new compliance unit to enable it to enforce the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007. The Act seeks to ensure a safe and secure e-commerce environment by prohibiting commercial spam and enabling legal action to be taken against New Zealand-based spammers. The Department's Anti-Spam Unit is also responsible for enhancing New Zealand's international reputation as an effective regulator and helping to maintain New Zealand's link to the international fight against e-crime.

The Anti-Spam Unit:

  • investigates complaints in relation to spam and enforces a civil penalty regime
  • delivers an education programme aimed at promoting responsible conduct by New Zealand businesses, Internet service providers and telecommunications carriers
  • cooperates with international enforcement agencies on spam and related e-crime initiatives.

Our progress

In addition to establishing the unit, key achievements in 2007/08 included:

  • publicising the Act with presentations in 19 locations throughout New Zealand, plus radio, television and print media coverage. Regular presentations were also given at Marketing Association New Zealand seminars throughout the year. The enforcement objective of voluntary compliance has been well received by the business and community/voluntary sectors.
  • development of a web-based system capable of receiving complaints about all spam messages, including those with sexual content, which was in place by 5 September 2007, when the Act came into effect. Local investigation of complaints started in October 2007. In the period to 30 June 2008 we received 3,928 complaints.
  • positive traditional and electronic media coverage of the exercising of the first search warrants under the Act in December 2007.
  • initiation of a successful major anti-spam investigation involving eight countries and 11 subjects, including persons rated as the number one pharmaceutical spammers in the world.
  • development of international connections, including:
  • formal bilateral contacts with the Federal Trade Commission (USA) and the Australian Communications and Media Authority, as well as ad hoc contacts with anti-spam entities, which enable us to cooperate with international enforcement agencies on spam and related e-crime initiatives.
  • participation in a number of multilateral anti-spam groups, including the Seoul/Melbourne anti-spam MOU group, the London Action Plan and an interest group led by the Queensland Police and the Nigerian Fraud Office. This participation underpins international collaboration in the development of tools and techniques to combat spam and cooperation on cross-border offending

Priorities for the future

Having set up the function we have work underway to integrate the anti-spam function into the Department's outcomes framework, to provide a clearer picture of its strategic link to government goals and report on the effectiveness of anti-spam work. This involves considering how anti-spam, together with other 'e-crime'-related functions such as censorship, fits into the broader picture of the Department's and other agencies' goals in relation to e-crime and creating a safe, trusted digital communications infrastructure and e-commerce environment.

We will be continuing to work with private information and communications technology companies and other enforcement agencies, both in New Zealand and internationally, using technological solutions to detect and track Internet offending, such as botnets, the delivery mechanism of choice for e-criminals.

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New Zealand's approach to identity is trusted and well led

As 'kaitiaki' of New Zealanders' core personal identity information, the Department plays a crucial role in ensuring this information remains safe and secure. The information we maintain enables the New Zealand public to apply for individual entitlements, facilitates economic activity, eases international travel and helps individuals to trace their lineage and establish their identity.

The Department's focus has been to ensure that the identity information we hold is secure and protected. In the past year, additional attention has been given to how the Department can promote good governance of personal identity information across the State sector. We have undertaken some initial thinking about how to encourage broader understanding of the government's overall interest in the management of personal identity information, suggesting that this revolves around balancing:

  • the protection of the privacy and safety of citizens and other individuals
  • facilitating fair and equitable access to rights, services and entitlements
  • the delivery of effective and efficient governance.

Over the 2008/09 year, the Department will continue to develop this thinking with other agencies.

The Department is actively promoting a more consistent and robust approach to identity across government. Our identity leadership role was expressed in the public arena with the Chief Executive presenting, "A framework for effective management of Identity Information" as a keynote address at the Managing Identity in New Zealand Conference in April 2008.

The Department's leadership role in personal identity information management within the State sector is crucial to ensuring that New Zealand's approach to identity is trusted and well led. Our outcome statement for 2008/09 was changed from 'Trusted records of New Zealand identity' to 'New Zealand's approach to identity is trusted and well led', to reflect the notion that our responsibilities in relation to personal identity information go beyond record-keeping. We demonstrate this through our custodianship of the Evidence of Identity Standard, our leadership roles in the Identity Assurance Framework and the Cross-Government Biometrics Group, our collaboration with partner agencies to create the Identity Verification Service and leadership of the 'Identity at the Border' workstream, part of the Border Sector Initiative. All of these initiatives are discussed in more detail below.

Our progress

Identity leadership in the State sector – promoting a consistent approach to identity information management across government

Evidence of Identity Standard

The Evidence of Identity (EOI) Standard was launched in August 2006 as part of a suite of authentication standards. The Department's ongoing custodianship of the EOI Standard is expected to lead to greater consistency in identity verification processes for New Zealanders dealing with government agencies. The Standard provides good practice guidance for government agencies seeking to establish the identity of a member of the public prior to their being able to seek access to a service such as obtaining a passport or citizenship.

During 2007/08, progress on the EOI Standard by the Department included:

  • development of an EOI Standard implementation 'checklist' to assist agencies to work through the EOI Standard
  • development of a risk assessment and identity evidence calculator tool to provide consistent results in risk assessment and process design
  • development of a web presence on the Public Sector Intranet
  • providing advice and assistance to enable the Standard's implementation across government agencies
  • piloting of the EOI Standard with three government agencies: Inland Revenue (Inland Revenue number issuance process), New Zealand Transport Agency (driver licence issuance process) and Department of Internal Affairs (citizenship by descent process). This has resulted in the implementation of new EOI processes at Inland Revenue and within the Department.

In addition to this, the EOI Standard will lead to the consistent and appropriate use of identity documents and, when used in conjunction with other good practices, will also better protect agencies and individuals against identity fraud.

Services delivered in 2007/08

  • 412,636 passports and other travel documents were issued.
  • 118,923 births, deaths, marriages and civil unions were registered.
  • 264,122 birth, death, marriage and civil union certificates and printouts were issued.
  • 27,624 applications for grant of citizenship to foreign nationals were recommended to the Minister.

Identity Assurance Framework

The Identity Assurance Framework (IAF) outlines an approach to be taken by government agencies when considering identity initiatives. Its purpose is to ensure that all components of identity information management and use are grounded in good practice and, where appropriate, all-of-government implications are considered. The outcomes sought through implementing the framework include improved customer service, reduction of the opportunity and impact of identity fraud and minimising duplicate investment in systems and processes to manage identity risk. Over the past year, work continued on the IAF with the completion of agency consultation. This led to a subsequent redrafting of the Framework, which we plan to distribute more widely to government agencies in 2008/09 so that agency work programmes and cross-agency work can be better informed by and aligned with IAF.

Cross-Government Biometrics Group

In 2007/08, the Department of Internal Affairs identified a need for more structured State sector leadership and coordination in the use of biometric technologies for the automated establishment, authentication and verification of identity. This was in recognition of the fast-evolving technology and the technical nature of biometrics, and built on work begun by the New Zealand Customs Service.

As a result, the Cross-Government Biometrics Group was established. The Department is chair of the Group and the inaugural meeting was held in November 2007. The Group, comprising senior officials from a range of agencies, aims to provide leadership across government, sharing information and learning from other agencies' experiences. The long-term goal is to avoid duplication of effort, encourage collaboration, enable fit-for-purpose use of biometric technologies and ensure the best use of public money in this area.

The Group has begun working on a number of workstreams including developing a community of practice and producing good practice guidance material on the use of biometric technologies.

Collaboration in the State sector

Identity Verification Service

Over the past year, the Department, in partnership with the State Services Commission, has further developed the Identity Verification Service (IVS). The IVS will provide the public with the means to verify their identity online and in real time when seeking services from a government agency. The IVS is likely to be progressively implemented from 2008/09 once development and piloting have been completed. During 2007/08, progress on the IVS included:

  • completion of proof of concept
  • wide public consultation with special interest and focus groups, including demonstration of how the IVS will work
  • commencement of a Request for Proposal process to select a vendor to build the IVS
  • work on the policy content of the Electronic (Identity Verification Service) Bill, to allow for the operation of the full service IVS
  • ongoing negotiation with agencies to determine a suitable service to undertake a pilot.

In 2009/10, a limited service of the IVS will be piloted within the public sector. Additional work will support the roll-out of the full service, including planning for organisational structure, IT infrastructure and preparation of associated legislative requirements.

Border Sector Initiative

In 2007/08, the Department was involved in the development of the first collaborative strategy for the border sector. Together, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, New Zealand Customs Service, Department of Labour, Ministry of Transport, New Zealand Food Safety Authority and Department of Internal Affairs are collaborating to create a more integrated and effective border management system for New Zealand. In the past year, the strategy and long-term goals of the sector have been established, a work programme has been created, governance arrangements have been put in place and chief executives have collectively committed to resourcing the work.

There are four streams of work underway, with each stream bringing together two or more border agencies. These four workstreams are working to improve facilitation of legitimate trade and travel, management of border risks and protection of our borders as risks change.

Our role as the chair of the 'Identity at the Border' workstream will provide for consistent and fit-for-purpose identity-related systems and processes for border transactions.

Customer satisfaction

The June 2008 customer satisfaction survey report showed:

  • 85% of customers felt that they could trust us to keep their personal details secure and confidential
  • 87% of customers are pleased with the overall service they received
  • 90% of customers felt that forms are easy to understand and complete
  • 91% of customers felt that finding information about services is easy.

Redeveloping the New Zealand passport

With visa waiver access to over 50 countries, the New Zealand passport continues to be one of the most highly regarded travel documents in the world. To maintain this reputation, the Department must ensure that the New Zealand passport is a secure and reliable document. Work began on the Passport Redevelopment Programme in 2006/07. This Programme will replace ageing technology and implement new and robust systems and processes to handle the progressive increase in passport application volumes resulting from the April 2005 move to a five-year passport. As a result there will be:

  • a new passport with new artwork and further security features
  • new technology to personalise the book
  • a new computer system to process applications
  • simpler, tighter and more efficient processes that include more checks (e.g. security, identity and entitlement), as well as consistent application of these checks.

In 2007/08, the Department completed several major aspects of the programme including mapping and documentation for all future business processes, as well as rules for the new passport application process. In addition, a business case for the application processing was completed, and a vendor for the new system was chosen following an extensive vendor evaluation process. A contract was signed with the vendor early in the 2008/09 financial year.

The proposed printing equipment for passports was trialled on a set of 5,000 passports. Ministerial agreement was received for the new artwork, which will be transformed into security printing purposes for the passport in 2008/09.

Improving the efficiency of the citizenship application process

Legislative changes in 2005 increased the residence requirements for a Grant of New Zealand Citizenship from three to five years. A consequence of this change was a sudden increase in applications for a Citizenship by Grant before the new legislation came into effect. Due to this increased demand for the grant of citizenship, processing times increased.

In 2007/08, we focused on reducing processing times. The average processing time for an application from the time of receipt of a completed application to the recommendation going to the Minister has been reduced from eight to six months. In 2008/09 this turnaround time will be reduced to four months.

It is predicted that over the next year, demand for the grant of citizenship will remain lower than normal as the legislation impacts potential applicants and this is likely to continue until 2010. Until then, the citizenship team will undertake additional projects to further achieve process efficiencies.

Calculating citizenship

Work to increase efficiencies in the citizenship process led to the development of a new Citizenship by Grant calculator for applicants. The new Citizenship Online Calculation Tool provides prospective citizens with a chance to assess their eligibility for Citizenship by Grant before submitting an application. The tool is a short questionnaire and should take users about 10-15 minutes to complete. A report is produced at the end of the questionnaire telling users whether the various requirements for citizenship have been clearly met.

Over time, it is envisaged that the tool will reduce the number of applications likely to be rejected. Currently, most withdrawals of applications for citizenship occur when applicants are advised by the Citizenship Office that they do not meet requirements. With applicants able to make a more informed decision about their application, there will be increased efficiencies gained in the processing of applications and fewer withdrawals after initial processing.

Developing online services

The Department has enabled Funeral Directors to carry out death registration processes online for some time. In 2006/07, a programme of work commenced to allow for the online notification of births. The online birth notification service is designed to increase efficiency, improve data quality and enable speedier lodgement of birth notification information by District Health Boards (DHBs). In February 2008, this service was officially implemented and work is underway to assist DHBs in taking up the service. Uptake with DHBs and midwives has been, and will remain, gradual as they upgrade their IT systems to allow for the electronic submission of birth information.

The Department has also initiated the Marriages/Civil Union Online Service Project to enable on-line notification and subsequent management of marriages/civil unions. Progress on this project will be contingent on the implementation of the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Amendment Act in January 2009.

Data Validation Service

The Data Validation Service (DVS) is a simple, secure web browser-based service that enables information on a document issued by the Department of Internal Affairs (such as a birth certificate) to be validated against the data in the Department's system. It is designed to support government agencies working with customers who are required to present our documents as part of proof of their identity or entitlement to a service. The use of the DVS, in conjunction with other good practices will reduce the opportunities for certain kinds of identity fraud to occur.

Development work on the DVS will be completed in early 2008/09. Over the remainder of the year, it will be piloted by the Ministry of Social Development. Following the pilot, the Department intends to roll out the DVS to other government agencies.

Capability development

Capability maintenance and development are critical to ensure we deliver high-quality service to our customers. In the last year we have undertaken a range of initiatives including:

  • progressively replacing paper-based manuals and providing a single source of well managed information that can be used in training, day-to-day production and as a basis for continuous quality improvement initiatives. In 2007/08, life event content (largely for Births, Deaths and Marriages) was launched online. In September 2008, citizenship content will be released and passports content is being developed and aligned with the Passport Redevelopment Programme.
  • increasing the uptake of New Zealand Qualifications Authority certificates in the areas of business administration, contact centre operations and client/customer services. This training and development will increase the capability and knowledge of our staff in all areas.

We have also contributed to the capability of other organisations' understanding of identity issues particularly through:

  • work with the Vanuatu Government on redeveloping their legislation and passport system
  • our involvement in the international Five Nations Groups for Passports and Citizenship
  • leadership of the EOI Standard, the Cross Government Biometrics Group and the Identity Assurance Framework.

Working with other agencies also contributes to our own capability development.

Decorative birth certificates

From September 2008, decorative birth certificates became available alongside the current standard certificate. Previous decorative birth certificates were issued in New Zealand in 2000 to celebrate the millennium and, though they were only available for that year, they proved to be hugely popular. This supplied the impetus to provide decorative birth certificates on a permanent basis. Completion of design work, public consultation and implementation planning was completed over the past year in preparation for the roll-out in September 2008.

All decorative birth certificates will be bilingual – in English and Te Reo – and will have the same fee as a standard birth certificate. In addition, there will be a package available with a standard and a decorative certificate for a reduced price. There are two designs available, 'Forest' and 'Beach', which are shown below.

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Priorities for the future

There are a number of challenges and opportunities ahead, as set out in the Statement of Intent 2008–11, which determine our priorities for the future. Over the next three years, the Department will:

  • continue the Passport Redevelopment Programme to replace ageing technology and implement a new passport system. This will maintain the reputation of the New Zealand passport as a world-class document of identity and ensure continued facilitation of cross-border travel and overseas trade relations.
  • implement an Identity Verification Service so people can use the Internet as a more convenient way to verify their identity to government agencies.
  • implement a Data Validation Service, a web browser-based service that will allow other government agencies to validate data on individual identity documents held by the Department.
  • lead the review, promotion and implementation of the Evidence of Identity Standard across government.
  • provide leadership and advice in identity information management across government and internationally. This will include the implementation of the Identity Assurance Framework, chairing the 'Identity at the Border' workstream, providing cross- government leadership in the use of biometric technologies for identity processes and assisting the Vanuatu Government in implementing machine-readable passports by 2010.
  • continue to moderate historic death data against birth records. This project flags a relevant birth record in a way that makes it clear whether the individual named in the record is deceased or not.
  • implement the necessary changes required from the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Amendment Act enacted in July 2008. This includes providing access to historic birth records online and implementing new safeguards in relation to access to the Births, Deaths and Marriages registers.

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Executive Government is well supported

'Good government' depends on the effective functioning of Executive Government processes. The Department provides the Executive with the environment and support to carry out its duties. Executive support services include staffing, transportation, media, information and communications technology, housing and logistical support. The Department also undertakes a range of administrative services for the Executive, such as publishing the New Zealand Gazette, managing the Congratulatory Message Service and providing translation and authentication services. In addition, the Department supports the Executive with commissions of inquiry and other ad hoc bodies, arranges official visits to New Zealand by representatives of foreign governments, and manages ceremonial and commemorative events for government.

Our intermediate outcomes are ensuring:

  • the range of services and processes needed to be effective is available to the Executive, both inside and outside Parliament
  • guest-of-Government visits help build international relations
  • ceremonial events help celebrate and develop an understanding of New Zealand culture and heritage.

Our progress

Support to the Executive

Improve the use of information and communications technology

Over the past year, the Department continued to work with the Parliamentary Service and other campus agencies to improve the cost-effective delivery of information and communications technology (ICT) services across the parliamentary campus. A result of this work is our plan to introduce joint service delivery with the Parliamentary Service. This will minimise the impact of change for users who move between the parliamentary and ministerial networks and improve our capacity to meet future demand, particularly during any future change of Executive. We expect to issue a combined tender for joint ICT service with the Parliamentary Service in late 2008 and begin implementation during the 2008/09 financial year.

We have continued the development of our infrastructure, which will lead to the implementation of modern technology in ministerial offices that is compatible with the other agencies operating on the parliamentary campus. The 2007/08 financial year was spent in technical work to enable the introduction of new systems in 2008/09.

Align the VIP transport fleet with Govt3 initiatives

Based on the recommendations of a Govt3 review conducted by the Ministry of Transport in 2006, a tender for vehicles for the VIP Transport Service chauffeur fleet was issued in September 2007, which required vehicles to meet mandatory requirements for fuel consumption, emissions, safety and fit-for-use criteria. A contract for new vehicles was signed in December 2007 and 13 new vehicles were in operation by June 2008. Methodologies for reporting on fleet fuel usage/kilometres travelled and whole-of-life costs of VIP transport fleet vehicles have also been developed.

Review procedures for official information

This initiative will improve document handling and address security issues for ministerial records and will see the implementation of a document management system in all ministerial offices. The system will facilitate the efficient handling of documents and ensure that documents identified as being official records are managed appropriately and that private papers can be managed separately. In 2007/08, we investigated the requirement for improved document handling and will continue to look at specific implementation in 2008/09.

Authentications Unit, New Zealand Gazette Office, Translation Service

A 'One face of Government' approach

The functions carried out by the New Zealand Gazette Office, Translation Service and Authentications Unit all interface with other government agencies and/or external clients in one way or another. At present, there is only limited formal provision for joint service delivery and the only means of electronic support is the use of email and the provision of Gazette notices through the Department's website.

A review of these services conducted in 2007/08 identified external agencies and customer groups involved in the Translation Service, Authentication Unit and New Zealand Gazette business processes. It documented processes that could be improved and the requirements of these improved processes. The report established that a number of projects are required to progress the desired improvements. Substantial investigation as to the feasibility and cost-effectiveness was required for some of these projects. Recommendations relating to low-cost improvements and effort were identified and actioned immediately. The remaining recommendations were prioritised and incorporated into an action plan with key milestones, the majority of which are scheduled for completion in 2008/09.

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Sir Edmund Hillary 1919–2008

The Visits and Ceremonial Office was the lead agency for the organisation of the State Funeral for the late Sir Edmund Hillary on 22 January 2008, which was the biggest arranged since the State Funeral for Sir Keith Holyoake in 1984. The event involved close collaboration between state, local and private organisations and was received positively by the family, media and public.

Representatives from around the world who attended the State Funeral came from the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, Nepal, Russia and Tonga, as well as diplomatic missions to New Zealand based in Wellington.

Prime Minister Helen Clark stated that "the legendary mountaineer, adventurer, and philanthropist is the best-known New Zealander ever to have lived. But most of all he was a quintessential Kiwi. He was ours – from his craggy appearance and laconic style to his directness and honesty. All New Zealanders will deeply mourn his passing".

The final ceremonial celebration of Sir Edmund Hillary's life occurred in Windsor Castle, England, on 2 April 2008, when a Service of Thanksgiving was held in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen. The Visits and Ceremonial Office assisted the Cabinet Office and the New Zealand High Commission London with arrangements for this.

Guest-of-Government visits and ceremonial events

Over the past year, the Department worked closely with other agencies, such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in the organisation of visits and ceremonial programmes to ensure they meet government objectives. During 2007/08, a total of 38 guest-of-Government visits and 20 commemorative events were arranged and supported, including the State Funeral Service for Sir Edmund Hillary. This collaboration will continue in 2008/09. We plan to conduct an independent review of Visits and Ceremonial Office (VCO) clients and stakeholders, which will enhance our service to and collaboration with these agencies.

Commissions of inquiry

During 2007/08, we continued to provide support to commissions of inquiry and other bodies for which we have responsibility. Bodies supported in 2007/08, include the Local Government Rates Inquiry, which reported to the Minister of Local Government in August 2007, and the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance, which was established in October 2007. We will continue to support such bodies in 2008/09, with the establishment of the Confidential Listening and Assistance Service in July 2008 and the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance due to report to the Governor-General by 31 March 2009.

Capability development

The programme of training and development to enhance staff capability in ministerial offices continues to show positive results, particularly with greater internal succession plans and staff mobility across separate offices. The senior private secretary mentoring programme continues to groom prospective senior private secretaries, as well as new appointments to the positions.

We will be working to further develop our links with other agencies and improve established relationships. Our close collaboration with other agencies on the parliamentary campus is reflected in the work done towards joint ICT services. An example of this is the regular meetings that have been established between the Chief Executives of the Department and the other four parliamentary agencies. We continue to work with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to strengthen linkages between visit programmes and the objectives of each visit.

We will continue our programme to enhance VIP transport driver service standards. In 2007/08, we provided training to familiarise chauffeurs with the new BMW vehicles, including closed circuit driver training and the undertaking of security drills. We also implemented a VIP Transport Service skills course for all chauffeurs, which has been endorsed by the service training network KiwiHost.

In addition, we:

  • revised the annual ministerial satisfaction survey so that it conforms to the Department's 'feedback/feed-forward' programme. This has enabled us to solicit more detailed information on which to base service improvement
  • implemented closer tracking of ICT services to the Executive against agreed performance levels
  • developed a methodology for tracking the whole-of-life costs of vehicles in the VIP transport fleet, and will continue to develop this methodology in 2008/09.

Priorities for the future

We will continue to deliver coordinated, accessible services across the parliamentary campus to strengthen the management of information and communications between and within the various agencies of government, and with constituencies and the public. Our focus includes an awareness of heightened security and business continuity concerns, as well as greater emphasis on environmental sustainability and energy efficiency.

We will continue to provide support services to enable the Executive to work effectively. This will include managing changes to the Executive following the 2008 General Election.

As set out in the Department's Statement of Intent 2008–11, our priorities for the next three years include:

  • improvements in the delivery of information and communications technology services to members of the Executive
  • modernisation of the VIP transport fleet including the introduction of more environmentally friendly vehicles and continuing to implement a whole-of-life costing model
  • enhancing the systems and processes for handling information for ministerial offices
  • continuing to enhance collaboration with other agencies in the organisation of visits and ceremonial programmes.

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Last updated: 20/10/2008