The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


About us › Our Organisation › The Department's role in Local Government

The Department of Internal Affairs leads the government's relationship with local government in New Zealand by providing information and services relating to:

The Department reports to the Minister of Local Government. See our Briefings for the Incoming Minister of Local Government

Auckland Governance

  • Royal Commission on Auckland Governance (decommsioned)
    The Department provides administrative support to all Commissions of Inquiry and Royal Commissions. The Royal Commission on Auckland Governance's terms of reference were approved by Order in Council on 30 October 2007. The Commission was charged with reporting to His Excellency the Governor-General by 1 December 2008.
  • The Department was the lead agency in Government’s legislative response to the report of the Royal Commission. See Local Government Policy.
  • Monitoring and evaluating the Auckland governance reforms
    The following two reports provide a framework for the Department of Internal Affairs and other stakeholders to undertake ongoing evaluation and monitoring of the Auckland governance reform process and its outcomes. They were developed by the Department of Internal Affairs and Martin, Jenkins and Associates in 2010.
  • The Auckland Transition Agency (decommissioned)
    The agency established by Government to amalgamate the councils of the Auckland Region into the new Auckland Council by October 2010.


  • Dog Control
    Background information about the Department's role in the administration of Dog Control law in New Zealand, featuring links to legislation and public discussion documents.

Lake Taupō Harbourmaster

Harbourmaster's Office at Lake Taupo is administered by the Department's Local Government Operations team. It is the only harbourmaster's office in the country administered by a Government Department – all others are administered by local authorities. The Department has held this role since 1926 when the bed of Lake Taupo was vested in the Crown. The Harbourmaster's Office looks after all the Crown-owned berthing and launching facilities around Lake Taupō, provides mooring sites, commercial and rental licences, enforces governing regulations and manages the Lake Taupō Landing Reserve (under delegation from the Minister of Conservation).

Local Elections

  • Local Elections Information about the Department's role in local authority and health board elections.
  • STV Information on the Single Transferable Vote electoral system, what it is, when and how it is used in New Zealand, and the option for local authorities to adopt STV for local government elections.

    Other information on this website related to local elections includes:
    • Local Authority Election Satistics (for 2022, 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007, 2004 and 2001) Report of the election statistics for territorial authorities (district and city councils), regional councils, district health boards and licensing trusts.
    • Local Authority Candidates Survey (for 2001, 2004 and 2007) Results of a survey of local authority election candidates in the October 2007 elections. The survey includes those standing for community boards, licensing trusts, district and city councils (including mayoralty), regional councils, and district health boards.

Local Government Commission

  • The Local Government Commission is an independent statutory body administered by the Department, whose main role is to make decisions on the structure and representation requirements of local government in New Zealand.

Local Government Legislation

The Department administers the Local Government Act 2002 and its amendments, the Local Electoral Act 2001 and its amendments and a number of other local government-related Acts and Regulations listed on the Department's website at: Legislation we adminster.

Local Government Policy

Local Government Policy team provides policy advice to Ministers on: You can find out how the legislation came into being at Local Government Act Review (Historical - 2001) and see the Government's decision-making process at Local Government Act Cabinet Papers (Historical - 2001).

The Local Government Policy team works closely with other government departments that work with Local Government and provides all departments with strategic advice as required.

For a list of current and recent legislative and policy projects see: Local Government Policy

Offshore Islands

The Minister of Local Government acts as the territorial authority for a number of
offshore islands that are not included in the boundaries of an established local authority. Territorial authority responsibilities are administered by the Department’s Local Government Regulation and Practice Policy team.


  • Local Government Rates Inquiry (2007) The Local Government Rates Inquiry ran from November 2006 to July 2007. The Inquiry Panel forwarded its report to the Minister of Local Government on 3 August 2007. (Note: The Inquiries team in the Department's Policy, Regulation and Communities branch is responsible for establishing and providing advisory and administrative support to Royal Commissions and Commissions of Inquiry, with the assistance of the Department's corporate business services. Commissions themselves function independently.)

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