The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Resource material › Corporate Publications › Part Three: Managing the Department

Capability Development

We aim to be a high-performing, trusted organisation working as one to maximise our outcome contribution for citizens, communities and government. Our capability development is designed to help us achieve this.

Improving the Business Services We Provide

To deliver results for government and the community we need to continually improve the services we provide. A number of key themes are being progressed across the Department.

Improving our policy capability

We will be continuing to invest in our policy capability and capacity to ensure we have the right people, systems and processes, and training to improve the quality of policy advice. During 2005/06 we provided staff with Intranet-based policy process guidelines and tools. This information is being kept up to date and we envisage commencing a staff training programme during 2006/07 to support this.

Maximising the benefits from technology

Technology is transforming how we provide advice and services and we are committed to capturing the benefits of this change. Electronic monitoring of gaming machines, the new e-passport and providing Grants Online are just three examples. To support this work we are investing to enhance and upgrade our corporate IT applications and investing in related business applications, recruiting and developing specialist skills and improving our project and risk management systems.

New Zealanders interact with the Department in a number of ways: by mail, by phone, in person and, increasingly, through the Internet. For example, in a recent survey we found that customers tended to interact with Identity Services by mail (70%), telephone (51%) and by visiting offices (26%). One-third of customers used the website. To improve access to information and services, we will continue to improve the various websites for which we are responsible.

The Department maintains and administers the following websites:

Website Providing information on: Department of Internal Affairs information and services
The main Department website also includes specialist sections, for which the following URL addresses apply: Births, Deaths and Marriages information Citizenship information Passports information Gambling information Censorship information Community Development information New Zealand Gazette information Translation Service/Authentication information Office of Ethnic Affairs information and services
The main Office of Ethnic Affairs website includes specialist sections, for which the following URL addresses apply: Language Line – an interpreting service Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management information and services Urban Search and Rescue information for emergency sector groups Grants Online website – for online Community Organisation Grant scheme and Lottery Grant applications Identity services online transactions (currently death registrations and certificates only) Information about what councils do, to encourage public participation in local council processes Directory of central government agencies, to help local authorities make contact for community outcomes processes

The Department also maintains and administers the following public information websites:

Website Providing information on: CommunityNet Aotearoa – community information Public safety information about dogs Single transferable voting information website Civil defence public information for young people

In addition, the Department maintains websites for the following independent agencies:

Website Providing information on: Local Government Commission New Zealand Gambling Commission Confidential Forum for Former In-Patients of Psychiatric Hospitals Urban Search and Rescue information for emergency sector groups Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct Joint Working Group on Concerns of Viet Nam Veterans Ministerial Review into Allegations of Abuse at the Regular Force Cadet School

Working cooperatively with others

Development goals for the state services

Overall Goal:

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

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

Development Goals:

  1. Employer of choice: Ensure the State Services is an employer of choice attractive to high achievers with a commitment to service.
  2. Excellent state servants: Develop a strong culture of constant learning in the pursuit of excellence.
  3. Networked state services: Use technology to transform the provision of services for New Zealanders.
  4. Coordinated state agencies: Ensure the total contribution of government agencies is greater than the sum of its parts.
  5. Accessible state services: Enhance access, responsiveness and effectiveness, and improve New Zealanders' experience of State Services.
  6. Trusted state services: Strengthen trust in the State Services, and reinforce the spirit of service.

We will continue to work jointly with others to enhance access to services and maximise our contribution to outcomes for Government. The Department is participating in a State Services Commission pilot programme in Rotorua to provide coordinated and accessible State Services. As outlined in Part Two of this document we are working with a wide range of agencies, where we are contributing to shared outcomes. The Chief Executive for the Department is also chairing a sub-committee of Chief Executives who are working to support three of the Development Goals for the State Services – goals three to five.

Providing responsive services

One of the features of New Zealand is our increasingly diverse population. We need to ensure we are responsive to the diverse communities we serve and supportive of the various population-based government strategies – reducing inequalities, effectiveness for Māori, Pacific people, positive ageing, ethnic responsiveness and the New Zealand Disability Strategy.

During 2005/06 we have reviewed our Effectiveness for Māori strategy looking out to 2009. The new plan comes into effect on 1 July 2006 and incorporates a range of initiatives, from those directly supporting achievement of outcomes (such as marae preparedness for civil defence emergencies) to capability development, with staff training in te reo and Treaty issues.

As the home of the Office of Ethnic Affairs, we aim to be modelling good practice in terms of ethnic responsiveness. The Department has been using Language Line, an interpreting service for clients, since April 2003. Our policy process Intranet site includes ethnic perspectives in several guidelines. To ensure that the Department is responsive to the needs of ethnic people we will be providing training on intercultural awareness for staff and will be monitoring the uptake of this training.

Managing Organisational Change

During 2005/06 we have undertaken work to enhance the capability and capacity of the Department, with funding gained through Budget 2005.

  • There has been a major exercise to identify how best to invest new additional resources to ensure the delivery of Vote Emergency Management work. As noted on page 24, recruitment of permanent staff is now underway.
  • With the Office of Ethnic Affairs, more dedicated resources have been provided in regional centres.
  • In the corporate area, we have invested to improve personnel capability and capacity, particularly to support the development of our IT infrastructure. During 2005/06, as a result of reviews, we have introduced new organisational structures for information and technology (I&T) and facilities management.
  • Following a review of the Visits and Ceremonial Office, capability is being enhanced, with funding support through Budget 2006.

For 2006/07 the focus will be on implementing and consolidating these changes and ensuring they deliver the benefits envisaged.

We are also commencing development of a medium-term property strategy that supports our vision of “one organisation” and will provide us with accommodation options to meet our current and anticipated business needs. This is an opportunity to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our property portfolio and make sure it is meeting the changing needs of the organisation.

Developing Our People

Our success depends on maintaining and developing a talented workforce and making full use of their experience and expertise. Our People Strategy focuses on:

  • developing leaders
  • building our people capability
  • creating a high-performing, inclusive work environment.

Developing leaders

The Department will continue to invest time and resources to develop a pool of people with the leadership/management competencies required now and in the future.

In February 2005 we launched a development programme for all Departmental managers and team leaders with a target for 80% of managers and team leaders to complete the programme. It is designed to assist managers and team leaders to manage their own growth, and will equip them to develop their staff to contribute effectively. Feedback on the programme has been positive, with almost 100% of managers involved in the programme completing the course.

We are also developing a leadership and development framework to better target development initiatives for managers and prospective managers.

We will continue to hold a series of in-house leadership forums for senior managers, where invited guests speak on issues such as the role of the media and expectations of Ministers.

Building our people capability

Recruiting, retaining and developing the talented people we need is an ongoing challenge. During 2005/06 our overall turnover has been tracking at 17% (March 2006), which is slightly higher than the public sector average, but within an acceptable range given the existing labour market conditions. With the capability investment being made in the Department, we have been actively recruiting with reasonable success, despite a tight labour market. During 2005/06 we have reviewed our recruitment processes and established a new team, which will be actively promoting our employment brand and supporting business groups to meet their staff needs.

Work has commenced on developing a workforce-planning tool that will enable us to forecast capability and capacity requirements in both the medium and long term.

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

We will continue to provide learning and development opportunities for our staff. We will be working to implement a Department-wide training and development strategy and implementing this through individual development plans. The strategy identifies a coordinated approach to training and development across the Department.

We will continue to provide a comprehensive Department-wide induction process which supports our focus on developing “one organisation”.

Creating a high-performing, inclusive work environment

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

We have reviewed and agreed changes to our remuneration system to better enable us to retain competent staff. This will be implemented from 1 July 2007. We are also reviewing our performance management system and will be implementing changes to reinforce our focus on developing a high-performing organisation. During 2006/07 we will be implementing a pay and equity audit.

As part of being a good employer we continue to promote diversity and equal employment opportunities (EEO). Our Diversity/EEO Plan to 2010 aims to increase and support a diverse workforce so that we can meet the needs of the people we serve. We will be reviewing our EEO targets to be consistent with the outcome of the SSC review. We currently support five EEO network groups and they are in the process of developing initiatives for 2006/07.

The Department of Internal Affairs' Effectiveness for Māori strategy identifies as a priority building our staff capability in te reo, tikanga and Treaty of Waitangi relevant to job requirements. For 2006/07 we are also providing training in intercultural awareness to support our work with ethnic communities.

We will continue our investment in health and safety, with senior managers monitoring statistics on a quarterly basis. For the ACC's Workplace Safety Management Practices Programme, we are working to achieving tertiary status in March 2007.

Enhancing Our Information and Technology Capability

Information and technology (I&T) is integral to the Department's operations. We are in the process of implementing a new Information Systems Strategic Plan that will:

  • support the Department's “one organisation” ideal
  • take advantage of technology-based opportunities to improve business performance and services to stakeholders.

The Department has commenced a major work programme to achieve this. This involves significant investment to upgrade corporate technologies over the next two to three years and give Departmental staff access to enhanced systems. The corporate I&T group has been expanded to support the new systems. The initial focus is on providing common platforms and systems. Over the medium term the focus will shift towards training and change management, to ensure we capture the benefits of the new systems and promote a culture of information-sharing and knowledge management.

Managing For Outcomes

The Department has a strong commitment to managing for outcomes. Through a number of initiatives, we are making sure that staff understand the importance of managing for outcomes, and that our business processes are well integrated with this approach.

We will be looking to better integrate our planning processes and develop a clearer sense of strategic direction that recognises linkages across the Department and with other agencies.

During 2005/06 we have focused on getting better clarity for our intermediate outcomes and will use this to drive the development of evaluation work for 2006/07 and beyond. Developing evaluation plans will be a key focus for the next year. This will build on existing evaluation work under way as reported in Part Two of this document. As part of managing for outcomes our evaluation work will help us to better assess the effectiveness and efficiency of what we are doing over the medium term. This work will include trying to develop useful measures of cost-effectiveness.

Our monitoring process includes seeking feedback from our Ministers as part of a feed-back feed-forward exercise led by the Chief Executive. To develop a better understanding of the health of the organisation, we plan to undertake a staff climate survey in 2006/07. This will provide early warning of potential risks and can be used internally to help identify capability development priorities for the future.

Strengthening Project and Risk Management

The Department implements risk management policies and guidance material across the Department, which helps business groups identify and manage operational risks. All business areas report regularly to executive management on key areas of risk. Mitigation strategies and their effectiveness are reviewed regularly by executive management.

To strengthen risk management in the I&T area, where we are making a significant capital investment, we have established an I&T Governance Committee and I&T Project Office. The Office has a cross-Departmental role and will be supporting and advising business groups on standards and methodologies for best-practice I&T project management. The I&T Governance Committee, led by the Chief Executive, takes a cross-Department view and provides further assurance that risks and uncertainties arising in the strategic, project and operational areas of I&T are recognised and responded to in a timely and effective manner. In the medium term, we expect to extend use of the I&T standards and methodologies to other projects as appropriate.

Our Organisation

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

The Department is a diverse organisation with around 1,100 staff providing a range of services supporting citizens, communities and government.

We provide policy advice to our Ministers in the areas of local government, community and voluntary sector issues, ethnic affairs, civil defence and emergency management, gambling, racing, fire, identity and censorship. We also advise a number of other Ministers and Associate Ministers as the need arises. The Department administers around 80 Acts and Regulations. We monitor the performance of a range of Crown entities and have developed and implemented a Crown entity governance framework.

Organisational Structure

Organisational Structure

The Identity Services Group is the primary steward of information on personal identity and key life events. It registers birth, death, civil union and marriage details, issues passports and manages citizenship applications.

The Executive Government Support Group provides Ministers with a range of services that assist in the smooth operation of New Zealand's Executive Government and facilitates visits by guests of Government. The Group also provides a translation service that is available to Ministers and the general public, publishes the New Zealand Gazette, provides authentication of official documents and administers the Gambling Commission and commissions of inquiry when required.

The Local Government and Community Branch promotes the building of strong communities and supports the local government system by providing community advisory and local government interface services and information to the public, including administering CommunityNet Aotearoa. It administers lottery grants, Community Organisation Grants Schemes (COGS) and other grants that develop community capacity to address local issues. The Branch also provides policy advice on local government and community and voluntary sector issues, and administers an array of local government legislation.

The Regulation and Compliance Branch ensures that gaming is fair, honest and lawful, and upholds community standards of censorship. It licenses gambling activities, inspects and monitors gambling, and regulates the possession and supply of objectionable material and the public display of publications. It also provides administrative support for the Local Government Commission and is responsible for the Rates Rebates Scheme and the Department's local government regulatory responsibilities. The Branch is responsible for policy advice on gambling, racing, identity, CDEM, fire and censorship issues.

The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management (MCDEM) provides advice to the Government on emergency management and civil defence. It provides leadership through the development of an integrated, risk-based approach to civil defence and emergency management (CDEM) in New Zealand, including CDEM groups at local authority level.

The Office of Ethnic Affairs gives ethnic people a point of contact with the New Zealand Government, and advice and information on matters affecting their communities.

The Department of Internal Affairs provides a range of corporate services and support to the business groups, enabling them to excel in their areas of expertise. They are delivered from two business groups: the Office of the Chief Executive, which includes strategic development and planning, risk and audit, legal services and effectiveness for Māori; and the Business Services Branch, which includes finance, strategic human resources, strategic communications, information and technology, facilities management, and research and evaluation.

We deliver services from 17 locations throughout New Zealand, plus small offices in Sydney and London.

Staff Numbers by Business Group


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

Hon Rick Barker

Votes Internal Affairs; Emergency Management
  • Minister of Internal Affairs
  • Minister of Civil Defence
  • Minister Responsible for the Department of Internal Affairs
Crown entities
  • New Zealand Fire Service Commission
  • Office of Film and Literature Classification

Rt Hon Helen Clark

Vote Ministerial Services
  • Minister Responsible for Ministerial Services

Hon Mark Burton

Vote Local Government
  • Minister of Local Government

Hon Chris Carter

  • Minister for Ethnic Affairs

Hon Nanaia Mahuta

  • Associate Minister of Local Government

Hon Luamanuvao Winnie Laban

Vote Community and Voluntary Sector
  • Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector
Crown entity
  • Charities Commission

Rt Hon Winston Peters

Vote Racing
  • Minister for Racing

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

Legislation We Administer

As at 31 March 2006, the following is a list of legislation that we administer, classified by Vote.

Internal Affairs
  • Births, Deaths, and Marriages Registration Act 1995
  • Births, Deaths, and Marriages Registration (Fees) Regulations 1995
  • Births, Deaths, and Marriages Registration (Prescribed Information and Forms) Regulations 1995
  • Boxing and Wrestling Act 1981
  • Citizenship Act 1977
  • Citizenship Regulations 2002
  • Citizenship (Western Samoa) Act 1982
  • Civil Union (Prescribed Information, Fees, and Forms) Regulations 2005*
  • Civil Unions (Recognised Overseas Relationships) Regulations 2005*
  • Commercial Use of Royal Photographs Rules 1962
  • Commissions of Inquiry Act 1908
  • Commonwealth Games Symbol Protection Act 1974
  • Films, Videos, and Publications Classification (Fees) Regulations 1994*
  • Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Regulations 1994*
  • Fire Safety and Evacuation of Buildings Regulations 1992
  • Fire Service Act 1975
  • Fire Service Levy Order 1993
  • Forest and Rural Fires Act 1977
  • Forest and Rural Fires Regulations 2005
  • Gambling Act 2003
  • Gambling (Class 4 Banking) Regulations 2006
  • Gambling (Class 4 Net Proceeds) Regulations 2004
  • Gambling (Electronic Monitoring Fees) Regulations 2006
  • Gambling (Fees and Revocations) Regulations 2004
  • Gambling (Forms) Regulations 2004
  • Gambling (Harm Prevention and Minimisation) Regulations 2004
  • Gambling (Infringement Notices) Regulations 2004
  • Gambling (Licensed Promoters) Regulations 2005
  • Gambling (Problem Gambling Levy) Regulations 2004
  • Gambling (Prohibited Property) Regulations 2005
  • Human Assisted Reproductive Technology (Fees) Regulations 2005*
  • Marriage (Fees) Regulations 1995*
  • Marriage (Forms) Amendment Regulations 2005*
  • New Zealand Daylight Time Order 1990
  • New Zealand Fire Brigades Long Service and Good Conduct Medal (1976) (Royal Warrant)
  • Official Appointments and Documents Act 1919
  • Passports Act 1992
  • Passport (Fees) Regulations 1996
  • Queen's Fire Service Medal Regulations 1955
  • Royal Titles Act 1974
  • Royal Warrant (1955) (Queen's Fire Service Medal)
  • Rural Fire Districts Regulations 1980
  • Rural Fire Fighting Fund Regulations 1992
  • Seal of New Zealand Act 1977
  • Time Act 1974
Emergency Management
  • Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002
  • Civil Defence Emergency Management Regulations 2003
  • National Civil Defence Emergency Management Plan Order 2005
Local Government
  • Bylaws Act 1910
  • Bylaws Regulations 1968
  • Chatham Islands Council Act 1995
  • Counties Insurance Empowering Act 1941
  • Dog Control Act 1996
  • Dog Control (Prescribed Forms) Regulations 1996
  • Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987
  • Impounding Act 1955
  • Impounding Regulations 1981
  • Lake Taupo (Crown Facilities, Permits and Fees) Regulations 2004
  • Land Drainage Act 1908
  • Libraries and Mechanics' Institutes Act 1908
  • Litter Act 1979
  • Local Authorities (Members' Interests) Act 1968
  • Local Authority Reorganisation (Property Transfers) Act 1990
  • Local Electoral Act 2001
  • Local Electoral Regulations 2001
  • Local Government Act 1974
  • Local Government Act 2002
  • Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987
  • Local Government (Rating) Act 2002
  • Local Government (Watercare Services Limited) Order 2004
  • Local Legislation Acts 1926-1992
  • Municipal Insurance Act 1960
  • Public Authorities (Party Wall) Empowering Act 1919
  • Public Bodies Contracts Act 1959
  • Public Bodies Leases Act 1969
  • Rangitaiki Land Drainage Act 1956
  • Rates Rebate Act 1973
  • Rating (Fees) Regulations 1997
  • River Boards Act 1908
  • Waimakariri-Ashley Water Supply Act 1961
Community and Voluntary Sector
  • Charities Act 2005
  • Community Trusts Act 1999
  • Trustee Banks Restructuring Act Repeal Act 1999
  • Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Act 1965
  • Racing Act 2003
  • Racing (Harm Prevention and Minimisation) Regulations 2004

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