Department of Internal Affairs (New Zealand)

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Department of Internal Affairs
Te Tari Taiwhenua
Agency overview
Formed 1840
Preceding agency
Jurisdiction New Zealand
Headquarters 46 Waring Taylor St,
41°16′55″S 174°46′35″E / 41.281821°S 174.776408°E / -41.281821; 174.776408
Annual budget Vote Internal Affairs
Total budget for 2017/18
Minister responsible
Agency executive
  • Colin MacDonald,
    Chief Executive and Secretary for Internal Affairs
    Secretary for Local Government
    Government Chief Information Officer
Child agencies

The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA; Māori: Te Tari Taiwhenua) is the public service department of New Zealand charged with issuing passports; administering applications for citizenship and lottery grants; enforcing censorship and gambling laws; registering births, deaths, marriages and civil unions; supplying support services to Ministers of the Crown; and advising the government on a range of relevant policies and issues, part of a number of functions performed by Internal Affairs.

Other services provided by the Department include a translation service, publication of the New Zealand Gazette (the official newspaper of the New Zealand Government), a flag hire service, management of VIP visits to New Zealand, running the Lake Taupo harbourmaster's office (under a special agreement with the local iwi) and the administration of offshore islands.

During the late 1990s both the National Library of New Zealand and Archives New Zealand were separated from the Department along with the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. On 25 March 2010, the former Minister of State Services Tony Ryall announced that the Library and Archives would be merged into the Department.[2] Library and Archives stakeholders expressed serious concerns about the changes proposed.[3] On 1 February 2011, both were brought into the Department of Internal Affairs.[4]


The Department of Internal Affairs traces its roots back to the Colonial Secretary's Office, which from the time New Zealand became a British colony, in 1840, was responsible for almost all central Government duties. The Department was the first government department to be established in New Zealand, and it became the home for a diverse range of government functions providing services to New Zealanders and advice to Ministers of the Crown. Hence the title of Michael Bassett's 1997 history of the department: The Mother of All Departments.

Many of these responsibilities were lost as new departments and ministries were formed. The office's name was changed to the Department of Internal Affairs from 19 November 1907. Change has continued to the present day, as new roles and functions have come into the Department and others have been transferred elsewhere.[5]

Related organisations[edit]

The Department of Internal Affairs includes the Office of Ethnic Affairs, which provides information to ethnic communities and policy advice to the government and the Local Government Commission, which makes decisions on the structure and representation requirements of local government. The Department's present activities also include the implementation of recent dog control and local government legislation.

The Department has responsibility for supporting the community and voluntary sector through the Office for the Community and Voluntary Sector.

The Chief Executive of the Department of Internal Affairs is also the Government Chief Information Officer (GCIO), with responsibility for developing and overseeing the government's ICT (Information, Communications and Technology) strategy and providing strategic advice on related matters. The Department also includes the National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Māturanga o Aotearoa and Archives New Zealand, Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga. These two organisations were integrated into the Department on 1 February 2011

The Department provides secretariat support for several entities including:

  • The Gambling Commission
  • The Local Government Commission
  • Commissions of Inquiry and ad hoc bodies such as the Royal Commission on the Pike River Coal Mine tragedy and the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission.
  • The Library and Information Advisory Commission, Ngā Kaiwhakamārama i ngā Kohikohinga Kōrero
  • The Public Lending Right Advisory Group
  • The Guardians Kaitiaki of the Alexander Turnbull Library
  • The Archives Council
  • The Film and Literature Board of Review
  • The Confidential Listening and Assistance Service


The Department serves 6 portfolios, 7 ministers and a parliamentary under-secretary.[6]

Hon Tracey Martin Lead Minister (Department of Internal Affairs)
Minister of Internal Affairs
Rt Hon Winston Peters Minister for Racing
Hon Chris Hipkins Minister Responsible for Ministerial Services
Hon Nanaia Mahuta Minister for Local Government
Hon Jenny Salesa Minister for Ethnic Communities
Hon Peeni Henare Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector
Hon Meka Whaitiri Associate Minister of Local Government
Michael Wood Parliamentary Under-Secretary to the Minister for Ethnic Communities

List of Ministers of Internal Affairs[edit]

The following persons have served as the New Zealand Minister of Internal Affairs[7] since the Department of Internal Affairs replaced the Colonial Secretary's office from 19 November 1907.

Colour key
(for political parties)

 United NZ  
 NZ First  
 Mauri Pacific  
 United Future  

No. Name Portrait Term of Office Prime Minister
1 John Findlay John George Findlay.jpg 1907 1909 Ward
2 David Buddo David Buddo.jpg 1909 1912
3 George Warren Russell George Warren Russell.jpg 1912 1912 Mackenzie
4 Francis Bell[8] Francis Bell.jpg 1912 1914 Massey
(3) George Warren Russell George Warren Russell.jpg 1914 1919
5 John Bird Hine No image.png 1919 1920
6 George James Anderson No image.png 1920 1921
7 William Downie Stewart, Jr. William Downie Stewart.jpg 1921 1923
8 Richard Bollard R. F. Bollard MP.jpg 1923 1927
9 Māui Pōmare[9] MauiPomare1899.jpg 1927 1928
10 Philip De La Perrelle[10] Philip De La Perrelle.jpg 1928 1931 Ward
11 Adam Hamilton Adam Hamilton (1926).jpg 1931 1933
12 Alexander Young James Alexander Young.jpg 1933 1935
13 Bill Parry[11] Bill Parry.jpg 1935 1949 Savage
14 William Bodkin[12] William Bodkin, 1935.jpg 13 December 1949 26 November 1954 Holland
15 Sidney Walter Smith Sidney Walter Smith, 1950b.jpg 26 November 1954 12 December 1957
16 Bill Anderton Bill Anderton 1958.jpg 12 December 1957 12 December 1960 Nash
17 Leon Götz Leon Gotz.jpg 12 December 1960 1963 Holyoake
18 David Seath No image.png 1963 1972
19 Allan Highet EP-NZ Obits-H-Highet Allan-tn.jpg 1972 8 December 1972 Marshall
20 Henry May Henry May.jpg 25 November 1972 29 November 1975 Kirk
(19) Allan Highet EP-NZ Obits-H-Highet Allan-tn.jpg 1975 1984 Muldoon
21 Peter Tapsell PeterTapsellNZ.jpg 1984 1987 Lange
22 Michael Bassett Michael Bassett.jpg 1987 1990
23 Margaret Austin[13] Margaret Austin 2008.jpg 1990 1990
24 Graeme Lee No image.png 1990 1993 Bolger
25 Warren Cooper[14] Warren Cooper 1983.jpg 1993 1996
26 Peter Dunne Peter Dunne.jpg 1996 1996
27 Jack Elder No image.png 1996 1999
28 Mark Burton Mark Burton.jpg 1999 2000 Clark
29 George Hawkins George Hawkins.jpg 2000 2005
30 Rick Barker Rick Barker.jpg 2005 2008
31 Richard Worth Richard Worth, New Zealand MP.jpg 2008 2009 Key
32 Nathan Guy[15] Minister Nathan Guy - photo.jpg 2009 2011
33 Amy Adams[16] Amy Adams politician.jpg 2011 2012
34 Chris Tremain Chris Tremain.jpg 2012 2014
(26) Peter Dunne[17] Peter Dunne.jpg 2014 26 October 2017
35 Tracey Martin Tracey Martin, 2017.jpg 26 October 2017 present Ardern

Invitation to Present Commercial Opportunities[edit]

An invitation to present commercial opportunities (IPCO) is a process designed by the department to invite the private sector to present ideas for commercial relationships with government in relation to services already built/created by the government agency. The commercial relationships can include a public-private partnership or other arrangement between the private sector and the government to further develop, fund, innovate, distribute, and ensure uptake and use of the services.[18]

An IPCO is issued where a government is seeking options that provide it access to private sector specialised expertise, innovative ideas, and funding and the sharing of risk. Extending the reach of the services, while building on the benefits of established branding and related market penetration are also important.

An IPCO is not a procurement process for goods or services, and it does not signal whether any final decision has been made on any future procurement process or any other action will be taken by government. It is intended to enable government to gauge whether there are organisations interested in, and what options are available for, public-private partnerships or other commercial arrangements to use and/or further develop, fund, innovate, distribute, and ensure uptake and use of a government agency’s services by the public, government agencies and the private sector.

The IPCO process was developed in August 2009 to assist with collecting information from the private sector to use in advising government on future development and funding options for particular services. The IPCO has been used for two electronic identity services the New Zealand Government has built for government use to provide identity dependent services online. The two services are called the igovt logon service and the igovt identity verification service (igovt services). Government directed the Department of Internal Affairs to invite the market to provide written responses about whether private sector organisations were interested in:

  • using the igovt services if available to them, and
  • entering into public-private partnerships or other arrangements for the further development, funding, innovation, distribution, and ensuring uptake and use of the igovt services.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "Total Appropriations for Each Vote". 2017 Budget. The Treasury. 
  2. ^ " - State sector changes to improve performance". Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  3. ^ "Underpinning democracy: the future of Archives New Zealand : Press release". Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  4. ^ Guy, Nathan. "Minister welcomes State Sector legislation (press release)". New Zealand Government. Retrieved 30 May 2014. 
  5. ^ "History of the Department". The Department of Internal Affairs. Retrieved 10 March 2015. 
  6. ^ "Ministerial List for Announcement on 6 October 2014" (PDF). Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  7. ^ "Ministries, etc". Retrieved 2013-02-04. 
  8. ^ "THE NEW ZEALAND OFFICIAL YEAR-BOOK, 1913". Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  9. ^ Butterworth, Graham (2012-10-30), "Pomare, Maui Wiremu Piti Naera", Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, Te Ara, retrieved 2014-01-30, [...] in 1928 [he] served temporarily as minister of internal affairs. 
  10. ^ Bassett, Michael (1997). The Mother of All Departments: The History of the Department of Internal Affairs. Auckland University Press. p. 85. ISBN 9781869401757. Retrieved 2014-02-03. [...] in the National Coalition government [... a] dour Southland farmer, Adam Hamilton, was minister of Internal Affairs until January 1933 [...] 
  11. ^ Gustafson, Barry (2012-10-30). "Parry, William Edward". Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Retrieved 2014-02-04. Parry [...] was an automatic choice for Savage's first cabinet in 1935, and served as minister of internal affairs until 1949 [...]. 
  12. ^ Brooking, Tom (2013-06-05). "Bodkin, William Alexander". Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Retrieved 2014-02-04. When National won the treasury benches in 1949, he served as minister of internal affairs [...] 
  13. ^ Bassett, Michael (1997). The Mother of All Departments: The History of the Department of Internal Affairs. Auckland University Press. p. 194. ISBN 9781869401757. Retrieved 2014-01-30. Margaret Austin [...] succeeded [Michael Bassett] as Minister of Internal Affairs in February 1990 [...] 
  14. ^ Bassett, Michael (1997). The Mother of All Departments: The History of the Department of Internal Affairs. Auckland University Press. p. 270. ISBN 9781869401757. Retrieved 2014-01-31. After [Warren] Cooper's election to the [Queenstown] mayoralty [in October 1995] Bolger announced that he expected him to stand down as Minister of Internal Affairs in the New Year. Reluctantly, Cooper obliged. 
  15. ^ "Nathan Guy appointed as a Minister". 2009-06-15. Retrieved 2014-02-04. National's senior whip Nathan Guy has been appointed as Internal Affairs Minister to replace Richard Worth, Prime Minister John Key said today. 
  16. ^ "Key brings new faces to front bench". Radio New Zealand. 2011-12-12. Retrieved 2014-02-03. [...A]fter a Cabinet reshuffle announced by Prime Minister John Key [... t]here are four new ministers in the lineup. Selwyn MP and former Finance select committee chairperson, Amy Adams, is ranked 20 and is inside Cabinet. She will be Minister of Internal Affairs and Minister for Communications and Information Technology. 
  17. ^ "PM prepared to deal with NZ First". Radio New Zealand News. 2014-01-21. Retrieved 2014-01-30. The Prime Minister [...] reinstated Peter Dunne as a minister. [...] Peter Dunne will be the Minister of Internal Affairs, Associate Health Minister and Associate Minister of Conservation outside of Cabinet. [...] The changes take effect from 28 January. 
  18. ^ "Government explores private sector interest in online igovt services". Department of Internal Affairs. 27 August 2009. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 

External links[edit]