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Ministerial Services
Standards in public life

Ministerial Services

The Ministerial Services Unit of the Department of Internal Affairs provides a range of services that oil the wheels of government and help keep it working.

These services include administration, accounting, personnel, residential property management, computing services, media monitoring and research, and multi-media presentation work. The Unit is also responsible for employing all staff in ministerial offices.

It is supported by various other units of Internal Affairs that provide key services to executive government.

VIP Transport Services provides chauffeur-driven transport and related services for the Prime Minister, other Ministers, the Speaker, the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Opposition, and for former Prime Ministers and Governors-General.

The Visits and Ceremonial Office arranges ceremonial occasions such as Waitangi commemorations, state funerals, visits by foreign heads of State and Royal visits.

The Translation Service and New Zealand Gazette Unit provides translation of over 60 languages for Ministers, government departments and private individuals. The New Zealand Gazette Unit also publishes the weekly New Zealand Gazette, which deals with the official business of government.

Standards in public life

The Cabinet Manual contains guidelines on the public duty and private interests of Ministers and Parliamentary Under Secretaries. Identifying and managing potential or apparent conflicts of interest is an important aspect of being a Minister.

Ministers must ensure that no conflict exists or appears to exist between their public duty and their private interests. Conflicts of interest can arise because of the influence and power they wield – both in the individual performance of their portfolio responsibilities and as members of Cabinet. Ministers must conduct themselves at all times in the knowledge that their role is a public one; appearances and propriety can be as important as actual conflicts of interest in establishing what is acceptable behaviour.

To identify a Minister's personal interests that might potentially influence decision making, all Ministers and Parliamentary Under-Secretaries must lodge an annual declaration of things such as:

  • remunerated directorships or employment
  • substantial interest in a business enterprise or professional practice
  • ownership of shares or beneficial interest in a trust
  • ownership of property.

    In 2006 all MPs began to make the same type of annual declaration of interests outlined here for Ministers. The Office of the Clerk is responsible for the MPs register declaring interests, and at the outset it delegated this role to a former Ombudsman, Anand Satyanand. The prior register for Ministers and Parliamentary Under-Secretaries was maintained in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

    When, from time to time, conflicts arise between the public duty of Ministers and their private interests, the Cabinet Manual sets out procedures to manage those conflicts. There are also guidelines for approving ministerial travel overseas, and the relationship between Ministers and Public Service officials.

  • Updated 22 November 2005