Department of Internal Affairs


The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA), or Te Tari Taiwhenua in te reo Māori, 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; and advising the government on a range of relevant policies and issues.

Department of Internal Affairs
Te Tari Taiwhenua
Agency overview
Preceding agency
JurisdictionNew Zealand
Headquarters45 Pipitea Street
Wellington 6011
Employees2,381 FTE staff
(30 June 2020)[1]
Annual budgetVote Internal Affairs
Total budget for 2019/20
Minister responsible
Agency executive
  • Paul James,
    Chief Executive and Secretary for Internal Affairs
    Secretary for Local Government
    Government Chief Digital Officer
Child agencies

Other services provided by the department include a translation service, publication of the New Zealand Gazette (the official government newspaper), a flag hire service, management of VIP visits to New Zealand, running the Lake Taupō 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.[3] Library and Archives stakeholders expressed serious concerns about the changes proposed.[4] On 1 February 2011, both were brought into the Department of Internal Affairs.[5]


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.[6]

Related organisationsEdit

The Department of Internal Affairs includes the Office of Ethnic Communities 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 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 Digital Officer (GCDO), 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.[7][8]

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 of Inquiry on Historic Abuse in State Care and in the Care of Faith-based Institutions
  • 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 7 portfolios and 6 ministers. In addition, the department also has responsibilities to the Minister of Finance in relation to community trusts and to the Minister of Foreign Affairs in relation to the Peace and Disarmament Education Trust and the Pacific Development Conservation Trust.[9]

Hon Jan Tinetti Lead Minister (Department of Internal Affairs)
Minister of Internal Affairs
Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern Minister Responsible for Ministerial Services
Hon Grant Robertson Minister for Racing
Hon Nanaia Mahuta Minister for Local Government
Hon Dr David Clark Minister for Digital Economy and Communications
Hon Priyanca Radhakrishnan Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector
Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities

List of Ministers of Internal AffairsEdit

Invitation to Present Commercial OpportunitiesEdit

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.[10]

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 alsoEdit


  • Bassett, Michael The Mother of All Departments (1997, Auckland University Press, Auckland) ISBN 1-86940-175-1


  1. ^ "FTE employees by department". Workforce data. Public Service Commission. 30 June 2020. Retrieved 9 December 2020.
  2. ^ "Total Appropriations for Each Vote". Budget 2019. The Treasury.
  3. ^ " - State sector changes to improve performance". Retrieved 25 November 2014.
  4. ^ "Underpinning democracy: the future of Archives New Zealand  : Press release". Retrieved 25 November 2014.
  5. ^ Guy, Nathan. "Minister welcomes State Sector legislation (press release)". New Zealand Government. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  6. ^ "History of the Department". The Department of Internal Affairs. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  7. ^ Strachan, Stuary. "Government archives". Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  8. ^ "Our history". National Library of New Zealand. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  9. ^ "About Internal Affairs - Ministers and governance - Our Ministers -". Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  10. ^ "Government explores private sector interest in online igovt services". Department of Internal Affairs. 27 August 2009. Retrieved 11 April 2012.

External linksEdit

  • Official website
  • Local Government Commission
  • Ministry of Civil Defence
  • Office of Ethnic Affairs