Kuputaka — Te kanorau me te whakaurunga, me ngā tapanga āniwaniwa he auau te whakamahingaGlossary — Diversity and inclusion, common rainbow terms
Kuputaka — Te OrowaruGlossary — Te Orowaru
Kuputaka — Ngā whakamārama mō te hanganga ā-pūnaha, hoanga hoki Glossary — System architecture and design
Kuputaka — Raraunga OhumahiGlossary — Workforce Data
This glossary of terms used in relation to the New Zealand public management system uses a mix of legal definition, conventional interpretation and additional description to provide an understandable meaning of the terms.
Autonomous Crown entity
One of the 3 types of statutory Crown entity (the other 2 are Crown agent and independent Crown entity). An autonomous Crown entity (ACE) is a body corporate named in Part 2 of Schedule 1 to the Crown Entities Act 2004. An ACE must ‘have regard to’ government policy that relates to its functions and objectives when directed by its responsible minister under section 104 of the Act.
Usually the governing body of a body corporate (company or Crown entity). The Public Service Act also provides for interdepartmental executive boards (see below).
Part of a larger organisation given a level of autonomy by the organisation’s chief executive or other decision-maker. It may have a separate ministerial portfolio/reporting relationship and/or separate branding (examples include Immigration New Zealand, Work and Income, Food Safety).
The central decision-making body of executive government, comprising ministers of the Crown, as determined by the prime minister.
An unofficial term for 3 Public Service departments: Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Public Service Commission, and the Treasury. Their roles and responsibilities extend to and directly affect other agencies across central government. They work together (with other system leaders as appropriate) to:
- provide system-level coordination, a clear focus and strong leadership
- support central government to deliver better outcomes for New Zealanders
- assist the Government to develop its overall strategy for central government, including advice on how to improve the system and manage significant issues.
Central government comprises the organisations with national level responsibilities, funding and/or governance arrangements (in contrast to local government).
The head of a Public Service agency, or the chief executive officer of a body corporate
In machinery of government terms, and for the purposes of the Public Finance Act 1989, the ‘Crown’ means the Sovereign and includes all ministers of the Crown, all Public Service agencies and all Non-Public Service departments. Because all departments are part of the same legal entity (the Crown), they cannot enter into legally binding contracts with each other.
Confusingly, Crown entities are established at arm’s length and therefore not part of the legal Crown.
One of the 3 types of statutory Crown entity (the others are autonomous Crown entity and independent Crown entity). A Crown agent is a body corporate named in Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the Crown Entities Act 2004. A Crown agent must ‘give effect to’ Government policy that relates to its functions and objectives when directed by its responsible minister under section 103 of the Act. Crown agents are included in the Public Service for the purposes of subparts 2 and 4 of part 1 of the Public Service Act 2020 regarding values and behaviours.
A generic term for a company established and owned or controlled by the Crown. More specifically, a Crown company will be one of a:
- state-owned enterprise
- mixed ownership model company
- Crown entity company
- Public Finance Act 1989 Schedule 4A company.
All Crown companies are also governed by the Companies Act 1993.
An agency that belongs in one of the 5 categories of Crown entities defined in the Crown Entities Act 2004:
- statutory entity
- Crown entity company
- Crown entity subsidiary
- school board of trustees
- tertiary education institution.
Every Crown entity is a body corporate that is legally separate from the Crown and operates at arm's-length from its responsible minister (or shareholding ministers in the case of Crown entity companies).
Crown entity company
One of the 5 categories of Crown entity and a form of Crown company. A Crown entity company is incorporated under the Companies Act 1993, is wholly owned by the Crown, and is named in Schedule 2 to the Crown Entities Act 2004.
Crown entity subsidiary
One of the 5 categories of Crown entity. A Crown entity subsidiary is a company incorporated under the Companies Act 1993 and is controlled in accordance with that Act by Crown entities. It is either a:
- subsidiary of another Crown entity
- multi-parent subsidiary of 2 or more Crown entities.
Crown-owned company (historic)
Prior to the enactment of the Crown Entities Act 2004 (CEA), the term referred to companies that were Crown entities (as distinct from state-owned enterprises). The CEA now defines Crown entity company as a category of Crown entity.
Crown Research Institute
A Crown entity company whose constitution states that it is a Crown Research Institute for the purposes of the Crown Research Institutes Act 1992. Its purpose under the Act is to undertake research and it must operate in accordance with the principles in section 5 in fulfilling that purpose.
An agency that is part of the Crown as defined in the Public Finance Act 1989. Departments (and other Public Service agencies), all ministers of the Crown and the Sovereign constitute the legal Crown. Most departments are Public Service agencies, though a few departments are not part of the Public Service.
Irrespective of whether a department is named as a ‘department’, ‘ministry’, ‘office’, or some other title, legally they are all departments.
A type of Public Service agency (see separate entry). It is an operationally autonomous agency with its own appropriate minister and its own chief executive appointed by the Public Service Commissioner, although legally it is part of the host department.
The prime minister, other ministers of the Crown and Parliamentary under-secretaries. Frequently used more broadly to refer to the ‘government’, ‘ministry’ or ‘government of the day’.
More broadly, the ‘Executive Branch of Government’ describes the individuals who technically make up the executive, as well as the variety of agencies, institutions and officers that comprise most of central government. Ministers are politically answerable for all of these in the House of Representatives.
The body constituted by the Letters Patent as the formal and responsible advisers to the Sovereign and the Governor-General. Consists of all ministers of the Crown, because ministers derive their power to advise the Sovereign and Governor-General from their membership of the Executive Council. Parliamentary under-secretaries are not members of the Executive Council.
Government reporting entity
As defined in section 2 of the Public Finance Act 1989, Government reporting entity means:
(a) the Sovereign in right of New Zealand
(b) the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the Government of New Zealand.
The main exclusions from this definition are:
- local government
- non-government organisations that ministers have an interest in, for example, making appointments.
House of Representatives
The elected chamber of Parliament. In accordance with the Electoral Act 1993, it is made up of members of Parliament elected to represent electorates and those elected from party lists. The House of Representatives is regarded as always in existence, notwithstanding that a term of Parliament has expired or been dissolved.
Independent Crown entity
One of the 3 types of statutory Crown entity (the others are Crown agent and autonomous Crown entity). An independent Crown entity (ICE) is a body corporate named in Part 3 of Schedule 1 to the Crown Entities Act 2004. Ministers can only direct an ICE on government policy if that is specifically provided for in the ICE’s own legislation.
Interdepartmental executive board
A form of public service agency comprising a board of departmental chief executives established under Part 2 Subpart 1 of the Public Service Act 2020, to align and co-ordinate strategic policy, planning and budgeting for 2 or more departments.
A form of public service agency led by a board of chief executives that delivers services or carries out functions relating to the responsibilities of more than one department, established under Part 2 Subpart 1 of the Public Service Act 2020.
Local government exists to enable democratic decision-making and action by, and on behalf of, clearly specified geographical local communities (in contrast to central government). Local government is structured into regional councils and territorial authorities (city and district councils).
A small number of territorial authorities, including the Auckland Council, also have the responsibilities, duties, and powers of a regional council: these are known as ‘unitary authorities’.
A Member of Parliament appointed by the Governor-General to the Executive Council and then appointed as a Minister of the Crown with a warrant for each ministerial portfolio held by the minister.
The appointments are made on the recommendation of the prime minister. Ministers are members of the Executive Council.
A term that is used in two broad contexts:
- Many of New Zealand’s Public Service departments have the legal name of ‘Ministry of …’ or ‘Ministry for …’. The name does not alter or affect their legal form as departments. Historically, the name ‘ministry’ tended to designate a department whose primary functions relate to policy advice, whereas a ‘department’ primarily exercises operational, service delivery or regulatory functions. However, many departments/ministries carry out a mix of functions.
- ‘Ministry’ is also used more broadly as synonymous with ‘government’ and ‘government of the day’.
Mixed ownership model company
A form of Crown company named in Schedule 5 of the Public Finance Act 1989. These are publicly listed companies in which the Crown must have not less than 51% control.
Non-Public Service department
A department that is not included in the list of Public Service departments in the Public Service Act 2020 - they are established under different legislation. They include:
- in the executive branch of government: NZ Defence Force, NZ Police, Parliamentary Counsel Office
- in the legislative branch of government: Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives, Parliamentary Service.
These departments are part of the legal Crown and report as departments under the Public Finance Act 1989.
Office of Parliament
There are currently 3 Offices of Parliament in New Zealand:
- the Controller and Auditor-General
- the Office of Ombudsmen
- the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (and that Commissioner’s office).
Their primary function is to act as a check on the executive, as part of Parliament’s constitutional role of ensuring the accountability of the executive. An Office of Parliament may only perform functions that the House of Representatives itself might carry out.
The Sovereign (represented by the Governor-General) and the House of Representatives.
A member of Parliament appointed as a Parliamentary Under-Secretary by the Governor-General, on the recommendation of the prime minister. They derive their authority solely from the Minister they are assisting, in accordance with a formal letter from the relevant minister.
A broad term that refers collectively to central and local government.
Under the Public Service Act 2020, a public servant is a person who is a chief executive of, or an appointee to a statutory position in, or an employee in the Public Service.
‘Public servant’ is also commonly used to refer to any person ‘paid out of public money’, such as any chief executive, statutory officer or employee in the public sector.
The Electoral Act 1993 uses a broad definition of public servant including those employed in the Education Service (State schools, tertiary institutions and registered kindergarten teachers).
The Public Service is defined in section 10 of the Public Service Act 2020 to mean Public Service agencies. The Act also includes Crown agents for the purposes of subparts 2 and 4 of part 1 of the Act relating to values and behaviours.
Other jurisdictions commonly use the term ‘civil service’, with varying degrees of scope as to which types of agencies are included or excluded.
Public Service agency
A public service department, departmental agency, interdepartmental executive board or interdepartmental venture established under subpart 1 of part 2 of the Public Service Act 2020. They are listed individually in the relevant part of schedule 2 of the Act.
PFA Schedule 4 organisation
An organisation named in Schedule 4 to the Public Finance Act 1989, but not included in the Crown Entities Act 2004.
PFA Schedule 4A company
A form of Crown company named in Schedule 4A to the Public Finance Act 1989. These are non-listed companies in which the Crown may hold anywhere between more than 50% and 100% of the issued ordinary shares in the capital of the company.
School board of trustees
One of the 5 categories of Crown entity. They are a body corporate constituted as a board of trustees under subpart 5 of part 3 of the Education and Training Act 2020. It is the board of trustees, not the school, which constitutes the Crown entity. It is possible for one board to govern more than one school.
A State-owned enterprise (SOE) is a form of Crown company and is a body corporate named in Schedule 1 to the State-Owned Enterprises Act 1986. Its statutory objective is to operate as a successful business, including being as profitable and efficient as comparable businesses not owned by the Crown and also exhibiting a sense of social responsibility. All shares must be held by ministers.
An alternative name for ‘central government’.
The term ‘state servant’ generally includes any person who is a chief executive of, or an appointee to a statutory position in, or an employee in an agency in the State services (this interpretation excludes board members).
The term ‘State services’ is defined in section 5 of the Public Service Act 2020. Essentially, it includes ‘all instruments of the Crown in respect of the Executive Government of New Zealand’:
- Public Service agencies listed in Schedule 2 of the Act
- non-Public Service departments in the executive branch: NZ Defence Force, NZ Police, Parliamentary Counsel Office
- Crown entities
- the education service (except tertiary institutions)
- PFA Schedule 4 organisations
- PFA Schedule 4A companies
The Reserve Bank is included by interpretation.
Statutory Crown entity
Statutory Crown entities are bodies corporate established by or under an Act. They are one of the 5 categories of Crown entity and these are named in Schedule 1 to the Crown Entities Act 2004. There are 3 types of statutory Crown entities: see entries for Crown agent, autonomous Crown entity, independent Crown entity.
One of the 5 categories of Crown entity. A tertiary institution is a body corporate established as an institution under subpart 3 of part 4 of the Education and Training Act 2020, that is, a university, wānanga or the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology.
Whole of government
A term with many meanings, depending on context. For example:
- multi-agency, sectoral or inter-sectoral alignment with government’s goals or contribution to shared results (including planning, funding and delivery processes)
- a direction to support a whole of government approach can be issued under section 107 of the Crown Entities Act 2004
- a reference to all the constituent parts of executive government
- a reference to the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government
- a reference to all the agencies in central and local government: synonymous in this sense with public sector.
System architecture and design
Appropriate structures, strong governance and clear accountability help the Public Service and wider public sector organisations to work together to deliver better outcomes for the public.Read more