Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (New Zealand)

Last updated

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
Te Tari o te Pirimia me te Komiti Matua
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet NZ logo.svg
Agency overview
Jurisdiction New Zealand
HeadquartersLevel 8, Executive Wing,
Parliament Buildings,
41°16′40″S174°46′36″E / 41.277899°S 174.776714°E / -41.277899; 174.776714
Annual budgetVote Prime Minister and Cabinet
Total budget for 2019/20
Decrease2.svg$92,841,000 [1]
Ministers responsible
Agency executive
  • Brook Barrington,
    Chief Executive

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) (Māori : Te Tari o te Pirimia me te Komiti Matua) is the central public service department of New Zealand charged with providing support and advice to the governor-general, the prime minister and members of the Cabinet of New Zealand. The department is also charged with centrally leading New Zealand's "national security planning, which includes civil defence." [2]


The department's overall area of responsibility is in helping to provide, at an administrative level, the "constitutional and institutional glue" within New Zealand's parliamentary democracy. [3]

The department along with the State Services Commission, and the Treasury constitute the central agencies or public service departments leading the state sector of New Zealand. [4]


The department serves the Executive branch of government (the governor-general, the prime minister and the Cabinet) through the provision of impartial advice and support services.

In addition to serving the Executive, a major role of the department is to help co-ordinate the work of the core public service departments and ministries.

Supporting the prime minister and Cabinet

The department supports the prime minister's twin roles as leader of the government and chair of Cabinet, and provides three kinds of direct support to the prime minister:

Supporting the governor-general

The department also supports the governor-general of New Zealand in carrying out his or her functions to represent the King.


The department formally came into existence on 1 January 1990, as a result of a report which recommended establishing structures to provide two separate streams of advice to the prime minister; one, a new Government department to supply impartial advice and support to the prime minister and Cabinet (DPMC), and another, a Prime Minister's Private Office (which is not part of DPMC), to provide personal support and media services, and advice of a party political nature.

Government House was added to the department in August 1990. The National Assessments Bureau (formerly known as the External Assessments Bureau) became part of the department on 1 July 1991. Responsibility for civil defence and emergency management was consolidated in the department in 2014 through a business unit called the Ministry for Civil Defence and Emergency Management (MCDEM). MCDEM was superseded by an autonomous departmental agency hosted by DPMC in 2019, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

The department is often responsible for coordinating government responses to significant events. It leads the All-of-Government Response to the COVID-19 pandemic in New Zealand and the Government response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Terrorist Attack on the Christchurch Mosques. [5] [6] It previously led and coordinated central government's ongoing role in the recovery and regeneration of greater Christchurch following the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. The department's Greater Christchurch Group operated from April 2016 until January 2021. [7]

The department consists of nine business units. [8]

Business unitRole
Cabinet OfficeA government secretariat, headed by the Secretary of the Cabinet, that provides impartial support to central government decision-making processes and administers the New Zealand Royal Honours system.
Government HouseProvides administrative and support services for the Governor-General and maintains Government House and its grounds in Wellington, as well as the smaller Government House in Auckland.
Policy Advisory GroupProvides advice and support to the Prime Minister in all Cabinet Committees and contributes to policy development across the full range of government issues.
National Security GroupProvides leadership, advice, support and coordination of the Government’s national security risks and priorities.
Health Transition UnitSupports the Government's health sector reforms including the establishment of Te Whatu Ora and Te Aka Whai Ora.
Implementation UnitMonitors and supports implementation select government initiatives.
COVID-19 GroupCoordinates, and where necessary leads, the All-of-Government response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Strategy, Governance and Engagement GroupSupports DPMC to achieve its strategic priorities and manages risk by working across the department.
Child Wellbeing and Poverty Reduction GroupSupports the Minister for Child Poverty Reduction.


The department serves 6 portfolios and 5 ministers.

OfficeholderPortfolio(s)Other responsibilities)
Rt Hon Chris Hipkins Prime Minister
Minister for National Security and Intelligence
Hon Carmel Sepuloni Deputy Prime Minister
Hon Jan Tinetti Minister for Child Poverty Reduction
Hon Kieran McAnulty Minister for Emergency Management
Hon Andrew Little Lead Coordination Minister for the Government’s

Response to the Royal Commission’s Report into the Terrorist Attack on the Christchurch Mosques

Head of DPMC

Heads of the DPMC (formerly Secretary, now the Chief Executive) are:

NamePortraitTerm of office
1David McDowell19901991
2 Simon Murdoch Simon Murdoch CNZM investiture 02.jpg 19911998
3 Mark Prebble Mark Prebble CNZM (cropped).jpg 19982004
4 Maarten Wevers Maarten Wevers KNZM (cropped).jpg 20042012
5 Andrew Kibblewhite Andrew Kibblewhite 2020 (cropped).jpg 20122019
6 Brook Barrington Brook Barrington (cropped).jpg 2019Incumbent

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Prime Minister of New Zealand</span> Head of Government of New Zealand

The prime minister of New Zealand is the head of government of New Zealand. The incumbent prime minister, Chris Hipkins, leader of the New Zealand Labour Party, took office on 25 January 2023.

The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">New Zealand royal honours system</span> Orders, decorations, and medals of New Zealand

The New Zealand royal honours system, a system of orders, decorations and medals, recognises achievements of, or service by, New Zealanders or others in connection with New Zealand. Until 1975, New Zealand used the British honours system. Since then the country has introduced a number of uniquely New Zealand honours, and as of 2021, only the dynastic British honours continue in active use in New Zealand, with the exception of the Order of the Companions of Honour.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cabinet of New Zealand</span> Central decision-making forum of the New Zealand Government

The Cabinet of New Zealand is the New Zealand Government's body of senior ministers, accountable to the New Zealand Parliament. Cabinet meetings, chaired by the prime minister, occur once a week; in them, vital issues are discussed and government policy is formulated. Cabinet is also composed of a number of committees focused on specific areas of governance and policy. Though not established by any statute, Cabinet has significant power in the New Zealand political system and nearly all bills proposed by Cabinet in Parliament are enacted.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ministers in the New Zealand Government</span>

Ministers in the New Zealand Government are members of Parliament (MPs) who hold ministerial warrants from the Crown to perform certain functions of government. This includes formulating and implementing policies and advising the governor-general. Ministers collectively make up the executive branch of the New Zealand state. The governor-general is obliged to follow the advice of the prime minister on the appointment and dismissal of ministers.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Malvina Major</span> New Zealand opera soprano

Dame Malvina Lorraine Major is a New Zealand opera soprano.

The Australian Intelligence Community (AIC) and the National Intelligence Community (NIC) or National Security Community of the Australian Government are the collectives of statutory intelligence agencies, policy departments, and other government agencies concerned with protecting and advancing the national security and national interests of the Commonwealth of Australia. The intelligence and security agencies of the Australian Government have evolved since the Second World War and the Cold War and saw transformation and expansion during the Global War on Terrorism with military deployments in Afghanistan, Iraq and against ISIS in Syria. Key international and national security issues for the Australian Intelligence Community include terrorism and violent extremism, cybersecurity, transnational crime, the rise of China, and Pacific regional security.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Governor-General of New Zealand</span> Representative of the monarch of New Zealand

The governor-general of New Zealand is the viceregal representative of the monarch of New Zealand, currently King Charles III. As the King is concurrently the monarch of 14 other Commonwealth realms and lives in the United Kingdom, he, on the advice of his New Zealand prime minister, appoints a governor-general to carry out his constitutional and ceremonial duties within the Realm of New Zealand.

New Zealand's intelligence agencies and units have existed, with some interruption, since World War II. At present, New Zealand's intelligence community has approximately 550 employees, and has a combined budget of around NZ$145 million.

Immigration New Zealand, formerly the New Zealand Immigration Service (NZIS), is the agency within the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) that is responsible for border control, issuing travel visas and managing immigration to New Zealand.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">New Zealand Government</span> Central government of New Zealand

The New Zealand Government is the central government through which political authority is exercised in New Zealand. As in most other parliamentary democracies, the term "Government" refers chiefly to the executive branch, and more specifically to the collective ministry directing the executive. Based on the principle of responsible government, it operates within the framework that "the [King] reigns, but the government rules, so long as it has the support of the House of Representatives". The Cabinet Manual describes the main laws, rules and conventions affecting the conduct and operation of the Government.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ministry of Justice (New Zealand)</span> New Zealand government ministry

The Ministry of Justice is an executive department of the New Zealand Government, responsible for the enforcement of the law and administration of justice within New Zealand. It provides advice and support to a number of ministers, including the Minister of Justice; the Minister for Courts; the Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations; the Minister Responsible for the Law Commission and the Attorney-General. Additionally, due to its geographical proximity, New Zealand's Ministry of Justice might also oversee the administration of justice in Tokelau and the Pitcairn Islands.

The Officials Committee for Domestic and External Security Coordination is a New Zealand government committee which gives the Prime Minister strategic policy advice on security and intelligence matters. Operational security matters are handled by other groups, including the Defence Force, the Ministry of Defence, the Security Intelligence Service, the Government Communications Security Bureau and Police.

The National Emergency Management Agency is the public service department of New Zealand responsible for providing leadership and support around national, local and regional emergencies. It is an autonomous departmental agency hosted by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. It replaced the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management in December 2019.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority</span>

The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority was the public service department of New Zealand charged with coordinating the rebuild of Christchurch and the surrounding areas following the 22 February 2011 earthquake. After it was disestablished on 18 April 2016, CERA's functions were taken over by a variety of other agencies.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Minister of National Security and Intelligence (New Zealand)</span> New Zealand minister of the Crown

The Minister of National Security and Intelligence is a minister in the government of New Zealand who is responsible for leading and setting the policies and legislative framework of New Zealand's national security system. The current minister is Chris Hipkins, who is also the current Prime Minister of New Zealand as by convention, the National Security and Intelligence portfolio is always held by the Prime Minister.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">National Security Committee (Australia)</span>

The National Security Committee (NSC), also known as National Security Committee of Cabinet, is the peak decision-making body for national security and major foreign policy matters in the Australian Government. It is a committee of the Cabinet of Australia, though decisions of the NSC do not require the endorsement of the Cabinet itself.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cabinet Manual (New Zealand)</span>

The Cabinet Manual is a government document in New Zealand which outlines the main laws, rules and constitutional conventions affecting the operation of the New Zealand Government. It has been described as providing "comprehensive, cohesive and clear advice on a number of key aspects of executive action. It is publicly available, and broadly accepted by a wide range of actors in NZ politics: politicians across the spectrum, officials, academics and the public."

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Australian Health Protection Principal Committee</span>

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) is the peak decision-making committee for public health emergency management and disease control in the Commonwealth of Australia. It is chaired by the Chief Medical Officer of the Australian Government and comprises the chief health officers of the states and territories.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Secretary of the Cabinet (New Zealand)</span> Cabinet Secretary

The secretary of the Cabinet is a senior public servant in New Zealand. The Cabinet secretary usually serves concurrently as the clerk of the Executive Council. The secretary is responsible for the impartial recording of Cabinet decisions, and as clerk of the Executive Council they are also a liaison between the Cabinet and the governor-general. The secretary is also responsible to Cabinet as a collective for ensuring the confidentiality of Cabinet proceedings, and the impartial and effective operation of the Cabinet system. The current Cabinet Secretary and Clerk of the Executive Council is Rachel Hayward.


  1. "Total Appropriations for Each Vote". Budget 2019. The Treasury. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  2. "Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet". Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  3. "About DPMC". About DPMC. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  4. "Outcomes | DPMC". Archived from the original on 19 October 2014. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
  5. "COVID-19 Group". COVID-19 Group. Retrieved 15 February 2023.
  6. "Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch masjidain". Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch masjidain. Retrieved 15 February 2023.
  7. "Greater Christchurch Group (GCG)". Greater Christchurch Group (GCG). Retrieved 15 February 2023. CC BY icon-80x15.png  This article incorporates textfrom this source, which is available under the CC BY 4.0 license.
  8. "DPMC's business units". DPMC's business units. Retrieved 3 August 2020.