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Government in New Zealand

General Functions Of Government

General Functions Of Government

  • Defence
  • Army
  • Navy
  • Air
page 163

Each service department is administered by a board consisting of a group of officers presided over by the Minister of Defence. The activities of the three departments are co-ordinated by a Council of Defence including the Prime Minister, the Minister of Defence, the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Supply, the chiefs of the service staffs, the Secretary to the Treasury, the Permanent Head of the Prime Minister's Department.

Internal Order

  • Justice and Prisons
  • Police
  • Transport

The Transport Department comes in this section because, except in the metropolitan areas, it regulates road traffic in the interests of safety and convenience.

Foreign and Imperial Affairs

  • External Affairs
  • Prime Minister's

These two departments are under the same permanent head. The Prime Minister's Department deals with inter-imperial and foreign relations, the External Affairs Department with New Zealand's Pacific dependencies and her mandate over Western Samoa.


  • Treasury
  • Audit
  • Customs
  • Land and Income Tax
  • Stamp Duties
  • Valuation

The Secretary to the Treasury is also a director of the Reserve Bank, a director of the State Advances Corporation, a member of the Council of Defence, and a member page 164of the Local Government Loans Board. This list of the offices he holds, which is not exhaustive, is an indication of the Treasury's primacy, by virtue of its financial responsibilities, among the state departments. The Valuation Department values land for the purposes both of central taxation and local body rating.


  • Internal Affairs
  • Marine
  • Land and Deeds
  • Native
  • Public Service Commissioner's
  • Public Service Superannuation
  • Crown Law
  • Census and Statistics
  • Printing and Stationery

The Internal Affairs Department is the descendant of the Colonial Secretary's Office, which, in the early period of constitutional government in New Zealand, discharged most of the functions of general government. In the process of time many of these functions—as for instance public works, health, and agriculture—have passed to separate departments. The present functions of the Internal Affairs Department are thus a residue rather than a rational grouping. The nature of its origin is indicated by its important constitutional functions. Through it, proclamations are issued summoning, proroguing, and dissolving Parliament; through it, government decisions affecting the whole public service are conveyed to departments; and through it are paid the salaries of ministers of the Crown. Its miscellaneous functions include administration of the game laws, the passport system, and local government (in so far as there is central control in the interests of co-ordination and efficiency). The Marine Department page 165might also be included among the developmental services, since it has powers over the fishing industry.