Department of Internal Affairs

The Department of Internal Affairs administers a wide range of New Zealand legislation and government business, including citizenship, gambling, the National Library and Archives New Zealand, the Honours system, the Charities Act, and a range of local government legislation.

Administering key pieces of legislation

The Department administers three key pieces of legislation affecting local government:

  • Local Electoral Act 2001, which sets out the processes for the conduct of council elections
  • Local Government Act 2002, which sets out the general powers of councils, the community outcomes process, and planning and accountability requirements
  • Local Government (Rating) Act 2002, which sets out the powers councils have to raise revenue by way of different rating tools.

It also provides policy advice on local government, including the framework of local government, to the Minister of Local Government, and to the Local Government and Environment Select Committee on local Bills.

Areas being worked on

The Department is currently working on a number of areas that will affect local governments, including a review of Three Waters, to investigate how to improve the regulation and supply arrangements of drinking water, wastewater and stormwater to better support New Zealand’s prosperity, health, safety and environment. Most Three Waters assets and services, but not all, are owned and delivered by local councils.

It is also doing work on issues including freedom camping, dog control and online voting for local elections.

The Department supports the Local Government Commission, which makes decisions on the structure of local authorities and their electoral representation.

You can find out more about the Department of Internal Affairs by visiting the Department of Internal Affairs website.