Machinery of Government

Recommend course:



Do you need to understand how the Government works, and the roles and responsibilities of various departments and ministries - especially the central agencies? Are you relatively new to working in the public sector, or do work for an NGO or business who interacts with Government?

This course assists you to understand the institutional environment, structure and processes and the political context within which the state sector operates. It includes a tour of parliament itself.

Who should attend:

Those who are relatively new to the New Zealand state sector and those who have an interest in the structure and processes of government.

Learning objectives:

  • Identify the key features of New Zealand’s governmental and political system, especially the elements which are most relevant to those working in public sector organisations.
  • Discuss the roles, responsibilities and linkages between the public sector and cabinet, parliament and its select committees, and the judiciary.
  • Provide an overview of how the machinery of government works.
  • Examine legislation and codes of conduct which govern the work and behaviour of New Zealand state servants.

Course outline:

  • Introduction
  • Tour of Parliament
  • What is the state in New Zealand?
  • The legislature, the executive, and the judiciary
  • The public sector, the state sector, and the public service
  • Central elements of the ‘Westminster model’ including variations brought about by recent changes
  • The machinery of central government
  • The change to MMP: implications for state sector officials
  • Current issues and challenges in organising the state sector
  • Ethics and ethos in the state services
  • Wrap-up and conclusions

Course format:

The course will be run as a seminar with full opportunity for engagement by all participants. Reading material along with supporting notes are provided. During the day course members may be invited to carry out small-group discussions of some topics and issues.


Derek Gill, Cathy Scott or Todd Krieble

Further details:
If you would like more information about this programme, please contact us on: 
Ph: 64 4 463 6556 Fax: 64 4 463 6550 Email:

Customised workshops:
Victoria Professional and Executive Development are able to customise many of our workshops to meet specific individual or organisational requirements. Please contact us for further information.

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