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About DPMC


A text version of this chart is also available.

DPMC's Chief Executive, Andrew Kibblewhite (from 25 June 2012) reports to the Rt Hon Bill English, the Prime Minister. The Chief Executive is supported by seven Senior Managers. The Secretary of the Cabinet/Clerk of the Executive Council and the Official Secretary of Government House report to Her Excellency The Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy, GNZM, QSO, the Governor General.

Senior Managers

  • Michael Webster, Secretary of the Cabinet/Clerk of the Executive Council
  • Kelvan Smith, Director, Greater Christchurch Group
  • Anneliese Parkin, Deputy Chief Executive, Policy
  • Howard Broad, Deputy Chief Executive, Security & Intelligence
  • Sarah Stuart-Black, Director, Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management
  • Anne Shaw, Director, Office of the Chief Executive
  • Gregory Baughen, Official Secretary, Government House

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) is one of the three central agencies responsible for coordinating and managing public sector performance. The others are the State Services Commission and the Treasury.

DPMC's overall area of responsibility is in helping to provide, at an administrative level, the 'constitutional and institutional glue' that underlies our system of parliamentary democracy.

The Role of DPMC

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet occupies a unique position at the centre of New Zealand's system of democratic government. It exists to support the effective conduct of executive government by the Prime Minister, the Governor-General and members of the Cabinet. The Department's principal role is provision of advice, on a daily basis, to the Prime Minister and Cabinet on the wide range of complex issues that confront the Government – particularly its policy priorities.

DPMC also provides impartial advice, through the Clerk of the Executive Council and Government House, to the Governor-General. In addition it plays a role in coordinating and leading the work of government departments and agencies, and other entities as appropriate, to ensure that decision making takes account of all relevant viewpoints and that advice is as coherent and complete as possible.

The Department includes the Greater Christchurch Group (from 1 March 2016) which provides policy, planning, legal and monitoring support on a broad range of recovery and regeneration issues across the greater Christchurch region following the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011.

Supporting the Prime Minister and Cabinet

The Prime Minister is the political leader of the government and the country – and its main public 'face'. The Prime Minister is also the chair of the Cabinet, and is responsible for the effective operation of executive government. These roles combine political and executive responsibilities.

DPMC provides assistance to the Prime Minister in three broad categories.

Issues that are the direct responsibility of the Prime Minister
This entails the provision of free and frank advice and support on constitutional issues relating to the conduct of executive government – including during elections and transitions between administrations – and issues associated with the operation of the Cabinet system.

Issues that arise across the full range of government business
DPMC provides a continuous flow of advice to the Prime Minister on major and daily issues, along with oversight of wider government activity and access to information and assessments. DPMC also works directly with Ministers on specific issues. The Deputy Prime Minister plays a lead role on behalf of the Prime Minister over a number of the government’s policy programmes and DPMC supports him on some of these matters from time to time.

DPMC works with central agencies to draw together departments in support of the Government’s priorities, to focus agencies on providing options for action, to ensure implementation of agreed programmes and policies, to drive for enhanced agency performance, and to deal effectively with issues which affect the nation. DPMC also provides the secretariat support for decision making by the Cabinet and its committees.

Administrative support to the Prime Minister
This includes preparation of replies to Parliamentary questions, and dealing with Official Information Act requests and other correspondence. A totally separate body, the Office of the Prime Minister, also advises the Prime Minister: it is the primary point of responsibility for managing political issues and relationships with other political parties and for providing administrative and media support.

Supporting the Governor-General

The Governor-General occupies a leading position in New Zealand’s constitutional framework. We are a constitutional monarchy. Her Excellency serves as the representative of The Queen, New Zealand’s Head of State. Her constitutional, ceremonial, and community roles together seek to maintain national unity and foster national identity. The Clerk of the Executive Council and Government House staff support the Governor-General in carrying out her functions. The Queen’s powers and those of her representative, the Governor-General, are almost always exercised only on the advice of Ministers.

Bringing the System Together

DPMC strives to support a high standard of executive decision making by providing quality advice that is timely, responds to the directions set by government, is forward-looking, is cognisant of changing circumstances and emerging issues, and gives assurance that policies are being delivered in an effective and coordinated manner.

To provide this support the department draws on close relationships with other departments and agencies, crown entities, local government, business, iwi, and the wider community.

DPMC's Outcomes

The overall outcome that DPMC - in conjunction with other agencies - seeks to achieve is:

Advancing a confident, well governed and secure New Zealand

In achieving this outcome, DPMC has adopted six contributing outcomes that reflect the department’s key streams of work:

  • Decision making by the Prime Minister and Cabinet is well informed and supported.
  • Executive government is well conducted and continues in accordance with accepted conventions and practices.
  • The Governor-General is appropriately advised and supported in carrying out her constitutional, ceremonial, community and international roles.
  • National security priorities, the civil defence emergency management system and the intelligence system are well led, coordinated and managed.
  • A higher-performing state sector that New Zealanders trust, delivering outstanding results and value for money.
  • Greater Christchurch is viewed as an attractive and vibrant place to live, work, visit and invest - mō tātou, ā, mō, kā uri ā muri ake nei - for us and our children after us.

See Strategic Intentions 2015-19.

The diversity of work contributing to these outcomes is indicative of DPMC's history, structure and the roles of each business unit.


DPMC 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, high quality 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 included in the scope of the department in August 1990, after a review of the Governor-General’s support requirements. The External Assessments Bureau (now called the National Assessments Bureau) became part of DPMC on 1 July 1991.

The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management became a business unit within DPMC in April 2014.

The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) became a departmental agency within DPMC in February 2015. On 1 March 2016, to coincide with the wind down of CERA, a new business group - the Greater Christchurch Group - was formed to focus on the ongoing regeneration of Christchurch and support the transition of leadership from central government to local institutions. CERA was disestablished on 18 April 2016

DPMC comprises six business units headed by the Chief Executive, Andrew Kibblewhite (from 25 June 2012).

Cabinet Office:

  • Provides impartial secretariat services to the Executive Council, Cabinet and Cabinet committees.
  • Provides impartial advice to the Governor-General, Prime Minister and other ministers on certain constitutional, policy and procedural issues, especially those contained in the Cabinet Manual.
  • Assists in the coordination of the government’s legislative programme.
  • Administers the New Zealand Royal Honours System and oversees the development of the Royal New Zealand Honours Lists.
  • Acts as a channel of communication between the Governor-General and government, and has responsibility for the overall policy and administration of Government House.

Government House:

  • Provides administrative and support services for the Governor-General to enable him to carry out the functions of the office.
  • Maintains Government House and its grounds in Wellington, as well as the smaller Government House in Auckland.

Policy Advisory Group (PAG):

  • Provides impartial advice on issues of the day directly to the Prime Minister and, on occasion, to other ministers.
  • Coordinates the advice coming in from different government departments, so the Prime Minister is given coherent and impartial advice.
  • Contributes to policy development across the full range of government business, including coordinating the provision of advice across agencies.

Security and Intelligence Group (SIG):

This Group comprises five business units.

National Security Policy directorate:

  • Provides and coordinates advice to the Prime Minister, who is also the Minister for National Security and Intelligence; the Minister in Charge of the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service and the Minister Responsible for the Government Communications Security Bureau; the Minister of Civil Defence and Emergency Management; other ministers; and senior officials.
  • Coordinates legislation on national security and intelligence, and acts as the interface with the Government executive, ministers and Parliament.
  • Leads thinking on prioritisation for the New Zealand Intelligence Community.

National Security Systems directorate:

  • Supports the national security leadership in times of crisis.
  • Coordinates risk assessments, exercises and system testing, and contingency plans across Government agencies, local authorities and other related entities.
  • Coordinates joint planning and performance monitoring for the New Zealand Intelligence Community.
  • Operates joint arrangements for the governance, coordination and support of New Zealand’s national security and intelligence system.

Intelligence & Assessment directorate:

  • Ensures a coordinated and timely supply of intelligence and assessments to decision-makers.
  • Operates quality-assurance standards for national intelligence and assessments.
  • Operates a customer-requirements process.
  • Leads the national intelligence and assessments community.
  • Chairs the National Assessments Committee.
  • Contains the National Assessments Bureau, which is New Zealand’s central agency for assessments that draw on all forms of information available to the government.  It provides analysis and reporting on issues of national security and foreign policy interest.

National Cyber Policy Office:

  • Leads the development of policy advice for the government on cyber-security and advises on investing government resources in cyber-security activities.
  • Oversees the development, implementation and review of national strategies and policy on cyber-security.
  • Leads international engagement on cyber policy.
  • Facilitates engagement with the private sector on cyber-security issues.
  • Manages the Connect Smart partnership and awareness programme (

National Security Communications directorate:

  • Advises on internal and external communications and reputation issues for the core intelligence agencies (GCSB, NZSIS and the DPMC directorates).
  • Advises the core New Zealand Intelligence Community (NZIC) on its stakeholder engagement, as well as media and public interactions, with a view to increasing understanding of the Community and its value to New Zealand.
  • Coordinates and provides inter-agency national security (ODESC) communications capability.

Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management (MCDEM):

  • Provides policy advice to government.
  • Supports civil defence emergency management organisations in their planning and operations.
  • Ensures there is coordination at local, regional and national levels.
  • Manages the central government response for large scale civil defence emergencies that are beyond the capacity of local authorities.

Office of the Chief Executive (OCE)

The OCE supports DPMC to achieve its strategic priorities and manage risk by working across the department to ensure it has sound strategy, effective governance, and efficient organisational systems and processes. The key elements of the OCE's role are: 

  • advice and support to the Chief Executive, the Executive Leadership Team and the Senior Management Team
  • leadership of strategic planning and oversight of the Department’s strategic and organisational development
  • management of governance processes, legal risk, compliance, accountability reporting, assurance, security (in conjunction with the Chief Security Officer) and risk management across the Department
  • coordinating OIAs, PQs and Ministerials
  • the provision of legal advice and services to support DPMC’s corporate roles and policy and operational responsibilities in the greater Christchurch regeneration, civil defence and emergency management and national security
  • the provision of strategic communications at a whole-of-department level, including external and internal communications and supporting the Greater Christchurch Group’s communications needs
  • management of DPMC customer interface setting performance expectations and service performance monitoring with Central Agencies Shared Services to coordinate and prioritise services across the Department
  • leading change management and oversight of change across DPMC
  • oversight of portfolio, programme and project management across the Department.

Greater Christchurch Group (GCG)

  • Provides policy advice on the regeneration of greater Christchurch, including the future uses of the Christchurch residential red zone.
  • Engages with local leadership and the local community on regeneration issues.
  • Supports the establishment and ongoing work of the new entities - Regenerate Christchurch and Ōtākaro Limited.
  • Monitors and reports on the overall progress of recovery.
  • Administers part-funding and /or joint governance of horizontal infrastructure repairs.
  • Coordinates across agencies involved in the regeneration of greater Christchurch.

The State Services Commission, the Treasury, and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet: Corporate Centre

The three Central Agencies – the State Services Commission, the Treasury, and Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet – work together as a 'Corporate Centre' to lead a State sector that New Zealanders can trust, and that delivers better public services, including outstanding results and value for money. This requires the Corporate Centre to take an active role across the sector, and provide system-level coordination, a clear focus and strong leadership. The Corporate Centre works together, and uses the three agencies’ respective strengths and collective expertise to support the State sector to deliver better outcomes for New Zealanders.