1.33The Clerk of the Executive Council is formally appointed by the Governor-General by warrant under the Letters Patent, on the advice of the Prime Minister. The primary role of the Clerk is to provide impartial secretariat support for the Executive Council and associated support to the Governor-General and the Prime Minister.
1.34The main functions of the Clerk of the Executive Council are to:
- advise on matters affecting the role of the Governor-General;
- provide, coordinate, and monitor official support and advice to, and consultation with, the Governor-General;
- provide a channel of communication and liaison between the government and the Governor-General and, if necessary, between party leaders and the Governor-General;
- facilitate, on behalf of the Governor-General, the constitutional processes of government that involve the Governor-General (particularly those associated with the transition between administrations—see chapter 6);
- attend meetings of the Executive Council in order to witness its proceedings and keep its records;
- countersign any proclamation, Order in Council, or other instrument made or issued by the Governor-General in Council;
- be responsible for the New Zealand Royal Honours system; and
- liaise with the Palace and the Sovereign as necessary.
The Clerk of the Executive Council may delegate any of the functions of the office.
1.35The Clerk of the Executive Council is responsible directly to the Prime Minister and the Governor-General for servicing the Executive Council and providing such advice as may be required from time to time on constitutional matters.
1.36The offices of the Secretary of the Cabinet and the Clerk of the Executive Council are usually held by the same person. The role of the Secretary of the Cabinet, and the appointment process for the Secretary/Clerk, are outlined in paragraphs 5.84 – 5.88.
1.37Official communication with the Governor-General is conducted through Ministers’ offices and the Clerk of the Executive Council. Agencies do not usually deal directly with Government House.