What is Cabinet material
The term ‘Cabinet material’ refers to the documents that are considered by, and record the consideration of, Cabinet and Cabinet committees. This includes Cabinet papers, agendas, minutes, and reports of committee.
There are a number of kinds of Cabinet papers, with the most common being Cabinet policy papers. There are also legislation, appointment, and travel papers. Templates for all of these kinds of papers are published on the CabGuide.
Cabinet material can be accessed by authorised users through CabNet.
A Cabinet Office summary ‘top’ is also written to accompany all Cabinet papers that go to Cabinet and Cabinet committees for consideration. These tops summarise the key aspects of a Cabinet paper for Ministers.
The recommendations in the summary are taken from the related Cabinet paper, but are often slightly refined to make them clearer or more accurate. Cabinet Office will work with Ministers’ offices if any significant changes are likely to be needed to the content, style, or format of recommendations from those that are submitted in a Cabinet paper.
Minutes are usually based on the recommendations, and updated as appropriate in line with the discussion at the relevant meeting. Note that minutes do not record the discussion that took place. If a Ministers' office needs further background information about a minute they should contact the Cabinet Office.
Staff in Ministers' offices should check the content of minutes relating to their portfolio areas (including papers on which their Minister was consulted) at the time they are published, to ensure that they are fully informed of decisions taken at meetings, and can get to work on any follow-up actions required from their Ministers.
The Cabinet Office Secretariat team publish minutes in CabNet as soon as possible after a meeting.
Reports of Committee
All decisions made by Cabinet committees are confirmed by Cabinet in a ‘Report of Committee’, which is a separate item on the Cabinet agenda. The Report of Committee is generally considered at the first Cabinet meeting that follows a Cabinet committee meeting.
A Report of Committee minute is published after the Cabinet meeting that will either confirm or update (in a new minute) the decisions taken by committees. Cabinet decisions are final once they are confirmed in a report of committee minute or minute out of Cabinet.
Reference numbers on Cabinet material
Cabinet and Cabinet committee summary tops have a business identifier or ‘shoulder’ number in the top right corner, e.g. ‘CAB-24-SUB-0100’ or 'APH-23-SUB-0202'. This is the reference number for Cabinet papers. The corresponding minute will have a similar business identifier, e.g. 'CAB-24-MIN-0100' or 'APH-23-MIN-0202'.
Information that Cabinet Office handles that isn’t Cabinet material
The Cabinet Office also receives and generates other information that is not Cabinet material on behalf of the Prime Minister and the Governor-General. This includes the following documents:
- New Zealand Honours nomination and supporting material
- Information that is considered by the Executive Council
- appointment documentation approved by the Governor-General.
Refer to the following pages for more information