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Cabinet Office circular

CO (14) 7: Government Formation - Next Steps

Issue date: 
Monday, 6 October 2014
Issue status: 
Version note: 

Intended for:

  • All Ministers
  • All Chief Executives
  • Chiefs of Staff
  • All Senior Private Secretaries
  • Speaker of the House of Representatives
  • Clerk of the House of Representatives
  • General Manager, Parliamentary Service
  • Chief Parliamentary Counsel
  • Controller and Auditor-General
  • Chief Ombudsman
  • Official Secretary, Government House
  • General Manager, Ministerial and Secretariat Services


1The Leader of the National Party, Rt Hon John Key, has signed confidence and supply agreements with United Future, ACT and the Maori Party.

2This circular sets out the next steps in the transition to a new government.

Summary and important dates

3 The following events are planned for the coming days:

3.1 Monday 6 October: announcement of the Ministerial List and the allocation of portfolios;

3.2Wednesday 8 October: appointment of the new government by the Governor-General, and end of the period of caretaker government;

3.3Monday 13 October: first Cabinet meeting of the new government.

Briefings for incoming Ministers (BIMs)

4Mr Key has agreed that BIMs may be provided to incoming Ministers, now that portfolio allocations have been announced through the Ministerial List.

5Departments and agencies must inform the incumbent Minister and the State Services Commissioner before providing BIMs in such cases. The incumbent Minister continues to hold full executive authority until the incoming Minister has been appointed.

Decision making until the appointment of the new government

6Until the appointment of the new government, current Ministers continue in office, acting in accordance with the second arm of the caretaker convention.

7There are still constraints on decision making during this short transitional period - even for Ministers retaining their portfolios - but if urgent decisions need to be taken there is a process that allows that to happen (see paragraph 6.24 of the Cabinet Manual). The Cabinet Office is available for advice if necessary.

Appointment of the new government

8The Governor-General will appoint the new government on Wednesday 8 October, at a ceremony at Government House.

9The ceremony will formally mark the formation and commencement of the new government and the end of the caretaker period. The incumbent Prime Minister and all other Ministers will resign, whether or not they are being re-appointed, with effect from the date of the appointment of the new government.

10David Seymour will be appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary to the Ministers of Education and Regulatory Reform in a separate ceremony, once he becomes an MP following the return of the writ.

Cabinet and Executive Council meetings

11The following Cabinet meetings are scheduled in the coming weeks:

11.1Monday 13 October, 11.00 am (followed by Executive Council if required);

11.2Monday 20 October, 3.15 pm (followed by Executive Council if required).

12Cabinet committees are expected to resume meeting in the week of 20 October.

13The Cabinet Office will release further advice on the resumption of Cabinet business once the new government has been appointed and Cabinet has met.

Michael Webster
Secretary of the Cabinet


Rachel Hayward, Deputy Secretary of the Cabinet (Constitutional and Honours)
Ph. 04 817 9778

Martin Bell, Deputy Secretary of the Cabinet (Secretariat)
Ph. 04 817 9740

Andrew Townend, Legal and Constitutional Adviser
Ph. 04 817 9741

Last updated: 
Thursday, 29 June 2017

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