New Zealand Treasury
Kaitohutohu Kaupapa Rawa
New Zealand Treasury logo
|Headquarters||1 The Terrace, Wellington
|Minister responsible||Bill English, Minister of Finance|
|Agency executive||Gabriel Makhlouf, Secretary to the Treasury|
|Child agency||Crown Ownership Monitoring Unit|
The New Zealand Treasury (in Māori, Kaitohutohu Kaupapa Rawa) is a public sector organisation and the Government’s lead advisor on economic and financial policy. Its role is to help the Government improve economic performance and manage scarce resources. The Treasury has four main functions:
- Providing advice to improve the economic and fiscal conditions for high levels of economic growth and improved living standards.
- Monitoring and managing the financial affairs of the Crown.
- Assessing and testing other Government agencies’ advice and proposals that have economic and financial implications.
- Providing leadership, with other central agencies, to develop a high-performing State sector.
The Treasury is one of New Zealand’s oldest institutions, having been first established in 1840. Initially the Treasury consisted of just a few officials responsible for managing the Government’s day-to-day financial affairs. In the 1920s the department took on a supervisory role over other departments’ spending and oversight of government borrowing.
However, the most dramatic change to the role of the Treasury came in the 1950s when the department began to develop its role as economic advisor to the Government. The Treasury “hit the spotlight” in this role during a wave of far-reaching, and often controversial, economic reforms in the 1980s and early 1990s. This period also coincided with a general shift towards higher scrutiny of government activity and performance, making the Finance portfolio and Treasury operations more transparent.
Since the 1950s, the Treasury has evolved from being a control agency to a “central agency”. During this time, departments have become largely free to manage their own resources, with the Treasury’s role being to provide central agency leadership, coordination and monitoring.
Today the Treasury employs 363 people, is the Government’s lead advisor on economic and financial policy, and has the overall vision of helping governments achieve higher living standards for New Zealanders.
Specific areas of work undertaken by the Treasury include:
- advice on the government’s economic strategy and macroeconomic policies
- advice on financial and public sector management systems
- advice on tax strategy, including the objectives of the tax system and the choice and mix of taxes
- advice on Budget strategy and the design of the Budget process. This includes managing the Budget initiatives process and producing the Budget documents
- preparation and publication of macroeconomic, tax revenue and fiscal forecasts, and monitoring of the domestic and international economies
- preparation and publication of monthly and annual consolidated Crown financial statements
- management of the Crown’s debt portfolio and associated financial investments
- management of commercial, contractual and Treaty of Waitangi-related claims against the Crown
- advice on the Crown’s ownership interests in Crown companies including state-owned enterprises (SOEs), Crown financial institutions and Air New Zealand
- advice on policy interventions, departmental votes and Crown entities to ensure the state’s resources and powers are used effectively to achieve the results sought by the elected Government.
List of Secretaries to the Treasury
The Secretary to the Treasury is the public service head of the department.
|G. C. Rodda||1935–1939|
|Bernard C. Ashwin||1939–1955|
|Noel Vernon Lough||1977–1980|
|Alan Bollard||1998 – April 2002|
|Mark Prebble (acting)||April 2002 – 8 April 2003|
|John Whitehead||8 April 2003 - 1 June 2011|
|Gabriel Makhlouf||1 June 2011 -|
The New Zealand Debt Management Office (NZDMO)
The NZDMO is the part of The Treasury responsible for managing the Crown’s debt, its cash flows and its interest-bearing deposits.
The 1988 reforms of the Government’s financial management led to its establishment with the aim of improving the management of the Government’s debt portfolio.
The Crown owns many companies, which are include State-Owned Enterprises, Crown Entities, and Crown Research Institutes. The Crown is assisted in the running of SOEs and other Crown-owned companies by the Crown Ownership Monitoring Unit or COMU (pronounced "co-moo") within Treasury.
The Treasury has courted controversy, particularly since the Rogernomics reforms of the 1980s. Given the agency's key influence and impact on fiscal policy, it has been accused by critics in recent years of inaccurate forecasts, regulatory capture and political partisanism, and accepting corporate gifts from the financial industry.
- Bernard Hickey (2011-05-15). "Take forecasts with grain of salt". Auckland: NZ Herald.
- "Treasury defends accounting practice of not booking potential SOE dividend losses from SOE sell-down until after election". Interest.co.nz. 2012-02-29.
- John Hartevelt (2012-03-21). "Stick to knitting, teachers tell Treasury". Wellington: Dominion Post.
- John Armstrong (2012-04-07). "Commission fiddles while its cred burns". Wellington: NZ Herald.
- Paul McBeth (2012-01-24). "Treasury stuck in its ways - stakeholders". NZ Herald.
- John Hartevelt (2011-07-23). "Treasury gift investigation considered". Wellington: Dominion Post.
- John Hartevelt (2011-07-22). "Greens demand audit over corporate gifts". Wellington: Dominion Post.