Department of Labour (New Zealand)

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Department of Labour
Te Tari Mahi
Department of Labour logo
Department overview
Formed June 1891
Dissolved 30 June 2012
Superseding agency
Jurisdiction New Zealand

The Department of Labour (Māori: Te Tari Mahi) was a New Zealand public sector organisation tasked with improving the performance of the labour market and, through this, strengthening the economy and increasing the standard of living.

It was replaced with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment on 1 July 2012.[1]


The Department was established under the Liberal Government of New Zealand in 1891 as the Bureau of Industries with Edward Treager as its sole employee.[2] The following year, when W. Pember Reeves was appointed the first Minister of Labour, the department changed its name to the Department of Labour.

The Labour Department Act 1893 defined the general duties of and powers of the department, which were to administer the labour laws, acquire and disseminate knowledge of occupations with a view to improving relations between employers and workers, and collect and publish information on industries and rates of wages.[2] Over time, the functions of the department changed, including the acquisition of responsibilities around employment. The department's functions were reaffirmed through the Labour Department Act 1954.


In March 2012 Prime Minister John Key announced that the Department of Building and Housing would be integrated into a new Ministry comprising the Ministry of Economic Development, the Department of Labour, Ministry of Science and Innovation and the Department of Building and Housing.[3] The new Ministry began operating on 1 July 2012.[4]

Employment New Zealand is the brand name for the part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment responsible for overseeing the former functions of the Department of Labour.[5]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Joyce, Steven; Coleman, Jonathan (24 April 2012). "MBIE to proceed from 1 July" (Press release). Retrieved 29 January 2017. 
  2. ^ a b A. H. McLintock, ed. (1966). "Labour, Department of". Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 17 February 2017. 
  3. ^ Hartevelt, John (15 March 2012). "Key announces new super ministry". Retrieved 12 December 2013. 
  4. ^ One News (15 March 2012). "New 'super' ministry announced by John Key". Television New Zealand. Retrieved 12 December 2013. 
  5. ^ "Employment New Zealand". New Zealand Government. Retrieved 17 February 2017.