New Zealand's system of Cabinet government is one of the great strengths of our political system. Cabinet provides the forum in which Ministers collectively consider, debate, and decide on the key issues facing the nation.

Cabinet is not a creature of legislation - its procedures are not governed by statute. The Cabinet Manual guides Cabinet's procedure. The Cabinet Manual is an authoritative guide to central government decision making for Ministers, their offices, and those working within government. It is also a primary source of information on New Zealand's constitutional arrangements, as seen through the lens of the executive branch of government. Successive governments have endorsed the Cabinet Manual as a sound, transparent, and proven basis on which to operate.

The Cabinet Manual does not effect change but, rather, records incremental changes in the administrative and constitutional arrangements of executive government. This edition reflects, for example, the continued development of the conventions flowing from the establishment of the MMP electoral system, and changes in the relationships within the state sector introduced by the Crown Entities Act 2004.

Cabinet has approved the content of the Cabinet Manual. I urge all those working in government to use the new Cabinet Manual and follow the guidance it contains.


Helen Clark
Prime Minister
(1999 - 2008)

*The current Prime Minister of New Zealand is the Right Honourable Bill English.