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The system of Cabinet government is an essential element of New Zealand's democracy. Cabinet provides the forum in which Ministers collectively consider, debate, and decide on the key issues facing the nation. The operations of Cabinet are not set out in legislation, but have evolved over time into the system we have today.

The Cabinet Manual is the primary authority on the conduct of Cabinet government in New Zealand. It documents Cabinet's procedure and provides authoritative guidance for Ministers, their offices, and those working within government. Successive governments have endorsed the Cabinet Manual as a principled and effective basis on which to operate.

Each iteration of the Cabinet Manual records incremental changes in the constitutional and administrative arrangements of executive government. For example, in this edition the guidance on Ministers and the House of Representatives has been updated, the text reflects amendments to legislation governing the operation of the State sector, and changes to Cabinet-decision making procedures and processes have been incorporated.

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


Rt Hon Bill English

Prime Minister

Last updated: 
Friday, 23 June 2017

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