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Cabinet Office circular

CO (20) 7: Arrangements for transition to a new administration

Issue date: 
Tuesday, 3 November 2020
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 New Zealand Labour Party and the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand have signed a cooperation agreement.  This circular sets out the next steps in the transition to a new administration.

Appointment of the new ministry

2Ministers will be appointed by the Governor-General at a ceremony at Government House at 11 am on Friday, 6 November. Parliamentary Under-Secretaries will be appointed in a separate ceremony, once they take up office as MPs following the return of the writ.

3Since the introduction of MMP a full ministerial appointment ceremony has been held when a government is formed after an election, even when the composition of the government has not greatly changed.  The ceremony formally marks the formation and commencement of the new administration and the end of the caretaker period. 

4As is usual, the Prime Minister will tender the resignation of all Ministers, whether or not they are being re-appointed, immediately before the appointment ceremony at Government House.  The ceremony will formally mark the formation and commencement of the new government and the end of the caretaker period. 

5The Cabinet Office will advise those involved in the ceremony about the arrangements.

Briefings for incoming Ministers (BIMs)

6The Prime Minister has agreed that BIMs may be provided to incoming Ministers once the Ministerial List has been announced.  

7Departments and agencies must inform the incumbent Minister and the Public Service Commissioner before providing BIMs in such cases.  The incumbent Minister continues to hold full executive authority until the incoming Minister has been appointed.

Cabinet and Executive Council meetings

8The following Cabinet meetings are scheduled in the coming weeks:

8.16 November following the ceremony to appoint the new ministry;

8.216 November (followed by Executive Council if required).

9The Cabinet Business Committee is expected to resume meeting in the week of 16 November and will consider all Cabinet committee business until the end of the year.

10The 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 and Clerk of the Executive Council



Rachel Hayward, Deputy Secretary of the Cabinet (Constitutional and Honours)
Ph: (04) 830 5030

Martin Bell, Deputy Secretary of the Cabinet (Secretariat)
Ph: (04) 830 5031

Anna Fleming, Legal and Constitutional Adviser
Ph. (04) 830 5035

Last updated: 
Tuesday, 3 November 2020

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