Nature and scope of functions

Our purpose

The Ministry of Social Development helps to build successful individuals, strong, healthy families and thriving communities. We have a presence in almost every town. Our staff have connections to every community and, at some point, we touch the lives of most New Zealanders.

The scope of our work

The Ministry provides services to the:

  • Minister and Associate Minister for Social Development and Employment
  • Minister for Senior Citizens
  • Minister for Disability Issues
  • Minister of Youth Affairs
  • Minister of Veterans’ Affairs
  • Minister responsible for Whānau Ora
  • Minister of Revenue
  • Minister of State Services
  • Minister of Health.

We administer four Votes

  • Vote Senior Citizens
  • Vote Social Development
  • Vote Veterans’ Affairs – Social Development
  • Vote Youth Development.

Our role

We deliver:

  • the statutory care and protection of children and young people, youth justice services, adoption services and funding to community service providers
  • employment and income support services, New Zealand Superannuation and the administration of New Zealand’s international welfare portability arrangements
  • family services, providing support, information and advice
    for families and communities
  • campaigns that challenge antisocial attitudes and behaviour
  • student allowances and student loans
  • access to affordable health care for older people, families and lower-income New Zealanders
  • the benefit system, and minimise the debt levels of our clients
  • leadership across the social sector, and funding to community service providers
  • access to concessions and discounts for senior citizens and people with low incomes.

We are structured into clusters

  • Policy – the Social Sector Strategy group provides social sector-wide policy advice, policy advice on communities and community-government relationships, second opinion advice to Ministers and to the Cabinet Social Policy Committee. The group’s evaluation, research and information provides a strong evidence base in support of the Ministry’s advice, policy development and operational delivery. The Social Services Policy group provides advice on services for children and families, young people, working age New Zealanders and older people. This group includes the Ministry of Youth Development.
  • Service Delivery – provides services to clients through four service lines: Work and Income; Students, Seniors and Integrity Services; Child, Youth and Family; and Family and Community Services.
  • Corporate – supports the service delivery and policy clusters: People, Capability and Resources; Risk and Assurance; and Corporate and Governance.

The Ministry includes two offices:

  • The Office for Senior Citizens – supporting the Minister for Senior Citizens to promote positive ageing and the interests of older people.
  • The Office for Disability Issues – supporting the Minister for Disability Issues to oversee the Government’s implementation of the New Zealand Disability Strategy and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities addressing the challenges and advancing the interests of disabled New Zealanders, as well as supporting the Ministerial Committee on Disability Issues.

We support four Crown entities

  • Children’s Commissioner
  • Families Commission
  • New Zealand Artificial Limb Board
  • Social Workers Registration Board.

We provide advice on appointments to three statutory tribunals

  • Social Security Appeal Authority
  • Social Workers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal
  • Student Allowance Appeal Authority.

Legislation we manage and administer

We operate in a complex environment within many key pieces of legislation. These give the framework to support the decisions we make and ensure a fair system for all who use it (see Appendix A).



Statement of Intent 2011

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