Position description
Chief Executive and Secretary for Justice
Ministry of Justice
Position purpose
The Chief Executive and Secretary for Justice:
Leads and manages a large and complex organisation, which has substantial policy and
operational functions and occupies a unique position at the interface between the
Executive and the Judiciary, to achieve the Government’s priorities in the areas of
justice and law and order
Manages relationships with the judiciary and other sector players effectively to facilitate
the appropriate management of the interface between the Executive and the Judiciary
Leads the Justice sector, driving performance improvement across the Justice system.
The challenge is to ensure that the policies and operations of sector agencies are coordinated and aligned to deliver a fiscally sustainable Justice sector.
Key external relationships
Government and Parliament:
Minister of Justice
Minister for Courts
Minister of Police
Minister of Corrections
Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations
The Judiciary
New Zealand Police
Department of Corrections
Crown Law Office
Serious Fraud Office
Ministry of Social Development (Youth Justice)
Members of the Social Sector Forum
Justice sector Crown entities (e.g. Law Commission, Electoral Commission, Human
Rights Commission, Office of the Privacy Commissioner, Independent Police
Conduct Authority, Real Estate Agents Authority)
Communities and the public:
Non-government organisations working in the Justice sector, Māori, interest groups,
business organisations, the legal profession, the private sector and academia.
Performance profile
The Chief Executive and Secretary is accountable to the Minister of Justice. The Chief
Executive and Secretary must perform the duties as set out in the State Sector Act, the
Public Finance Act and other relevant statutes and legislation, some of which are listed in the
attached departmental profile.
The Chief Executive and Secretary for Justice is also accountable for:
Leading the Justice sector to deliver a sustainable justice system within reducing
Providing high-quality, strategic and proactive advice on Justice sector outcomes and
strategies to deliver a programme of long term sustainable cost reduction across the
sector while maintaining public safety and public confidence in the criminal justice
Providing high-quality, pro-active advice on Justice sector policy and operations
Criminal justice system, including sentencing regimes, rights of victims and
crime reduction initiatives
Relevance of public law and regulations
Constitutional arrangements and conventions, including the electoral system
Fair and durable resolution of historical grievances under the Treaty of
Waitangi, and of customary interests under the Marine and Coastal Area
(Takutai Moana) Act 2011
Providing quality delivery of court and tribunal services in conjunction with other Justice
sector agencies
Providing services and facilities that assist the Judiciary in their decision-making role
and maintain constitutional integrity and the separate of powers between the Executive
and the Judiciary
Providing leadership and sound management of the Ministry of Justice, so that it
contributes to achieving agreed outcomes, both now and in the future by:
Critical areas of success
Developing the organisation to fulfil its role in a constantly changing
Establishing and maintaining sound working relationships with the Ministers of
Justice, Courts, Treaty Negotiations and the Attorney-General, and
government agencies, particularly those in the Justice and social sectors
Adhering to the financial and ethical standards expected of the Public Service
Delivering services and outputs that are of a very high standard.
Monitoring the Crown entities for which the Ministry has responsibility
The Chief Executive and Secretary for Justice will:
Lead the Justice sector to deliver a fiscally sustainable Justice sector operating model,
including the fundamental reforms underway in the criminal justice system, working
with all sector agencies to achieve this
Strengthen strategic, leadership and delivery capability within the Ministry of Justice,
focusing resources on areas where it can make the most difference in terms of
delivering high quality policy advice to government, and modern and effective courts
and associated services
Implementation of the Government’s policy objective to maintain momentum on the
2014 Treaty settlement target
Work with other Social Sector Forum chief executives to deliver the Drivers of Crime
work programme and other social sector projects to reduce the flow of people into the
criminal justice system and deliver improved social outcomes in the medium to longterm.
In addition, the Chief Executive will be required to provide leadership to lift the
productivity of the public service.
Person profile
Leadership within the Public
Excellent leadership by public service chief executives is essential to high performing
departments and a high performing public service. Chief executives are required to work
together in a spirit of service and strive towards the overall goal of a system of world class,
professional State Services, serving the government of the day and meeting the needs of all
New Zealanders.
The Chief Executive’s leadership role within the Justice sector means that legal
qualifications will be preferred.
Position specific
The Chief Executive and Secretary for Justice will need to be skilled in the following
Strategic skills
Effective chief executives possess a depth and breadth of knowledge. They are
intellectually sharp, and deal with concepts and complexity comfortably. They have a strong
grasp of key trends and issues facing their agency and the wider state sector, and develop
long range strategies and plans. They probe deeply into issues without losing sight of the
bigger picture. They learn quickly when facing new problems and are comfortable handling
risk and uncertainty. They are willing to experiment and are open to change. They are
future oriented and take a broad perspective on issues, analysing both successes and
failures for clues about how to improve. They create a compelling vision and inspire others
to support that vision. For the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Justice, there is a need to
bring strategic skills not only to the Ministry, but to the leadership of the Justice sector.
Operating skills
Effective chief executives create focus within their organisations and get things done. They
find ways to eliminate roadblocks and zero in on the vital few issues that require their
attention. They understand organisational processes and identify systemic opportunities for
synergy and integration. They create strong teams by empowering people, fostering open
dialogue, effectively allocating resources and ensuring that individuals work together. They
use teams to work across boundaries and accomplish integrated tasks and sustained
coordinated efforts. In doing this, they continually support the development of their senior
team; coaching them and providing opportunities that will stretch them. They are able to
work effectively across organisational boundaries.
Effective chief executives can be counted on to step up when times are tough. They do not
shirk personal responsibility. They anticipate potential conflicts and make conscious choices
about the approach they will take. If conflict arises they look for common ground; resolving
differences equitably and calmly. They are willing to take the lead on controversial issues.
They read situations and people accurately. They are a good judge of people and are able
to clearly see their strengths and limitations.
Energy and drive
Effective chief executives consistently demonstrate energy and drive for better results. They
don’t give up in the face of resistance or setbacks, however they are also willing to adapt
their approach if necessary to achieve the desired result. They consistently and constantly
strive for better performance, balanced with a concern for people and due process.
Personal and interpersonal
Effective chief executives know themselves well, are open to criticism and seek feedback.
They learn from their mistakes and strive constantly to develop themselves. They are
adaptive. They can be counted on to remain calm and hold things together in tough times.
They are not prone to defensiveness, frustration, nor easily knocked off balance.
In their dealings with others they are good listeners and can easily establish rapport. They
are respectful toward others and hire for variety and diversity. They build relationships of
trust and respect with stakeholders, colleagues, Ministers and staff. They can be direct and
diplomatic, and can resolve differences without damaging relationships. They are
collaborative and value others’ contributions. They create a climate in which people feel
motivated to do their best and people like working for and with them. They are dedicated to
meeting the expectations and requirements of Ministers and clients and act consistently
with those expectations and requirements in mind.
Organisational positioning
Effective chief executives understand the political and organisational context within which
they work. They are sensitive to political processes and anticipate risks and how others may
respond. They can manoeuvre through complex political situations effectively and quietly
whilst maintaining Public Service standards of political neutrality. They know how to get
things done within the political and organisational context and understand the origin and
reasoning behind key policies, practices and procedures. They understand how to work with
different organisational cultures to achieve change.
Acting with honour and
Effective chief executives adhere to the Standards of Integrity and Conduct for the State
Services, during both good and bad times. As well as taking a lead role in promoting the
Standards, they role model the ethics, values and behaviours set out in the Standards.
They deliver on their promises and are direct and truthful in their dealings with others. They
keep confidences and admit mistakes. They do not misrepresent themselves for personal
gain and are widely trusted.
Security Clearance
Appointment will be subject to a New Zealand Government Top Secret security clearance.
Departmental profile
Ministry of Justice
The Ministry of Justice administers over 150 Acts, solely or jointly with other agencies.
Some of the legislation administered includes the following:
Constitution Act 1986
Criminal Justice Act 1985
Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009
Crown Proceedings Act 1950
Disputes Tribunals Act 1988
District Courts Act 1947
Electoral Act 1993
Family Courts Act 1980
Human Rights Act 1993
International Crimes and International Criminal Court Act 2000
International War Crimes Tribunals Act 1995
Juries Act 1981
Justices of the Peace Act 1957
Law Commission Act 1985
Legal Services Act 2011
Government priorities
Marine And Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011
New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990
Official Information Act 1982
Ombudsmen Act 1975
Parole Act 2002 (administered with the Department of Corrections)
Privacy Act 1993
Sentencing Act 2002 (administered with the Department of Corrections)
Serious Fraud Office Act 1990
Supreme Court Act 2003
Treaty of Waitangi (State Enterprises) Act 1988
The Ministry has three core functions:
Leadership to the Justice sector – advising Government on strategies and policies
across the Justice sector, ensuring a collaborative, outcome-focused approach within
the sector, while leading and co-ordinating sector-wide initiatives to deliver a fiscally
sustainable Justice sector.
The delivery of operational services – including court and tribunal-related services,
supporting the work of the Judiciary, collecting and enforcing fines, and negotiations to
settle claims under the Treaty of Waitangi and Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai
Moana Act) 2011.
The provision of policy advice – developing new policy and reform and development of
legislation in a range of areas, including criminal law and procedures, crime reduction,
youth justice, sentencing regimes and practices, victims, family violence, restorative
justice, constitutional issues, access to justice, human rights and Bill of Rights, family
law, commercial, property and regulatory law issues and the electoral system.
The Justice sector Ministers have identified the following priority areas as the basis for future
decisions in the Justice sector:
Public safety and maintaining public confidence in the criminal justice system
Continuing the implementation of performance improvement actions across the sector
Identifying new initiatives which will reduce volumes and cost across the Justice sector.
There are eight shared outcomes for the Justice sector to work towards:
Crime reduced
Offenders held to account
Impact of crime reduced
Accessible justice services
Trusted justice system
Effective constitutional arrangements
International connectedness
Durable settlements of Treaty claims.
Organisational structure
Chief Executive and Secretary for Justice
Deputy Chief Executive
Deputy Secretary Operations
Deputy Secretary Policy
Deputy Secretary Courts
Deputy Secretary Corporate Services
Deputy Secretary Legal Services and Treaty
(Legal Services Commissioner)
The Ministry of Justice has around 3,150 staff working in over 100 different locations around
New Zealand.
Appropriations 2010/11:
Vote Justice - $389.475 million, including $148.6 million departmental output expense.
Vote Courts - $743.096 million, including$425.6 million departmental output expense.
The Ministry of Justice expects to collect $284.4 million of Crown revenue in 2010/11 from fines
and other penalties imposed through the Courts.
Vote Treaty Negotiations - $412.796 million, including $31.8 million departmental output

Position description - State Services Commission