Kiwi Polemicist

November 18, 2008

The bloated New Zealand government

Filed under: Government/State, Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — Kiwi Polemicist @ 6:46 am

Snap quiz: how many ministries does the New Zealand government have, as in Minister of This and Minister for That? I’ve undertaken the herculean task of writing a list: as you read this consider not only the number of ministries, but also which areas of your life (and other people’s) that our slave masters deem it necessary to manage. For the sake of brevity I have written the name of each ministry in the simplest form possible:

  1. tourism
  2. finance
  3. infrastructure
  4. economic development
  5. energy & resources
  6. justice
  7. state owned enterprises
  8. commerce
  9. health
  10. state services
  11. environment
  12. climate change issues
  13. accident compensation corporation
  14. police
  15. corrections
  16. veteran’s affairs
  17. education
  18. tertiary education
  19. treaty of waitangi negotiations
  20. arts, culture, & heritage
  21. agriculture
  22. biosecurity
  23. foreign affairs
  24. sport & recreation
  25. rugby world cup
  26. trade
  27. conservation
  28. defence
  29. research, science & technology
  30. transport
  31. communications & information technology
  32. courts
  33. pacific island affairs
  34. disarmament and arms control
  35. disability issues
  36. youth affairs
  37. fisheries
  38. housing
  39. ethnic affairs
  40. women’s affairs
  41. immigration
  42. broadcasting
  43. labour
  44. food safety
  45. building & construction
  46. customs
  47. statistics
  48. small business
  49. internal affairs
  50. land information
  51. civil defence
  52. senior citizens
  53. racing
  54. local government
  55. regulatory reform
  56. consumer affairs
  57. community & voluntary sector
  58. revenue
  59. forestry
  60. social development & employment

You’ll probably need a cup of tea and a lie down after reading that, but while you’re lying down consider three things:

1) I could dispute the need for each and every one of these ministries, but let’s focus on a few: why on earth do we need to have the government managing arts, culture and heritage, or the community and voluntary sector, or sport and recreation? All together now, say after me: “nanny state”.

2) even if the government does need to manage all these aspects of daily life – a notion that I totally reject – why can’t they combine some of the ministries? E.g., agriculture, forestry, fisheries and biosecurity would be a logical combination, as would police, courts, justice and corrections. Additional combinations can be found with ease.

3) is there an area of your life that the government isn’t trying to manage? Sex, food, housing, money, employment, TV, rugby, the air you breathe and a trip to the art gallery are all covered; keep trying and a post a comment if you can think of one area of your life that isn’t ruled by a government ministry. If you fail to find one area of your life that isn’t managed by the government let me know as well.




  1. I agree there are too many ministries and if I was culling I’d start with the women’s, senior citizens and youth portfolios.

    Comment by homepaddock — November 18, 2008 @ 8:00 am

  2. Yes the women’s, senior citizens and youth portfolios would be a good start. After a while people would realise that the country hadn’t sunk beneath the sea without them and we could remove some more fat from the bloated government.

    Comment by kiwipolemicist — November 18, 2008 @ 8:14 am

  3. That is a massive list, I had no idea it was so long. That explains why they have to have multiple portfolios – if every minister was an individual MP, almost the entire government would be ministers. That is a bit nutty.

    Comment by Mr Dennis — November 18, 2008 @ 11:25 am

  4. Mr Dennis: IMHO having 60 portfolios is more than a bit nutty.

    Comment by kiwipolemicist — November 18, 2008 @ 12:31 pm

  5. The women’s affairs one is so paternalistic. It has always grated me the most.

    I think I can cut my finger nails without invoking a ministry.

    Comment by Madeleine — November 18, 2008 @ 2:27 pm

  6. […] Kiwi Polemicist has a list of 60 Ministries, given the dire economic outlook a cull would be in order. […]

    Pingback by RIP Rural Affairs Ministry « Homepaddock — November 18, 2008 @ 2:49 pm

  7. Oh no wait. Disposing of the clippings would invoke the Minister for the Environment and maybe ACC if the clippers slipped.

    You know John Key could have been really inclusive and given every one of his MP’s a portfolio each – there is enough to go around.

    Comment by Madeleine — November 18, 2008 @ 2:50 pm

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