This section focuses on the machinery of government and how our government system works.

Nāku te rourou nāu te rourou ka ora ai te iwi. | With your basket and my basket the people will live.

We all have something to bring and our collective knowledge helps us all.


A graphic of Afa, a Samoan public servant who is sight impaired

Talofa lava, o lo'u igoa o Afa (hello, my name is Afa). I’ve been working in the Public Sector for a while now. I started in a policy advisor role and now I’m in a senior leadership position. I really enjoy working in the policy space, but I admit it was pretty overwhelming when I started. 

As a new public servant and a new policy advisor it was pretty important for me to really get to grips with the machinery of government. That’s the term we often use to describe how our government system works. 

I can still remember working on my first piece of policy and my manager talking about ‘select committee. I really had no idea what a ‘select committee’ was all about. It’s funny looking back now because I’m that manager and I’m sure I’ve got new staff who are feeling the same way I did. 

Even if you don’t work in policy, it’s important for all of us to understand how our government worksIt’s unique to working in government and it’s unique to Aotearoa New Zealand. 



Let’s explore this learning to get a better sense of how government works and how we support the government of the day. 

The role of the Public Service (this link opens in a new tab)

The Relationship between Government and the Public Service (this links opens in a new tab)

These microbite learning modules will help you to understand how our government is structured and the respective roles and responsibilities of Parliament, the Government and ministers.  You will also learn about how the machinery of government is essential for public servants in fulfilling their roles effectively.  You can work through the microbites individually or as a group. An accessible version of this information is available here: How our government system works [PDF, 496 KB]

How Legislation is Made (this link opens in a new tab)

This module will highlight how the legislative process works and help you to identify key stakeholders and steps involved in creating legislation from its initial idea to being enshrined in law.  An accessible version of this information is available here: How Legislation is Made [PDF, 308 KB]