This section outlines the authority under which transactions are entered into and the statutory and contractual basis of the management of New Zealand’s debt and the conduct of personnel.
Legal authority to borrow and service debt
Nearly all the functions of New Zealand Debt Management are fulfilled through the exercise of statutory powers contained in the Public Finance Act 1989. In general, those powers are vested in the Minister of Finance, but many of them have been delegated to the Secretary to the Treasury, with further sub-delegation to specified personnel within New Zealand Debt Management.
The Public Finance Act establishes the legal framework for the use of public financial resources. That includes authorities and controls relating to:
- the operation of bank accounts;
- the investment of public money;
- the raising, repayment, and conversion of loans and the issuing of securities;
- the giving of guarantees and indemnities;
- the entering into of swaps and other financial arrangements;
- the Public Finance Act gives the Minister of Finance the power to borrow in the name of the Crown. The power to borrow cannot be delegated.
The Public Finance Act contains a permanent appropriation for the payment of all principal and interest in respect of any loan to the Crown. It also contains a permanent appropriation for the payment of expenses associated with the raising and management of loans and the issuing and management of securities. The payment of principal and interest in respect of any debt that is assumed by the Crown, but is not in the Crown's name, must be authorised through the appropriation procedures contained in the Public Finance Act.
Delegation of responsibility
The Minister of Finance may delegate to the Secretary to the Treasury, pursuant to the Public Service Act 2020, all the Minister’s functions or powers under any Act. Pursuant to the Public Service Act, those delegated powers may be sub-delegated, with the Minister’s approval, to specified personnel of the Treasury and exercised in accordance with any policies approved by the Minister, the Secretary to the Treasury or the Director, New Zealand Debt Management.
The Public Service Act gives the Public Service Commissioner the authority to set the minimum standards and general obligations which apply to Treasury employees. These minimum standards of integrity and conduct are pursuant to the public service values and principles set out in the Public Service Act. Specific terms and conditions of employment are outlined in Treasury’s personnel policies and individual employment agreements. All Treasury employees are required to sign a declaration of confidentiality and avoidance of conflicts of interest.
The Public Service Act, Treasury's corporate policies and New Zealand Debt Management's guidelines for ethical behaviour provide the framework for New Zealand Debt Management's behaviour in the market place.