About the Auditor-General

Annual report 2005-06.

Role and functions of the Auditor-General

The Controller and Auditor-General (the Auditor-General) is an Officer of Parliament. His mandate and responsibilities are set out in the Public Audit Act 2001.

The Auditor-General is independent of executive government and Parliament in discharging the functions of the statutory office, but is answerable to Parliament for his stewardship of the public resources entrusted to him.

Parliament seeks independent assurance that public sector organisations are operating, and accounting for their performance, in accordance with Parliament’s intentions. There is also a need for independent assurance of local government. Local authorities are accountable to the public for the activities they fund through locally raised revenue. As an Officer of Parliament, the Auditor-General provides this independent assurance to both Parliament and the public.

This independent assurance is provided through the reporting set out under the Public Audit Act 2001 and other statutory requirements:

  • annual audits and other audits of public entities;
  • exercise of the Controller function including the appropriation audit;
  • performance audits and other studies;
  • responding to enquiries from ratepayers, taxpayers, and members of Parliament; and
  • approvals under the Local Authorities (Members’ Interests) Act 1968.

Annual audits, other audits of public entities, and the exercise of the Controller function are statutory requirements. The remainder are discretionary. To help us to perform this statutory reporting effectively, we also undertake a range of other services including:

  • advice to Parliament;
  • advice and liaison;
  • working with the accounting and auditing profession;
  • international liaison and involvement.

Our operating model

The Auditor-General’s staff are organised into two business units – the Office of the Auditor-General (OAG) and Audit New Zealand (referred to collectively as “the Office”).

The OAG undertakes strategic audit planning, sets policy and standards, appoints auditors and oversees their performance, carries out performance audits, provides reporting and advice to Parliament, and undertakes inquiries and other special studies.

Audit New Zealand is the operating arm of the Office, and carries out annual audits allocated by the Auditor-General. It also provides other assurance services to public entities, within the Auditor-General’s mandate and in accordance with the Auditor-General’s Auditing Standard on the independence of auditors.

The Auditor-General also engages private sector auditing firms (audit service providers) to carry out his statutory functions in relation to public entities, and to assist with other work of the Office.

Our current capability

As at 30 June 2006, the Auditor-General employed 260 staff, based in nine locations throughout New Zealand. He also engaged 60 audit service providers, as well as Audit New Zealand, to carry out annual audits of public entities.

In 2005-06, we generated revenue of $51.840 million – $9.103 million from Revenue Crown and $42.737 million from audited entities.

Our strategic direction

The Auditor-General’s internal operating vision for the Office is to “set the benchmark for design and delivery of independent assurance services”.

We have three important business strategies to attain this vision:

  • shaping our services to anticipate and respond to the needs of Parliament and other stakeholders and our changing environment;
  • building our capability to create and deliver our services; and
  • fostering relationships and ways of working that support our strategy.
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