Part 1: Nature and scope of the Auditor-General's functions

Statement of Intent 2010-13.

The Controller and Auditor-General (the Auditor-General) is an Officer of Parliament and is independent of executive government and Parliament in discharging the functions of the statutory office, but answerable to Parliament for her stewardship of the public resources entrusted to her.

The Auditor-General is the auditor of all public entities in New Zealand – a total of about 4000 public entities. Public entities are accountable to Parliament for their use of the public resources and powers that Parliament has conferred on them. Parliament has also legislated to require independent assurance that public entities are operating, and accounting for their performance, in keeping with Parliament’s intentions.

The Public Audit Act 2001 sets out the mandate and responsibilities of the Auditor-General. It provides for the Auditor-General to examine and provide independent assurance to Parliament and the public on matters of authority, waste, probity, performance and accountability. The Auditor- General’s legislative mandate is confined to public entities, in respect of which the Auditor-General:

  • must carry out requirements of the Public Audit Act 2001 and other statutes (such as the Public Finance Act 1989 and Local Government Act 2002, which set out accountability responsibilities of public entities);
  • may carry out services of a kind that it is reasonable and appropriate for an auditor to perform;
  • must limit her examination to the extent to which activities are being carried out effectively and efficiently in a manner consistent with policy to which the public entity is required to adhere.

The output classes and outputs of the Auditor-General reflect her legislative audit mandate to provide independent advice and assurance. They are:

  • Audit and assurance services;
  • Accountability to Parliament (services to Parliament and the Controller function); and
  • Performance audits and inquiries.

The audit work carried out and the resulting assurance helps public entities to make improvements in their use of, and in accounting to Parliament and the public for their use of, their public resources and powers.

The work of the Auditor-General is carried out by staff in two business units – the Office of the Auditor-General (OAG) and Audit New Zealand, supported by a shared team of corporate services staff – and by contracted auditors from the private sector. We refer to these collective resources as "the Office".

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