Video transcript: Governance of the National Security System

Transcript for a video about our report Governance of the National Security System.

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Title: Governance of the National Security System

Dearna Sullivan (Senior Performance Auditor):

We carried out a performance audit to provide assurance to Parliament and the public about the effectiveness of governance arrangements for the National Security System.

National security arrangements are important to all of our lives. Ensuring our national security enables us to go about our daily business confidently and free from fear.

New Zealand takes an “All Hazards, All Risks” approach to national security. This means that the National Security System covers all risks to national security whether internal or external, human or natural. This can include trans-national organised crime, state and armed conflict, cyber security incidents, biosecurity events, natural disasters, and pandemics.

We used the Eight Elements of Good Governance published in our recent report Reflections from our Audits: Governance and Accountability [cover of Governance and accountability report] to assess the governance arrangements of the National Security System.

Mike Scott (Assistant Auditor-General, Performance Audit Group):

The report [cover of Governance of the National Security System report] provides assurance to New Zealanders that governance arrangements for responding to national events and emergencies such as the recent earthquakes are well established, fundamentally sound, and fit for purpose.

Improved arrangements were put in place around two years ago for governance of how risks to our national security are identified and managed and also for building our resilience as a nation. These arrangements are maturing quickly and operating better over time. The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet aspires to New Zealand having a world-class national security system and continually seek to improve the system.

Our report identifies some important recommendations to help them in achieving a world-class National Security System for New Zealand.


It is reassuring to know that New Zealand can call on an experienced, dedicated, and resolute network of people to come together constructively and quickly, when needed, to help ensure our national security.


When I started working on this audit about six months ago, I knew very little about the National Security System or the people involved in it. Now having done the audit, when things happen – like the recent earthquakes – I find it very comforting to know that there are a group of people who come together and kick into action at short notice and know what they’re doing because they operate in a system where it’s well-defined and they can come together in a structured way and can help respond on our behalf to whatever the event is.

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