Who we are and what we do

Ko Ranginui ki runga, ko Papatūānuku ki raro, ko ngā tāngata kei waenganui. Tihei Mauri Ora.

Ko wai mātou: Who are we?

Hīkina Whakatutuki is the te reo Māori name for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Hīkina means to uplift.

Whakatutuki means to move forward, to make successful.

Our name speaks to our purpose to Grow Aotearoa New Zealand for All. This means growing an inclusive, sustainable and prosperous New Zealand for today and future generations.

MBIE was formed in 2012 by uniting four agencies: the Department of Building and Housing, the Department of Labour, the Ministry of Economic Development, and the Ministry of Science and Innovation. Over the years, we have taken on new functions and roles, including Kānoa – Regional Economic Development and Investment Unit, and Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ). As an agency, we continue to adapt and change to respond to the needs of Aotearoa New Zealand.

To mātou aronga: What we do for Aotearoa New Zealand

To Grow Aotearoa New Zealand for All, we put people at the heart of our mahi.

Based on the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi/The Treaty of Waitangi, we are committed to upholding authentic partnerships with Māori.

As agile public service leaders, we use our breadth and experience to navigate the ever-changing world.

We are service providers, policy makers, investors and regulators. We engage with diverse communities, businesses and regions.

Our work touches on the daily lives of New Zealanders. We grow opportunities (Puāwai), act as a guardian and protect (Kaihāpai), and innovate and navigate towards a better future (Auaha).


To grow opportunities, we:

  • help communities thrive by investing in regional initiatives
  • enable partnerships between businesses, communities and industries
  • promote Aotearoa New Zealand on the world stage
  • attract talent and investment to Aotearoa New Zealand
  • create an enabling environment for Aotearoa New Zealand’s businesses and communities to succeed.


To be a guardian and to protect, we:

  • fulfil our Te Tiriti o Waitangi/the Treaty of Waitangi responsibilities
  • ensure safe and fair settings for consumers and businesses in workplaces, buildings and markets
  • manage and provide protection at the border
  • support sustainable management of natural resources
  • provide guidance to businesses through major economic events.


To innovate and navigate, we:

  • invest in research, science and innovation
  • support mātauranga Māori
  • enable New Zealanders to participate in the digital age
  • participate in space research and exploration
  • work collaboratively to address climate change
  • explore new ideas and question the status quo.

Our values

At MBIE, our way of working and our behaviour is guided by our values, which help create an inclusive culture. They define how our people behave towards each other, our customers and the partners we work with, and how we work to serve the people of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Mahi Tahi | Better Together

Mā mahi tahi, ka ora, ka puāwai
By working together we will flourish and achieve greatness

  • We collaborate and respect the experiences of others
  • We share our knowledge
  • We connect and partner with our communities

Pae Kahurangi | Build our future

Ka huri taku aro ki te pae kahurangi, kei reira te oranga mōku
We turn our attention to the future, that’s where the opportunities lie

  • We learn from the past to shape the future
  • We protect what’s precious, our taonga
  • We listen to lead the way

Māia | Bold & Brave

Tāwhia tō mana kia mau, kia māia
Retain and hold fast to your mana, be bold, be brave

  • We challenge the status quo
  • We’re curious
  • We explore new ideas

Pono me te Tika | Own it

Ā mātou mahi katoa, ka pono, ka tika
Taking responsibility to commit to doing things right

  • We take responsibility and do what we say we will
  • We embrace the differences of others, always
  • We hold ourselves and each other to account

Alongside our values, MBIE’s culture embraces a spirit of service to the community. Spirit of service is about respecting the experience of others, delivering our services to Grow Aotearoa New Zealand for All, and working together (Mahi Tahi) with other public service agencies to achieve shared outcomes that make the biggest difference for New Zealanders.

Te Ara Amiorangi – Our Path, Our Direction

Since early 2020, our organisational strategy Te Ara Amiorangi – Our Path, Our Direction has informed the way we work to improve wellbeing outcomes for New Zealanders and realise our purpose to Grow Aotearoa New Zealand for All.

Te Ara refers to a pathway, and Amiorangi is a reference to a celestial navigation point. With a focus on intergenerational thinking, and a continued emphasis on responding to COVID-19, Te Ara Amiorangi provides us with a shared direction and tells us where we need to concentrate our effort to successfully navigate the future.

Our outcomes articulate our contribution to making New Zealand a better place. They explain how we aim to support sustainable economic performance and improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders. See pages 27 to 37 for what we have done to progress these in 2020/21.

Our collective focus areas identify where we need to focus to enable New Zealand’s future. To be successful, we must unlock the experience and knowledge of our people across MBIE. It is about working together on things, and in ways, that will help improve New Zealand and people’s experience of engaging with MBIE.

Our capability priorities position MBIE to deliver on our outcomes and purpose. These are the capabilities we need to invest in to ensure we continue to be a successful organisation. It is about building our own team and skills for the journey ahead.

ar 2020 21 cover te ara maori
ar 2020 21 cover te ara english

Our ministers and portfolios

In 2020/21, MBIE was the lead agency in supporting 17 portfolios, and we administered appropriations that were the responsibility of 12 portfolio ministers.

MBIE’s ownership minister, the Minister for Economic and Regional Development, is accountable to Parliament to ensure we carry out our functions properly and efficiently. MBIE’s Secretary is accountable for the leadership and overall performance of the organisation.

Votes administered and portfolios supported by MBIE in 2020/21

VOTE: Building and Construction

Ministerial portfolios
  • COVID-19 Response
  • Building and Construction
  • Housing
Changes to this portfolio after the 2020 general election
  • Greater Christchurch Regeneration – responsibilities under this portfolio have moved to the Housing portfolio

VOTE: Business, Science and Innovation

Ministerial portfolios
  • Commerce and Consumer Affairs
  • Digital Economy and Communications
  • Economic and Regional Development
  • Energy and Resources
  • Infrastructure
  • Māori Development
  • Public Service
  • Research, Science and Innovation
  • Small Business
  • Tourism
Changes to this portfolio after the 2020 general election
  • Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media was split between two portfolios: Broadcasting and Media and Digital Economy and Communications, of which the latter is supported by MBIE
  • Economic Development
  • Regional Economic Development
  • The two portfolios have been combined into the Economic and Regional Development portfolio
  • State Services – now Public Service

VOTE: Labour Market

Ministerial portfolios
  • ACC
  • Immigration
  • Social Development and Employment
  • Workplace Relations and Safety
Changes to this portfolio after the 2020 general election
  • Employment – incorporated into Social Development and Employment

Entities and delivery partners

MBIE has responsibilities covering many organisations. To assist ministers, we monitor a wide range of Crown entities, Crown entity companies and Public Finance Act 1989 Schedule 4A companies, as listed in the table below.

Crown entities

  • Accreditation Council
  • Callaghan Innovation
  • Commerce Commission
  • Commission for Financial Capability
  • Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority
  • External Reporting Board
  • Financial Markets Authority
  • New Zealand Electricity Authority
  • New Zealand Tourism Board
  • New Zealand Trade and Enterprise
  • Takeovers Panel
  • WorkSafe New Zealand

Crown entity companies – Crown research institutes

  • AgResearch Ltd
  • Institute of Environmental and Scientific Research Ltd
  • Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences Ltd
  • Landcare Research New Zealand Ltd
  • National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd
  • New Zealand Forest Research Institute Ltd
  • New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Ltd

Crown entity companies – other

  • New Zealand Growth Capital Partners Ltd

Schedule 4A companies

  • Crown Regional Holdings Ltd
  • Research and Education Advanced Network New Zealand Ltd

Our other responsibilities include assisting ministers with board appointments to Crown entities and a range of other entities, including occupational licensing boards, tribunals, advisory boards and committees/panels, dispute resolution entities, trust boards and industry councils. We also help ministers design regulatory frameworks for implementation by Crown agents. Additionally, we administer appropriations covering many of the Crown’s activities and provide policy advice on the appropriations for various entities (e.g. Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) and Crown Infrastructure Partners Ltd.).

We also have a secondary monitoring role for some other entities (not listed above) and undertake some limited monitoring of two incorporated societies that are not Crown entities: the Building Research Association of New Zealand and the Heavy Engineering Research Association.