Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade

Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade

Functions and Responsibilities

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (the Ministry) is responsible for protecting and promoting New Zealand’s interests overseas. We administer two Votes on behalf of the Minister of Foreign Affairs: Vote Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Vote Official Development Assistance. We also report to the Minister of Trade and to other portfolio Ministers on specific issues.

The Ministry is the Government’s lead source of advice on foreign and trade policy, on international climate change negotiations, diplomatic and consular issues, and on international development assistance. We also provide legal advice on international issues and are the formal channel for the Government’s communications to and from other countries and international organisations.

Internationally we work to ensure that New Zealand’s voice is heard, that our security and economic interests are advanced and protected, that we contribute to sustainable development in developing countries, and that the rights and safety of New Zealanders abroad are protected.

To achieve these goals we work with foreign governments and other international and non-government organisations in areas of mutual interest. We also lead initiatives on behalf of ‘NZ Inc’ agencies.


Senior leadership
Our senior leadership team is led by Chief Executive Brook Barrington and comprises six Deputy Secretaries, the Principal Capability Adviser, the Principal Change Management Adviser, the Director of Human Resources and the Senior Adviser to the Secretary, Strategy.

Our wider leadership team comprises divisional directors in New Zealand and senior diplomats around the world.

Our work in New Zealand
Our work in New Zealand is shared across regional, functional and support service divisions, led by divisional directors. More information about the work of our divisions is available in the our structure section and on our New Zealand Aid Programme website.

Our international network
Our international network is made up of 55 overseas posts accredited to 126 countries and principal international organisations, nine Consulates-General managed by NZTE and 60 Honorary Consuls.

Our international presence is led by senior diplomats. More than 100 staff from other government agencies are also represented at our posts around the world.

For more information about our overseas representation, including contact details, visit our NZ embassy database.

Other positions held by Ministry Officials
The Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade is a member of the Officials’ Committee for Domestic and External Security Coordination and is an ex officio member of the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise Board, the Pacific Cooperation Foundation Board and the Asia New Zealand Foundation Board of Trustees.

The Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade or the Secretary’s deputy or representative is also an ex officio member of the National Commission for UNESCO.

Services we provide

The Ministry provides a range of services for our stakeholders who include business organisations and the private sector, academia and the media, non-government organisations (NGOs), Māori and interest groups and the travelling New Zealand public. Read about our services in more detail
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