Attorney-General (New Zealand)

Attorney-General (New Zealand)

Attorney-General (New Zealand)

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The Attorney-General is a political office in New Zealand. It is simultaneously a ministerial position and an administrative office, and has responsibility for supervising New Zealand law and advising the government on legal matters. The current Attorney-General is National Party Minister Chris Finlayson.

Responsibilities and powers

The Attorney-General has two main areas of official responsibility. Firstly, the Attorney-General has ministerial jurisdiction over the Crown Law Office, the Parliamentary Counsel Office, and the Serious Fraud Office. Secondly, the Attorney-General is the principal law officer of the Crown, responsible for supervising the state's administration of the law and for providing legal advice to the government. In the latter role (but strictly not in the former), the Attorney-General is assisted by the Solicitor-General, a non-partisan official. This is to reduce the extent to which the Attorney-General's actions on behalf of the state (as opposed to the government) can be influenced by their political allegiance.

A more complete description of the Attorney-General's powers can be found in the prepared by the Crown Law Office, which the Attorney-General supervises.

The position of Attorney-General is distinct from that of Minister of Justice, although the two posts are sometimes held by the same person, eg Martyn Finlay 1972-75.

At present, there is no statutory basis which establishes the office of Attorney-General, although the position is referenced...
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