Careers advice

Your options for Government jobs in Aotearoa New Zealand

There’s a wide range of government jobs available, but here are some of the most common.

Last updated: 14 January 2024

When you think about government jobs in Aoteraoa you probably picture the Beehive in Wellington. After all, that’s where the government of the day sits, and where the big decisions are made.

But in reality, ‘government jobs’ includes everything from the central government to local and regional councils, meaning it’s possible to find these roles scattered across the motu. Here are just a few examples of what the options for government jobs can look like.

Central government jobs

1. Policy analyst jobs

While the government of the day comes up with the policies, there are many stages involved in an idea going all the way to becoming legislation. Policy analysts play an integral role in this process, developing policy and providing advice and briefs to ministers on potential consequences of its implementation.

Importantly, as public servants, policy analysts have to be loyal to the government in charge at the time. This means that, even if you disagreed wholeheartedly with a policy, you’d need to put this aside and work to get it implemented.

Much of a policy analysts’ day-to-day life involves engaging with stakeholders and agencies who may be impacted by a policy, as well as trying to establish the public’s opinions on it. This is then fed back into the policy itself, and may lead to tweaks that will, ideally, enable it to better achieve its objectives.

Policy analyst jobs are interesting but challenging roles.

2. Lawyers

You’ll also be able to find legal roles within the central government. These professionals are also often involved in policy-making decisions because, just like any other organisation, the Government has to abide by the country’s laws. This means that legal professionals will provide advice during the policy-making process to ensure that any new laws don’t fall foul of existing legislation.

Similarly, there are international laws and agreements that Aotearoa New Zealand is signed up to, and these also need to be adhered to.

3. Department specific roles

You might be surprised to learn that many professionals working in roles that appear to be very-much centred around your local area, or institutions within it, are technically employed in central government jobs.

For example, Department of Conservation (DOC) rangers are central government employees, even if they’re working in the wilds of Fiordland or the beaches of Northland. Similarly, unique roles like prison librarians are central government jobs.

4. Behind the scenes personnel

Like any organisation, the central government relies on a whole host of behind-the-scenes personnel in order to keep it ticking over. This includes everyone from HR personnel, fulfilling crucial functions such as hiring candidates, to IT staff who ensure that the digital systems underpinning government continue to run smoothly.

Local and regional council jobs

More interested in making a difference in your immediate area? Local and regional council jobs could be just the ticket.

1. Policy jobs

We won’t go into another full description of what policy jobs tend to involve as it’s very similar to the above, just at a local level. However, it’s safe to say that you’ll find plenty of town, city and regional council levels in Aotearoa New Zealand.

2. Outdoor-focussed jobs

Think that working in government means sitting behind a desk constantly scanning spreadsheets? Think again.

Given that these bodies have jurisdiction over a lot of the public whenua (land) in their areas, there are plenty of local council jobs that allow you to get your hands dirty and work outside among our beautiful landscapes.

For example, you might come across roles in environmental monitoring of different ecosystems, including freshwater, moana (oceans) and regional parks. Protecting such spaces requires input from everyone from scientists to gardeners, meaning that there’s plenty of scope for outdoor jobs within our regional councils, no matter your professional background. There are also interesting roles, such as harbour masters, and lifeguards, which are perfectly suited to someone seeking an active and different career trajectory.

Working for national or local government can take you to interesting places.

3. Infrastructure personnel

There are lots of infrastructure based roles on offer throughout the local councils of Aotearoa New Zealand.

For example, in a somewhat earthquake prone nation like ours, it’s important that we have Building Control Officers who conduct inspections to ensure that local buildings are up to code and safe for their occupants. Similarly, engineers are often employed by councils to oversee major infrastructure projects, making sure that they run on time and on budget, and safeguarding the health and safety of those involved in their construction.

4. Behind the scenes personnel

Just like in central government, nothing in the local and regional councils would get done without the backroom staff who keep everything moving forward. So, if you look on Trade Me Jobs, you’ll also find a variety of HR, IT, accounting and other support personnel who all play a vital role in the workings of local government

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Al Hall
Al Hall

Al Hall is a regular contributor at Trade Me Jobs and Trade Me Property. He’s dedicated to helping people succeed in their aspirations to find their dream job and place to live.