What is a Royal Commission of Inquiry?


A Royal Commission is the most serious response to an issue available to the Government of Aotearoa New Zealand. It investigates matters of great importance and difficulty.

A Royal Commission is engaged in fact-finding and preventing future recurrences. It investigates why the situation came about and then recommends policy or legislative changes to prevent it happening again.

The Government establishes terms of reference which set out what subjects are to be investigated. However, a Royal Commission is independent from the Government and reports to the Governor-General.

The way the inquiry is conducted and how the Commission is run is decided by the Chair and Commissioners.  The Government cannot interfere in the direction taken by an inquiry or influence its findings.