Section 6 of the Public Finance Act 1989 (New Zealand) – This section outlines the responsibilities of the Minister of Finance in relation to the management of public finances, including the preparation and presentation of the government’s budget and the monitoring of government expenditure.
Section 6 of the Public Finance Act 1989 (New Zealand) outlines the responsibilities of the Minister of Finance in relation to the management of public finances. This includes the preparation and presentation of the government’s budget, the monitoring of government expenditure, and the management of public debt. The section also requires the Minister to report on the government’s financial performance and to ensure that public funds are used efficiently and effectively.
The relevant laws that apply to Section 6 of the Public Finance Act 1989 include the Public Finance Act itself, as well as other related statutes such as the Fiscal Responsibility Act 1994 and the State Sector Act 1988. Case law and legal principles that pertain to this issue include principles of administrative law, constitutional law, and public finance law.
One key legal issue is the extent of the Minister’s discretion in managing public finances. While Section 6 gives the Minister broad powers to manage public finances, there are limits to this discretion, particularly in relation to the principles of responsible fiscal management and the requirement to act in the public interest. Another key issue is the role of Parliament in overseeing the Minister’s management of public finances, including through select committee hearings and other forms of scrutiny.
There have been several cases that have dealt with issues related to Section 6 of the Public Finance Act. In Attorney-General v Meltzer  2 NZLR 29, for example, the Court of Appeal considered whether the Minister had acted unlawfully by failing to consult with Cabinet before making a decision to increase government spending. The court held that while there was no strict legal requirement for Cabinet consultation, it was a relevant factor to be taken into account in determining whether the Minister had acted reasonably and in good faith.
Other relevant cases include the recent decision in New Zealand Māori Council v Attorney-General  NZSC 33, which considered the government’s use of public funds for the COVID-19 response, and the earlier case of Fitzgerald v Muldoon  2 NZLR 615, which dealt with the constitutional limits on the government’s power to spend public funds.
Based on the application of law to the facts, it is likely that the Minister of Finance has a significant degree of discretion in managing public finances, but this discretion is subject to certain limits and principles of responsible fiscal management. The key legal issues that need to be addressed include the scope of the Minister’s discretion, the role of Parliament in overseeing public finances, and the requirement to act in the public interest.
In terms of advice to the client, it is important to ensure that all decisions related to the management of public finances are made in a transparent and accountable manner, and that the principles of responsible fiscal management are followed at all times. Any potential ethical issues or conflicts of interest should also be carefully considered and addressed.
The potential implications or consequences of a breach of Section 6 of the Public Finance Act could include financial penalties, reputational damage, and legal action. It is therefore essential to ensure that all actions related to public finance management are carried out in accordance with the law and best practices.