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What the Auditor-General does

It costs billions of dollars a year to run a small country like New Zealand. Our people pay taxes, rates, and fees and this "public money" is used to pay for everything from building and running hospitals, schools, and roads to protecting our borders and wildlife, cleaning up after natural disasters, promoting tourism and exports, and supporting our sports teams.

Our Auditor-General checks that public money is being spent properly and that what we pay for is working well. Often called Parliament's "watchdog", they have the job of telling Parliament how government spending is going across the board and to speak out when they see anything that needs fixing. The Auditor-General also keeps an eye on local councils' spending to make sure that local communities are being served as planned.

The Auditor-General's work in the public sector gives them unique insight into the workings of our country. No other organisation, public or private, has the overview of the whole public sector that the Auditor-General has. Their independence from the Government of the day is protected by law and they can pretty much say what they think about what's happening in the public sector to anybody.