Policy Adviser

New Zealand High Commission, Canberra

Are you a policy adviser/analyst with a keen interest in New Zealand’s political, foreign policy, trade and economic objectives?

The New Zealand High Commission in Canberra is seeking a locally employed Policy Adviser to help advance and support New Zealand’s interests in Australia.

The New Zealand High Commission in Canberra is responsible to the New Zealand Government for its official relations with Australia.  The High Commission works closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Wellington. other Australia-based New Zealand agencies, particularly NZ Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) in the promotion of New Zealand’s interests.

As Policy Adviser, you will play an important role in supporting our engagement with government officials, academic contacts and think tanks active in Canberra.  You will be responsible for conducting research and analysis, preparing policy reports and undertaking outreach with a range of Australian government decision makers. 

Your excellent research and analytical skills, coupled with strong written and oral communication skills, and the ability to build and maintain effective relationships with a wide range of stakeholders, will be key to your success.

You should hold a relevant tertiary qualification and have ideally you will have two to three years of policy experience.  New Zealand citizenship is essential and an ability to obtain and maintain an appropriate New Zealand Government security clearance is required.

If this role sounds like you, please download the attached position description (link).

The terms and conditions of employment will be in line with Australia’s employment legislation.  The successful applicant, if resident outside of Canberra, will be responsible for costs associated with relocation to Canberra. 

Application Procedure

If this role is of interest or you would like to find out more, please contact Mike Ketchen on mike.ketchen@mfat.govt.nz or Rachel McLean on Rachel.mclean@mfat.govt.nz

Applications must be received by midday (AEST) of the 14th August 2019.

Applications including your CV and a covering letter should be emailed to the following address nzhccba@bigpond.net.au



Position Title: Policy Adviser

Reports To: Deputy High Commissioner Canberra

Location: Canberra

Group: Europe, Middle East, Africa and Australia Group

Date Created/Updated: July 2019


About the Ministry

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (the Ministry) acts in the world to make New Zealanders safer and more prosperous.  We do this by building connections with and influencing other countries to advance New Zealand’s interests, project New Zealand values and secure the outcomes that matter to New Zealand. We pursue the Government’s international priorities and provide advice to the Government on the implications for New Zealand of what is happening in the world.

Our work contributes to New Zealanders’ wellbeing in the following ways:

  • Kaitiakitanga: Generations of New Zealanders benefit from sustainable solutions to global and regional challenges;
  • Prosperity: New Zealanders have better job opportunities and incomes from trade, investment and other international connections;
  • Security: New Zealanders are able to live, do business, travel and communicate more safely at home and offshore;
  • Influence: New Zealanders have confidence their country can influence others on issues that matter for them now and in the future.

Our values are:


  • We achieve for New Zealand, everyday, everywhere


  • We draw strength from our diversity


  • We do the right thing


  • We honour and respect others


Diversity and Inclusion

We aspire to be a workplace that values and utilises diverse and inclusive thinking, people and behaviours. This means that our staff reflect the diversity of New Zealand and the countries we work in, and that the contributions of staff with diverse backgrounds, experiences, skills and perspectives are valued and respected.

About the High Commission

The High Commission represents the New Zealand Government to the highest standards of professional excellence in diplomacy, trade negotiations and consular services.  This is done by building connections with the host country and other relative accreditations that enable the New Zealand Government to achieve more than they could alone.

The High Commission takes a distinctively New Zealand approach, reflecting New Zealand’s diversity and heritage.  Our values are impact, courage, kotahitanga and manaakitanga.

About the Position

The Policy Adviser is responsible the advancement of New Zealand’s foreign policy interests by influencing a network of relationships, providing high quality policy delivery and reporting on the government’s objectives for New Zealand’s relations with Australia, with an emphasis on Australian approaches to foreign and security policy in South and South East Asia.

This position supports the achievement of the post’s strategic priorities and high level outcomes as outlined under the key accountabilities.  In doing this the Policy Adviser works as an integral member of the foreign policy team, alongside the Counsellor and Second Secretary,  to prepare formal reporting, briefings and other documentation.

Key Accountabilities

The following key accountabilities of this role assist in delivering the Ministry’s purpose.

  • Role Specific (core focus on foreign and security policy in South and South East Asia but supplemented with other issues which are subject to change)
  • Contribute to the advancement of NZ’s foreign policy objectives by maintaining an active dialogue with a relevant network of Australian contacts to advocate NZ positions and report on Australian policies and approaches.
  • Contribute to the advancement of NZ's engagement with South and South East Asia by reporting on Australian approaches to and assessments of the countries in the region. Advocate for New Zealand’s positions and explore avenues for Australia-New Zealand cooperation in the region.
  • Facilitate engagement and cooperation on wider foreign policy, security and defence strategy issues as required and allocated within the Foreign Policy team.  These areas might include, but are not exclusive to, counter-terrorism and countering violent extremism; back-up to officers working on North Asia, North America, the Middle East and the Pacific; defence policy; and Australia’s strategic approach to the Indo-Pacific.
  • Support NZ’s relationship  with countries in South and South East Asia, in particular with respect to those countries which are cross-accredited to Wellington from Canberra.
  • Lead the post’s engagement on commemorative matters by reporting on Australian approaches to Gallipoli and other commemorations and by building relationships with key Australian stakeholders such as the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the Australian War Memorial.
  • Maintaining and updating the post’s contingency plan and engaging with key stakeholders in Australia and New Zealand on matters related to contingency response.
  • Support the work of the rest of the wider Policy Team as required.
  • Demonstrate the organisation’s values, goals, policies and procedures.
  • Contribute to building a strong team spirit and level of engagement, acknowledging team contribution and achievement as appropriate.
    Relationship Management:
  • Establish and maintain access and influence: research, identify, purposefully target and build the support of key people of influence who can make a difference where and when we need them. 
  • Effectively use and contribute to the post’s map of relationships that matter: decision-makers, policy-makers, thinkers and influencers.
  • Undertake targeted representational activities.
     Policy Delivery:  
  • Gather information, analyse and report on issues relevant to the post’s planned and agreed activity stream to deliver its strategic priorities and high level outcomes, identifying problems and recommending processes for resolving problems.
  • Contribute to an environment where existing assumptions and policy approaches are regularly tested and constructively challenged. 
  • Maintain high standards in the quality of outputs and ensuring a culture of learning, sharing of experiences and constructive challenging of thinking as required.
  • Advocate New Zealand interests and positions and report to Wellington on outcomes.
  • Represent New Zealand in policy discussions, advocacy meetings, negotiations and public diplomacy activities at post.
  • Assist New Zealand delegations for bilateral, regional and international meetings and negotiations as required.
      Visits and Events:  
  • Assist as required in managing the post’s visits and events, working with the Visits and Event Logistics Unit and outsourced providers as required
  • Escort visitors and ensure accurate reporting and effective follow-up.


  •  Be familiar with the Post Security Instructions and adhere to these at all times.

            Relationship Management:

  •  Develop and maintain key relationships both internally and externally in order to advance the post’s objectives.
     Organisational Responsibilities:  
  • Understand the Ministry strategic priorities and high-level outcomes framework and how this role contributes to the post’s part in delivering the framework.
  • Contribute to the post’s delivery of its planned and agreed activity stream to deliver its strategic priorities and high level outcomes.
  • Understand the strategic context in which the post operates, including understanding the priorities and perspectives of the New Zealand Government, Ministers, partner agencies and external stakeholders such as New Zealand firms doing business with countries of accreditation.
  • Contribute to the preparation and reporting requirements of the Ministry’s accountability documents.
  • Contribute to the post’s consular and office management including security responsibilities as required.   
  • Contribute to emergency response situations as required.
  • Understand tikanga and Treaty of Waitangi principles and have sufficient appreciation of Te Reo Māori, to be able to apply the Ministry Māori dimension, underpinned by Ministry values, in a way that is relevant to the context of Ministry business.   
  • With guidance from manager identify, pursue and implement learning and development opportunities to build and deepen expertise as it relates to posts strategic priorities and high level outcomes.
  • Understanding of Government and the Public Service.     
  • Understand the machinery of government, including the Ministry’s relationship with Ministers and other government agencies.
  • Understand the role of posts in representing the New Zealand Government overseas.  
    Knowledge Management:  
  • Contribute to the continuous development of the Ministry’s knowledge base by using the Ministry’s internal systems, sharing information and data with relevant internal stakeholders.

Health and Safety

The Ministry is committed to providing a safe and healthy working environment for all staff, including contractors and other workers, both on and offshore.

You are responsible for:

  • taking reasonable care of your own and other’s health and safety and being mindful of the effect of your actions (or lack of action) on the health and safety of others.
  • complying with reasonable Ministry instructions to ensure the Ministry is able to comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
  • cooperating with health and safety policies and procedures.
  • identifying and reporting hazards, injuries, illness and incidents (including near misses) that arise from your work or in the workplace.
  • identifying and eliminating or mitigating health and safety risks so far as reasonably practicable and consulting with others in doing so.
  • raising health and safety matters with your manager or health and safety representative (or contact as appropriate).
  • ensuring that all health and safety incidents, injuries, near misses are immediately reported through the HR Kiosk.
  • ensuring that significant hazards and risks or critical incidents are drawn to the immediate attention of your Manager.


Qualifications, Skills, knowledge & experience

The following are required:


  • Relevant post graduate degree or conjoint/double undergraduate degree.


  • Ability to convey information logically and concisely in both written and oral forms. Sound      planning and organising skills.
  • Sound understanding of tikanga and Treaty of Waitangi principles.
  • Competent in Microsoft Office suite of products.
  • An understanding of the machinery of  Government and the Government decision making process.
  • Strong qualitative and quantitative analytical skills.
  • Ability to work effectively with colleagues within the Division, post, network and wider.
  • Sound judgment and decision making skills.
  • Ability to think strategically and see linkages between different streams of work.
  • Ability to work effectively with a diverse group of people from a range of cultures and backgrounds.
  • Demonstrated drive and ability to improve own capability, including strong self-awareness and      self-improvement focus.


  • Two-three years’ experience contributing to the development of foreign policy advice (desirable but not essential).
  • Proven ability to build, maintain and leverage relationships with key internal and external contacts.
  • Ability to contribute to group decision making.


The position is required to build and maintain the following relationships:


  • Manager.
  • Other post staff.
  • Supervisory division.
  • Other MFAT staff, both onshore and offshore.


  • Advisers to Australian ministers and members of Parliament,  government agencies, business, academia, regional and international institutions and organisations, other diplomatic missions, media and influential members of the New Zealand community.
  • Other New Zealand government departments and agencies working in or with countries of accreditation.
  • Other diplomatic missions accredited to countries of accreditation.



Mandatory Role Requirements

  • You must be able to obtain and maintain an appropriate New Zealand Government Security clearance.
  • You must hold New Zealand citizenship.   
  • A current driver licence is required.