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Department of Internal Affairs office move 

After 32 years at Lambton Quay, over the Xmas period, the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) will commence its relocation of Wellington based people from a number of Wellington locations to the St Paul’s building at 45 Pipitea Street as part of the Government Property Group’s (GPG) (formerly PMCoE) Wellington Accommodation Project Tranche 2 (WAP2). 45 Pipitea Street will be formally handed over from its construction partner to DIA on Wednesday 20 December 2017.

DIA has taken a 15-year lease on 45 Pipitea Street (the St Paul’s building) with the option to extend for three six year periods if required. We have around 1,150 people working out of six buildings around Wellington who will relocate to 45 Pipitea Street.

As a result of the move - DIA is forecasting to save $29.16m over 20 years in accommodation costs.

In 2014, DIA was allocated the St Paul’s building by the GPG as part of the WAP2, which is reducing and future proofing the office space leased by government agencies in Wellington, and the move coincides with the expiration of some DIA leases.

Besides delivering substantial savings in lease costs, GPG has developed workplace guidelines to help government agencies implement better ways of working within office spaces.

We are building a fit for purpose workspace that enables better collaboration opportunities and better utilisation of space. The modern office layout is open plan for everyone.

The move is planned over the holiday period to minimise disruption.

Why we’re moving

The majority of staff from three of DIA’s current buildings in Wellington, plus additional teams located at DIA’s Victoria Street, Molesworth Street (National Library of New Zealand) and Mulgrave Street (Archives New Zealand) premises are relocating to the new workplace. By moving to 45 Pipitea Street, we will be consolidating our property footprint and bringing nearly half of our staff under one roof – as well as forming a DIA or Pipitea Precinct with National Library and Archives New Zealand, making it easier for those in the precinct to work together.

DIA has looked at the move as an opportunity to create a workplace environment that better supports our people to work smarter and collaborate more easily with one another. Having approximately 1,150 people in one building will reduce the time staff currently spend travelling between buildings.

The move to Pipitea Street is forecast to come in under budget and the final costs will be confirmed when the project is completed in early 2018.

Throughout the project we have looked to get the best value for money. This funding is separate from, and has not impacted, funding for DIA’s core frontline services.

45 Pipitea Street (St Paul’s building)

DIA is leasing all 13 floors of 45 Pipitea Street– around 14,000sqm in total and is reducing the amount of office space per person from approximately 19m2 to around 12m2.

The first floor of the building is able to accommodate the various meetings and functions DIA host each year – with a flexible space that can be reconfigured into a large meeting area for 150 people. This will create future savings in external venue hire.

The building will have a mix of formal and informal collaborative and meeting areas and shared spaces, allowing staff to use the whole building as their workspace, not just a desk. This provides greater flexibility to suit people’s individual working styles. The introduction of flexible desking also means that changes in staff numbers can be accommodated more seamlessly.

DIA has been planning in advance for the shift. Furniture and other office equipment has not been replaced over several years. As we are changing the size and configuration of our work stations to enable more desks, we have had to buy mostly new furniture and did so through a government procurement panel which enabled a competitive price.

This furniture will have a 10 year warranty and is designed to last and cope with heavy usage. A lease agreement with an existing landlord leaves the existing furniture to the landlord, furniture from other buildings will be reused, recycled or donated to charitable organisations where practicable.

In addition to the building move, DIA has taken the opportunity to look at how to make the working environment over time for all DIA locations more efficient, collaborative and supportive of people’s working needs (in terms of technology, spaces, furniture and a flexible working environment) as well as reinforcing positive behaviours such as good information management, health and safety, privacy and security and change leadership.

We have taken into account learnings from other agencies. A robust communication and organisational readiness programme has been wrapped around the building move, to ensure that people are well prepared for the relocation so that anticipated outcomes are achieved.

Key facts

  • DIA has occupied Lambton Quay for 32 years
  • DIA is reducing the amount of office space per person from 19m2 to around 12m2
  • DIA is forecasting to save $29.16m over 20 years
  • The move is projected to come in under budget, on time and within government guidelines
  • The move is over the holiday period to minimise disruption
  • This is part of a wider government property project to create savings for government through office space economies of scale.

Forecast project costs at February 2018

The final projected spend is $29.14 million, which includes construction contingency.

The major projected cost areas are as follows:


Projected spend

Overall projected costs


Pre project initiation, lease negotiation, and business analysis


Construction costs


Soft fit-out


IT infrastructure (Networking, Decommissioning, Server Migration etc)


Relocation costs


External consultants (Architect, Engineers, Quantity Surveyor, Project Manager)


Internal project costs


Organisational readiness, change management and communication costs



Below you will find the key decision documents regarding the Department’s move to 45 Pipitea Street

These include:

  • GPG WAP2 DIA Ministerial Report Back
  • Internal memos detailing key decisions

Redactions have been made from the released documents in accordance with the following sections of the Official Information Act 1982:

  • Section 9(2)(a) to protect the privacy of natural persons. We have removed the names of staff who are note senior managers in DIA to protect their privacy.
  • Section 9(2)(b)(ii) and 9 (2) (ba) (i) to protect the commercial interest of suppliers. Information that is commercially sensitive has been removed so as to not prejudice the commercial position of suppliers and contractors.
  • Section 6 (c) as sharing the information may prejudice the maintenance of the law, including the prevention, investigation, and detection of offences, and the right to a fair trial

Information which relates to other government departments has been removed as out of scope.
In preparing this information release, the Department of Internal Affairs has considered the public interest considerations in section 9(1) of the Official Information Act.

Key decision documents:

Memo to Executive Leadership Team, Workplace Project, dated 23 September 2014

Memo to SRO, Workplace Project Strategic Design Brief, dated 16 May 2016

Memo to Chief Executive, BOF Workplace Project – DIA Wellington Accommodation Ministerial Report Back, dated 27 April 2016

Joint MBIE and DIA report to the Minister of Finance and the Minister of State Services, DIA Wellington Accommodation Final Commercial Terms, dated 29 April 2016

Memo to Chief Executive, St Paul’s Development Agreement and Lease, dated 1 June 2016

Memo to DCE, Workplace Design Deliverable 4 – Detailed Design sign off, dated 16 December 2016

Memo to SRO, St Paul’s Furniture approval, dated 18 June 2017


Will this have any impact on services?

No, services will continue to be delivered – see map

Haven’t you just spent millions renovating a building?

The National Library building in Wellington was closed for three years for essential refurbishment in 2009.  National Library records are valued at almost $1 billion and modernising the building made its treasures much more accessible and safe. The project was delivered on-time and within budget. National Library continues operating at full capacity in conjunction with 45 Pipitea Street, and together with Archives NZ the buildings form a DIA Precinct.

Who decided on 45 Pipitea Street?

GPG has arranged the lease for 45 Pipitea Street, in consultation with DIA and other government stakeholders, as part of the best allocation of property across the agencies in the WAP2 project.  The location and size of the building makes it an ideal fit for rationalising a number of DIA properties with expiring leases, close to its existing owned buildings (National Library and Archives New Zealand).

Will there be a reduction in employees as a result of the move?


How many people will you fit into the new building?

Up to 1,200 DIA staff can be accommodated at 45 Pipitea Street.

What about the commercial providers currently in the building (café etc)?

These are contractual matters between the various businesses and the landlord of the building.

What is happening to your existing office accommodation?

Refer to landlord.

Who is supplying furniture?

We are using an All of Government supplier who has been sourced from the MBIE panel of providers and they will be supplying all of DIA furniture across the country in the future.

How safe is the new building?

45 Pipitea Street is over 90% of the New Building Standard for seismic resilience and will provide a safe and secure building for our staff. 

Why are you moving now?

The lease for 147 Lambton Quay, DIA’s main building, is expiring in 2018. This move has been carefully planned and we have worked in partnership with the GPG over the last three years to prepare for such a large scale move.

Are your people in 45 Pipitea Street hot-desking?

DIA has implemented activity based working at 45 Pipitea Street. DIA people will have modern office spaces which support the work we do, and improved tools including modern technology. Within the Pipitea Street workplace, people will have a ‘home base’ while also benefitting from being able to choose to work elsewhere in the workplace if that best suits their needs.

How is this an organisational change?

We are focused on improving connection and collaboration between staff, and on utilising advancements in technology, working practices and workplace designs to support our shared ambition to ‘Make DIA a high performing organisation and a great place to work’.

Has the Public Service Association (PSA) been engaged with?

There has been ongoing consultation between the Department and the PSA, with DIA giving due consideration to PSA feedback, including questions and concerns.

Have you provided any non-essential amenities like hair straighteners?

We support the health and wellbeing of our people. We have provided bike racks in the basement and there are shower and gym locker facilities available.  We see these things as necessary in a modern workplace.

Related Official Information Act responses

6 April 2018

The following documents have been released under the Official Information Act 1982 (with redactions as indicated):

Response letter  (PDF, 224KB)

Attachment 1 (PDF, 2.7MB)

Attachment 2a  (PDF, 7.3MB)

Attachment 2b  (PDF, 7.3MB)

Attachment 3  (PDF, 141KB)