MFAT’s prestige is expected to bloom again, now the ministry has gone to Seed

Chris  Seed  has been  confirmed  as  Secretary  of  Foreign Affairs  & Trade,  as Point of Order   earlier foreshadowed.  An experienced diplomat, he succeeds  Brook Barrington  who  the State Services  Commission named as CEO of the  Department of  Prime Minister &  Cabinet.

Seed,  who  recently  returned to NZ  after  serving  a  five-year term  as High Commissioner to  Canberra,   is  expected  to   work  closely   with  Foreign  Minister   Winston Peters on his Pacific Reset   policies.

His  appointment  is  understood  to  have been  extremely  well received  by  senior staff  in MFAT, whose  morale  was  severely bruised    during the era of  John Allen   as  CEO.     It is  known  that Peters   has been   keen  to  return  MFAT   to  the   slot   it  enjoyed   before the Allen era    as one of the  key  sources of   advice  to  Cabinet, not  just  on   foreign and trade  policies but  in other   areas  of   national  security.

Seed  served   for   four years as the Deputy Secretary of Defence, Policy and Planning at the Ministry of Defence,  and before   his appointment  as  High Commissioner to  Australia he  was  MFAT’s  deputy secretary of Australia, Pacific, Middle East and Africa and the Europe Group where he led a team of more than 400 staff across 29 international locations.

Seed was the Deputy Secretary of Australia, Pacific, Middle East and Africa and the Europe Group at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, where he led a team of more than 400 staff across 29 international locations.  Now,  as  Secretary,  he heads  a ministry  with a staff of  1500  and a  budget  of  $1.3bn.

State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes says Seed  will be responsible for delivering on the Government’s foreign, international trade, development and climate change policy objectives, as well as contributing to NZ’s broader security, economic and environmental objectives.

Seed’s strong spirit of service can be seen by the positive impact he has had on the interests of New Zealand and New Zealanders throughout his career. His ability to  build  strong, open and  trusting relationships is well respected both in the ministry and internationally”.

Hughes notes  that Seed has led a number of key initiatives to  advance  NZ foreign policy and trade  agenda  including the drive to raise NZ’s profile in the Pacific.




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