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.