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. Continue reading “MFAT’s prestige is expected to bloom again, now the ministry has gone to Seed”
Outside the Wellington Beltway, not much attention has been paid to two key appointments in the state sector. Both posts go to outstanding women leaders who for several years have fulfilled the early promise they showed in the public service.
After a successful career at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, where she has been serving Deputy Secretary, Multilateral and Legal Affairs Group, Bernadette Cavanagh will take over as CEO of the Ministry of Culture & Heritage from February 1. There had been speculation Cavanagh, a daughter of former PM Jim Bolger, could be a candidate to succeed Brook Barrington as head of MFAT when he moves over to the DPMC.
The other key appointment by State Sector Commissioner Peter Hughes is to the post of Comptroller of Customs, a role which has assumed increasing importance because of the reliance on border security and management in protecting the NZ economy. Continue reading “Two outstanding women are appointed to top public service jobs”
Cabinet’s appointments committee meets shortly for the last time this year and one of its principal agenda items will be finding a new CEO for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade to replace Brook Barrington, who will take over as head of the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet in February.
There has been some interesting twists to the process. As with all CEO appointments, it is run by the State Services Commission which engages a specialist recruiting firm. However, Commissioner Peter Hughes has faced down criticism from within the public service and beyond after he used a little-known clause of the legislation when he despatched current DPMC CEO Andrew Kibblewhite to Justice and moved Justice CEO Andrew Bridgman to Ministry of Defence and Barrington to DPMC.
Continue reading “Speculation builds on Brook Barrington’s successor to take charge at MFAT”
State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes, announcing five top appointments in the state sector, said he decided to deal with the vacancies as a package to remove uncertainty and maintain momentum in key roles and portfolios.
The Dominion-Post headlined the news as“Upheaval for public service”. Richard Harman in Politik, labeling it as the most comprehensive reshuffle of top public service management “ever”, argued the govt is saying the move reflects its desire that a more unified old-style public service be further developed. David Farrar, in Kiwiblog, noting the appointments were made by transfer, thought this is the first time this power has been used.
“It is very good to see these decisions made before most of the roles fall vacant. This means no need for an Acting CE, and gives good continuity and direction”.
Equal Employment Opportunities Commisioner Dr Jackie Blue has a different take on it. She blasted the process as unfair to top women in the public service, and contended the vacant positions should have been contestable. Continue reading “State services: what’s behind the “upheaval”?”