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New Zealand Government Statistician



The State Services Commissioner, Michael Wintringham, announced today that the Government Statistician, Len Cook, will be leaving the New Zealand Public Service in May to take up the position as the United Kingdom National Statistician and Director of the UK Office for National Statistics. Mr Cook

Mr Wintringham said that Mr Cook's appointment highlighted the quality of New Zealand public servants. "Mr Cook has been appointed the chief statistician to the UK Government in an open, international appointment round. His experience and skills were the best the British could find.

"The appointment is also international recognition of the quality of Statistics New Zealand, the department that Mr Cook has led for eight years."

In his new role, Mr Cook will have similar responsibilities to those he has had as Government Statistician in New Zealand. He will lead a department of 3,000 employees.

Mr Cook, who has a degree in mathematics and statistics from the University of Otago, was appointed Government Statistician and chief executive of Statistics New Zealand in January 1992. He was previously the Deputy Government Statistician.

At Statistics New Zealand, Mr Cook has made major improvements in the quality and timeliness of key economic statistics. He has also introduced carefully managed and planned improvements in the department's information technology so that Statistics is regarded as a leader in State sector information technology. Mr Cook has also taken initiatives to improve structural information that will support social policy initiatives.

Mr Cook has also been an advisor on several major public policy projects. In 1988 he was a member of the Royal Commission on Social Policy, and in 1991 he was an advisor to the Prime Minister's special conference aimed at developing durable policies on superannuation. In 1981 he was an advisor to the McCaw committee on taxation reform.

"Overall," Mr Wintringham said, "Mr Cook recognises the wider role of statistics in supporting high-quality policy advice and policy implementation, particularly in economic and social policy.

"Mr Cook recognises and has demonstrated that, in government, statistics is much more than solid number-crunching."

Mr Wintringham said that he would begin an appointment round for a Government Statistician, to replace Mr Cook, shortly. Under section 37 of the State Sector Act 1988, the State Services Commissioner appoints the Government Statistician.



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