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Appointment Of The Secretary For Internal Affairs

Mediacom-Release-State-Services-Commissioner

The State Services Commissioner, Michael Wintringham, announced today the appointment of Peter Hughes as the Secretary for Internal Affairs and chief executive of the Department of Internal Affairs. Mr Hughes - who is currently the interim chief executive of the Health Funding Authority - has more than 15 years experience in senior operational management and policy advice positions in the State sector.

Mr Hughes will take up the role on Monday, 4 December. Mr Hughes's appointment follows the departure of the current Secretary for Internal Affairs, Roger Blakeley. Dr Blakeley has been appointed the chief executive of the Porirua City Council.

Mr Hughes has held a series of senior roles in social services. He has been a Deputy Director-General of Health, with responsibility for monitoring and improving the performance of health service providers and contractors. He was previously the General Manager - Implementation at the Ministry of Health, with responsibilities that included aspects of regulation and licensing, and the development and implementation of policy in disability support services, personal health services, and mental health services. In that role, Mr Hughes was responsible for 220 Ministry staff and an operating budget of $25 million.

In the early 1990s, Mr Hughes was the southern regional manager of the Income Support service of the Department of Social Welfare. He was responsible for 1,000 staff working in 21 offices. Under Mr Hughes's leadership, the southern region effected major improvements in frontline service.

Mr Hughes has a Masters in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He studied for that degree while on a Harkness Fellowship, and was among the top students who graduated from the Kennedy School in 1993. He has a BA from Victoria University of Wellington.

Mr Hughes was a member of the change team on targeting of social assistance that was established by the newly-elected Government in 1990. In 1991-92 Mr Hughes took a leading role in the reorganisation of the Department of Social Welfare. The reogranisation saw the department shift from a conventional, departmental structure to a series of business units.

Mr Wintringham said Mr Hughes brought to Internal Affairs a combination of experience in operational management and policy. "Mr Hughes's experience, as an operational manager and as a policy advisor, reflects the nature of the Department of Internal Affairs - a department that provides services to citizens and policy advice to Ministers.

"Mr Hughes has a track record of successful management in operations and policy," Mr Wintringham said.

The Department of Internal Affairs has about 1000 staff and annual expenditure of $167 million. It provides policy advice to Ministers (including on local government, censorship, national identity, ethnic affairs, and citizenship), regulatory services in gaming and censorship, and it issues documents of national identity. The department has overall responsibility for support services provided to Executive government, and it provides services in community development, including managing lottery grant applications. The Ministry for Emergency Management is part of the department.

Mr Wintringham said that Brenda Tahi, who has been the general manager, strategic management support, at Internal Affairs, would be the acting chief executive at Internal Affairs until 4 December.

Ends

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