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Chief Executive And Secretary For Internal Affairs

The State Services Commissioner, Michael Wintringham, announced today the appointment of Mr Christopher Blake as chief executive of the Department of Internal Affairs and Secretary for Internal Affairs.

Mr Blake is currently chief executive of the National Library of New Zealand and National Librarian, a position he has held for the last four and a half years. Previously he was the chief executive of the newly established Ministry of Cultural Affairs from 1991 to 1997.

Mr Blake started his career as a civil engineer, although he has held numerous positions in arts administration.

"Mr Blake has the experience and personal style needed to manage the diverse roles and responsibilities of the Department of Internal Affairs. He has a proven record as chief executive of several different public sector organisations," Mr Wintringham said.

"He is a good fit for the organisation. He will maintain the momentum on improvements to the performance and the capability of the Department started by the previous chief executive and acting chief executive. This appointment will bring stable management of this important department that has had a number of chief executives over the last three years," he said.

The Department of Internal Affairs has a diverse range of functions. It is responsible for providing policy advice and support to five Ministers. It provides information and services on matters relating to local government, identity services, citizenship, community development, gaming, racing, censorship, emergency management and State visits and ceremonies.

Mr Blake will take up the position in June.

The chief executive vacancy arose late last year when Mr Peter Hughes was appointed to the position of chief executive of the Ministry of Social Development. Since that time Ms Katrina Bach has been the Acting Chief Executive of the Department of Internal Affairs.

Mr Wintringham acknowledged the work of Ms Bach particularly in overseeing the completion of major reviews of local government and gaming legislation. She has been in the acting position for eight months. She will return to her previous position as Deputy Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Development.

Mr Wintringham said he would start immediately an appointment process to find a new chief executive for the National Library. If necessary an acting chief executive will be appointed for an interim period.


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