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Appointment Of CEO Of Justice Ministry

Appointment Of Chief Executive Of Ministry Of Justice

The State Services Commissioner, Michael Wintringham, today announced the appointment of Belinda Clark to the position of Chief Executive of the Ministry of Justice and Secretary for Justice.

The Government announced earlier this year that a new Ministry of Justice was to be formed by the merger of the Department of Courts into the existing Ministry of Justice, in order to improve the links between policy and operations.

Ms Clark is Chief Executive of the existing Ministry of Justice and Secretary for Justice, a position she has held for over two years. She has also been acting Chief Executive of the Department for Courts since March 2003.

Ms Clark is a lawyer (LLB Hons and LLM) who began her career as a diplomatic officer with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This included a 4 year posting to the UN in New York where she specialised in human rights issues and multilateral legal instruments. She then practised commercial and banking law as a senior associate with Rudd Watts and Stone (now Minter Ellison) before returning to the Public Service as group manager, Crown-Mâori relationship (Policy) at Te Puni Kôkiri. She was appointed Director of the Office of Treaty Settlements in 1995, a position she held for three years, and then became the General Manager, Policy, Planning and Purchasing at the Accident Compensation Corporation from 1998 to 2001.

At the Office of Treaty Settlements, Ms Clark was at the centre of the Government's programme for settling historical claims under the Treaty of Waitangi. The Tainui and Ngai Tahu claims were settled during this period.

Mr Wintringham said during Ms Clark’s term as Chief Executive of the Ministry of Justice she had improved the performance and capability of the department and had won respect for her leadership of the justice sector.

“I am confident that Ms Clark will be able to meet the challenges posed by the merger of the two departments.

“She has the leadership skills required to align the policy and operational work of the new Ministry and the relationship management skills required to work with other agencies to improve overall justice sector performance,” Mr Wintringham said.

Ms Clark will take up the appointment at the Ministry of Justice from 1 October 2003, when the Department for Courts will merge into the Ministry of Justice to form the new Ministry. The new Ministry will have a staff of over 2,400.

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