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New Look Department of Labour from 1 July

1 July 2004

New Look Department of Labour from 1 July

The Secretary of Labour, Dr James Buwalda, today welcomed the seven Deputy Secretaries who make up the Department of Labour’s new-look Strategic Leadership Team, as the Department enters a new phase in its long history of supporting New Zealanders’ working lives.

“July 1 marks a new and exciting phase in the Department’s long association with the New Zealand labour market and with working New Zealanders, that goes back to its establishment in 1891. The formal establishment today of a new Strategic Leadership Team for the Department is the first step towards our becoming a more customer and outcomes focused Department for the labour market challenges of today, and for the new challenges working New Zealanders face in the 21st century.”

Dr Buwalda said new Deputy Secretaries would take up their roles in a restructured Department consisting of three new operational groups – Workplace, Workforce, and Work Opportunities, replacing the former New Zealand Immigration Service (NZIS), the Occupational Safety & Health Service (OSH), the Employment Relations Service (ERS), the Community Employment Group (CEG), and the Labour Market Policy Group (LMPG).

Dr Buwalda said while 1 July marks an important new phase for the Department, working New Zealanders, including employers, who use the Department’s services will probably not notice much change initially.

“Everything the Department of Labour does is focused on helping New Zealanders achieve high-quality working lives in thriving and inclusive communities. This will continue to be our purpose. However, over time with the establishment of a new Strategic Leadership Team in the form of the new Deputy Secretaries, the Department will focus increasingly on how we can better deliver services to the New Zealand labour market.”

Dr Buwalda said the Deputy Secretaries will also provide the Department with a strengthened leadership capability that will enable it to function more cohesively and ensure improved services for working New Zealanders and employers.

“Today is also the beginning of new and strengthened support systems within the Department. We are now developing new, connected groups which will align our service-delivery responsibilities with the outcomes we want to achieve for the people we serve – working New Zealanders and employers.”

Dr Buwalda said the Deputy Secretaries appointed to the new Department of Labour structure are:

Deputy Secretary – Workplace: Andrew Annakin Deputy Secretary – Workforce: Mary Anne Thompson Deputy Secretary – Work Opportunities: Andrew Crisp Deputy Secretary - Strategy: Marie France Deputy Secretary – Corporate: Brian Sage Deputy Secretary – Legal: Graeme Buchanan Deputy Secretary – Maori: Meka Whaitiri

A special ceremony to mark the 1 July changes, including a Powhiri to welcome the Deputy Secretaries, took place at the Department’s National Office in Wellington today.

Included in today’s announcement, Dr Buwalda said the Department’s new strategic direction for community employment activities will help give effect to recent government decisions about ensuring a sharper focus on labour market outcomes, with the aim of ensuring sustainable employment and high-quality work opportunities for disadvantaged groups and communities. This includes the termination of the Social Entrepreneur Fund. Funding which had been allocated for this programme has been transferred to the Ministry of Social Development, which will use it to support social development initiatives in communities.

“Some New Zealand communities continue to face significant economic and social disadvantage despite a strong economy and sustained employment growth, and a key feature of their disadvantage is poor labour market outcomes.”

“Our focus on positive labour market outcomes from community employment activities will result in changes to the Department’s engagement with communities, with more brokering and facilitation activities between disadvantaged communities and key organisations involved in economic and social development.”

“It’s not enough that New Zealanders have work. New Zealanders want working lives that are of high quality. Their experience of work needs to be positive and fulfilling. People want to earn good wages, but they also want to use their skills, abilities and interests to fulfil themselves at work, be healthy and safe at work and they want to participate in and enjoy the communities they live and work in. The Department provides the information, services and support to everyone in the labour market to help make this possible.”

Dr Buwalda said comprehensive details of the changes, including the Department’s new organisational structure chart, are available on the DoL website www.dol.govt.nz.

ENDS

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