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Authority announces new Chief Executive

Media Release

20 May 2005 – embargoed until 10am

Authority announces new Chief Executive

Today the Environmental Risk Management Authority announced the appointment of Rob Forlong as the new Chief Executive of ERMA New Zealand.

Mr Forlong is currently working as the Divisional Manager, Landcare for the Wellington Regional Council and will assume the role of Chief Executive for ERMA New Zealand on 1 August 05.

"The Authority is delighted to have someone of Rob Forlong's calibre to take over at the helm of ERMA New Zealand,” commented Neil Walter, Chair of the Authority. "The last two years have been a period of major growth and change for ERMA New Zealand. Further work is now underway to strengthen the Agency's capability in line with the wider responsibilities now being placed on it. The next few years will see fresh challenges on both the new organisms and the hazardous substances sides of our work.

“The decisions taken by ERMA New Zealand will be important not only to this but to future generations of New Zealanders. Rob Forlong brings to the job an impressive track record as a leader and manager. He has built an outstanding reputation for his open and consultative style of operation. He has all the experience, ability and personal attributes to provide leadership in the challenging times ahead," Mr Walter said.

Mr Walter paid tribute to the work of the retiring Chief Executive of ERMA New Zealand, Dr Bas Walker.

"Dr Walker was ERMA New Zealand's first Chief Executive", he noted. "Since his appointment in 1996 there has been a significant expansion of the organisation's role and responsibilities. It is to Dr Walker's credit that he has led and managed these changes while maintaining the highest standards of performance and decision-making. He has built up the organisation to the position it holds today. New Zealand has reason to be grateful to Dr Walker for the outstanding contribution he has made in the past eight years."

ERMA New Zealand is the body set up to regulate the introduction and use of hazardous substances and new organisms in New Zealand. It deals with explosives, poisons, insecticides and pesticides as well as other hazardous substances such as gas and petrol. It also decides on the importation and use of plants, animals and other new organisms including genetically modified organisms.

ERMA New Zealand comprises an eight person Authority, an Agency of just over 100 staff and a M?ori Advisory Committee (Ng? Kaihaut? Tikanga Taiao). It works in close cooperation with a number of other government agencies and local bodies to implement the provisions of the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act 1996.

Biographical information

After completing an MSc (Hons) in Zoology in 1988, Rob Forlong worked for the Department of Conservation as a Conservation Officer for coastal and marine environments in Dunedin. He then moved to Wellington to work on conservation policy. In 1993 he moved into the role of Resource Planner for waterways at the Wellington Regional Council - where he began his considerable involvement with the Resource Management Act.

Rob remained at the Wellington Regional Council for twelve years. From 1996 to 2001 he was Manager of the Consents Management process. Since 2001 he has been the Divisional Manager of Landcare. His experience spans relationship management, business and strategic planning, risk management, consultation and marketing. He has attended senior management courses at the New Zealand School of Management and the London Business School.

Not a man to be messed with, Rob has a fourth-dan black belt in Seido karate.


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