Treasury seeks new head
By Pattrick Smellie
Dec. 13 (BusinessDesk) – The most influential public service job in the land is up for grabs, with the State Services Commission advertising today for applications to take over as Secretary to the Treasury when incumbent John Whitehead retires next August.
Whitehead will be leaving after close to eight years at the helm of the most powerful government department.
While others, such as the governor of the Reserve Bank or the Auditor-General have powers of their own that over-ride Parliament’s, no other department reaches so deeply into every facet of the state’s activities as the Treasury’s.
Whitehead joined The Treasury in 1982, worked as the Treasury’s secondee in the white-hot political environment of Prime Minister David Lange’s office during the 1988 meltdown with Finance Minister Roger Douglas, and took the helm in 2003, following current Reserve Bank governor, Alan Bollard.
In the last two years, Whitehead oversaw a senior management restructure which saw the departure of some very long-serving colleagues, and the promotion of Andrew Kibblewhite, a former Prime Minister’s Office adviser to both Helen Clark and John Key, to the position of deputy secretary.
Kibblewhite was joined by the appointment of Gabrial Mahklouf, recruited from HM Revenue and Customs in the U.K., and Whitehead also created a new position of chief economist, filled by Norman Gemmell, an economics professor from the University of Nottingham.
The SSC appoints the Secretary to the Treasury, who is responsible to the Minister of Finance.
The job description on the SSC website says the requirements for the next Secretary’s term are: “strengthened economic performance; improved resilience of the New Zealand economy; improved performance and reduced cost of Government services; and improved performance of The Treasury at lower cost.”
The department has an annual budget for its core economic advisory and monitoring activities of $57 million.