Upheaval in public service after sweeping changes
Sweeping changes in the public service have seen some of the country's top civil servants shuffled between agencies, including the hugely powerful Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes made the surprise announcement on Tuesday, saying he had decided to deal with the vacancies as a package to "remove uncertainty and maintain momentum in key roles and portfolios".
The biggest movers were DPMC boss Andrew Kibblewhite and MFAT boss Brook Barrington. Corrections boss Ray Smith is also moving on, taking up a new role as Director General of Primary Industries.
Barrington will move across to DPMC, while Kibblewhite is the new Justice secretary and CEO. Kibblewhite was head of DPMC under National. There is not usually an expectation that they move on after a change of Government, even though they are expected to help implement the policies of the government of the day. Kibblewhite's predecessor Maarten Wevers was appointed by Helen Clark and stayed on under National.
Barrington was a MFAT star and is credited with restoring order to a department that was in turmoil when he took over.
Justice Secretary Andrew Bridgman will head the Ministry of Defence, replacing Helene Quilter who's term expires in 12 months time. His term does not start till June 2019, while Kibblewhite takes over at Justice in February.
There will also be change at the Department of Internal Affairs, where chief executive Colin MacDonald is stepping down. Culture and Heritage chief executive Paul James will take up the role in October.
Hughes said under the State Sector Act 1988, a vacancy or impending vacancy for a chief executive role can be filled in one of three ways: reappointment of an incumbent, transfer from one department to another or by advertising the role and seeking applications for appointment to it.
"These appointments will be made by transfer," Hughes said.
"This approach ensures we retain strong, experienced leadership and continue to drive important transformation programmes underway across the Public Service. Stability of leadership is a critical component of delivering the promised changes."
The shake up includes some of the highest paid jobs in the public sector: Kibblewhite received total remuneration of $610,000 to $619,000 in the 2017/17 financial year while Barrington received $550,000 to $559,000 at MFAT.
The Corrections CEO earned $520,000 to $529,000. Internal affairs carried an even bigger pay packet, at $630,000 to $639,000.
Hughes confirmed the hunt was now on to fill vacancies created by the big shake up at MFAT, Corrections and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.
The jobs would be advertised and filled over the next 12 months.