Chief Executive Appointment: Ministry Of Social Development
The State Services Commissioner, Michael Wintringham, announced today the appointment of Peter Hughes as chief executive
of the Ministry of Social Development, which will come into operation from 1 October. Mr Hughes is currently the chief
executive of the Department of Internal Affairs. He was formerly the acting chief executive of the Health Funding
Authority and he has been a senior manager in Income Support and at the Ministry of Health.
Mr Wintringham said the Ministry of Social Development would have two main roles - to deliver employment and income
support services nationwide, and to provide the Government with advice on service delivery and on social policy,
including strategic social policy. The Government intends that the Ministry will become the primary advisor on
cross-sectoral strategic social policy, and on the effectiveness of all policy from a social perspective.
"Mr Hughes has extensive experience as an operational manager in the health sector and, previously, in the Income
Support service of the former Department of Social Welfare. He has a sound understanding of service delivery in large
Government departments," Mr Wintringham said.
"Mr Hughes also has the intellectual capability and acumen to lead an agency providing strategic policy advice to
Ministers, and providing leadership to other departments working in related areas. He has demonstrated those qualities
while he has been in charge of the Department of Internal Affairs," Mr Wintringham said.
"Mr Hughes also has the leadership abilities to lead more than 5,500 staff, and to keep them motivated and focussed on
the job at hand.
"Mr Hughes is a career public servant, who started out 20 years ago working as a benefits officer with the Department
of Social Welfare. His direct knowledge of the social welfare system - and his experience in a wide range of roles over
20 years - gives him a particular insight into how social service delivery agencies work in practice."
Mr Wintringham said that the acting chief executives at Work and Income and at the Ministry of Social Policy, Dame
Margaret Bazley and Mel Smith, had begun bringing together the two organisations to form the Ministry of Social
"Now Mr Hughes will lay the groundwork for, and build the long-term stability of, the department."
Mr Hughes was appointed the chief executive of the Department of Internal Affairs and Secretary for Internal Affairs
late last year. Earlier he was the acting chief executive of the Health Funding Authority. He has also been a Deputy
Director-General of Health with responsibility for monitoring and improving the performance of health service providers
In the early 1990s, Mr Hughes was the southern regional manager of the Income Support service of the Department of
Social Welfare, responsible for 1,000 staff and 21 offices.
Mr Hughes has a Masters degree in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He
studied for that degree while on a Harkness Fellowship, and he was among the top students who graduated from the Kennedy
School in 1993. He has a BA from Victoria University.
He was first employed in the Department of Social Welfare in 1981 as a benefits officer. He became a staff training
officer in 1982, and he worked on the Ministerial review of benefit fraud and abuse in 1986-87. He worked on the change
team for targeting social assistance in the early 1990s, then on the Department of Social Welfare organisational review
before he was appointed southern regional manager. He joined the Ministry of Health in 1995 as general manager,
corporate and information. He was appointed general manager, implementation, in 1996, before being appointed a Deputy
Director-General in 1998. He was the acting chief executive of the Health Funding Authority last year.
The Ministry of Social Development will have about 5,500 staff and an annual appropriation of almost $13.2 billion
(including transfer payments). It will be the largest department in the Public Service.
Mr Wintringham said he would start immediately an appointment process to find a new chief executive for the Department
of Internal Affairs. "I would like to announce an appointment to that position before Christmas."
Mr Hughes will begin at the Ministry of Social Development on 1 October. An acting chief executive at Internal Affairs
will be announced shortly.