25 June 2019
State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes has today announced Dr Caralee McLiesh, PSM, to the position of Secretary to
the Treasury and Chief Executive, the Treasury.
The Secretary to the Treasury, the largest of the public service chief executive roles, leads and oversees New Zealand’s
public finance system, and is the principal economic advisor to the Minister of Finance and the Government.
“This is a big and important role for New Zealand and the Public Service,” Mr Hughes said.
“I am delighted to appoint Dr McLiesh. She is a highly respected, world-class economist with very strong fiscal,
economic policy and financial management credentials.”
Dr McLiesh is currently Managing Director at Technical and Further Education (TAFE) New South Wales (NSW), Australia,
where she leads an organisation of about 17,000 people with a budget of AUD$1.8 billion. She has been in that role since
September 2018, leading the transformation of TAFE NSW to become a more modern, competitive and sustainable
Prior to this, Dr McLiesh was employed at the NSW Treasury in several Deputy Secretary roles from 2008-2018. During her
time at the NSW Treasury Dr McLiesh led the development of State Budgets, covering AUS$80 billion operating expenditure
and AUS$350 billion in assets. In her most recent role at NSW Treasury (Deputy Secretary for the Fiscal and Economic
Group), Dr McLiesh advised the Treasurer (NSW’s equivalent of the Minister of Finance) and government agencies on fiscal
and economic policy, coordination of the Budget and state sector accounts, taxation, intergovernmental relations and
balance sheet management.
One of her most notable achievements was the development of Australia’s first Social Impact Bond, to deliver better
services and results for families at risk. This work earned Dr McLiesh the Public Service Medal of Australia (2017) for
outstanding public service to social impact investment policy and reform in NSW.
Mr Hughes said Dr McLiesh has a decade of executive leadership experience and a track record of delivering in complex
economic, political and organisational environments, including advising governments on regulatory reforms in more than
30 OECD and developing countries. Her work for the World Bank has given her a strong background of delivering reform in
partnership with a range of stakeholders. Her work as a principal author on the World Development Report 2002, and as a
co-founder of the Doing Business project, helped with regulatory reform in hundreds of countries.
“Dr McLiesh has more than 20 years’ experience in the government, international, not-for-profit, and commercial sectors
and has led large, complex reforms with multiple stakeholders to improve citizen outcomes,” said Mr Hughes.
“I have no doubt the Public Service and New Zealand will benefit from her skills and experience.”
Dr McLiesh has been appointed for five years from 16 September. Until then, the current Deputy Secretary, Budget and
Public Services at the Treasury, Mr Struan Little, will be the Acting Secretary to the Treasury.