18 January 2024

Public Service Commissioner Peter Hughes today announced the appointment of Brook Barrington as the Acting Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Acting Chief Executive, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

“I am very pleased to appoint Mr Barrington to this role,” the Commissioner said.

After returning from a leave of absence to be with family, Mr Barrington has resigned as Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Mr Barrington felt now was the best time to step aside, so there can be continuity of leadership throughout the term of the Government.

A process to make a permanent appointment to the role of Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet will commence shortly. While this is underway, Rebecca Kitteridge will continue as Acting Secretary, a role she has held since March 2023.

Mr Hughes thanked Mr Barrington for agreeing to act as Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Trade, a role he has held previously in a permanent capacity. Mr Barrington will take up the role on 7 February following the retirement of the current Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Chris Seed. Mr Barrington will remain in the role until a permanent appointment is made.

Mr Hughes paid tribute to Mr Seed who is retiring after a distinguished career and nearly 40 years of public service, including five years as New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Australia.

“Mr Seed is a highly skilled, professional foreign service leader and diplomat who has led a number of initiatives to advance New Zealand’s foreign affairs and trade agenda and, in particular, has increased our country’s presence in and support for the Pacific region,” said Mr Hughes.

“He is a respected and dedicated public servant who has been able to successfully manage important international relationships to balance competing interests to protect and promote New Zealand’s interests overseas. I thank him for his service.”

Mr Hughes also thanked Mr Barrington for the outstanding job he did as Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

“Mr Barrington’s experience, judgement and intellect have been critical, in particular with the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“He is an outstanding leader and diplomat and I am pleased we will continue to benefit from his expertise and experience.

“He is a very fine public servant and I thank him for his service to New Zealand.”

 Media queries: Grahame Armstrong 021 940 457 or grahame.armstrong@publicservice.govt.nz