26 March 2024

Acting Public Service Commissioner Ms Heather Baggott has today announced the appointment of Mr Ben King to the position of Secretary and Chief Executive of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC).

The role of the Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet is to lead and manage the agency and provide daily advice to the Prime Minister and Cabinet, in particular on policy priorities and their timely and successful implementation across the Public Service. 

The Secretary is also the lead advisor on security and intelligence matters to the Minister for National Security and Intelligence, including intelligence assessments through the National Security Group.

“I’m very pleased to appoint Mr King to this role,” Ms Baggott said.

“Mr King is a proven leader with extensive experience working in the New Zealand Public Service and advising Ministers on sensitive and complex issues.”

Mr King is currently Deputy Chief Executive (Policy) at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), where he leads MFAT’s engagement with the defence, security and intelligence sectors and is responsible for strategic advice and policy alignment across the Ministry’s portfolio. He previously held the role of Deputy Secretary, Americas and Asia Group at MFAT from September 2017 to February 2020. 

From 2015 to 2017, Mr King was New Zealand’s Ambassador to Thailand, Cambodia and Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR). Prior to this he was a Foreign Policy Advisor in the Policy Advisory Group at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Ms Baggott said Mr King is well-prepared to lead DPMC and work with agencies across the Public Service to advise on and deliver the Government’s priorities. 

“Mr King has respect amongst his peers, internationally and domestically, is solutions driven and he has the credibility to perform the intelligence and security duties required for the role,” said Ms Baggott.

“He is committed to achieving high performance and meeting the standards expected of the Public Service.” 

Mr King holds a Bachelor of Social Sciences (First Class Honours) from the University of Waikato and a Master in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

He has been appointed for five years from 8 April 2024.


Since 2020, Mr King has been in the role of Deputy Chief Executive (Policy), Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade.

From 2017 to 2020, he was MFAT’s Deputy Secretary, Americas and Asia Group.

Prior to this (2015—2017), Mr King was New Zealand Ambassador to Thailand, Cambodia, and Lao PDR.

From 2012—2014, he was in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Policy Advisory Group as the Foreign Policy Advisor.

Before this Mr King held a number of roles at MFAT between 2000 and 2011.

From 2009 to 2011 he was Head of the Trade and Economic Section (Counsellor), New Zealand Embassy, Washington DC.

He was Senior Negotiator in MFAT’s Trade Negotiations Division in 2008—2009.

And for three years (2004—2007) Mr King was Deputy Chief of Mission at the New Zealand Embassy in Riyadh.

In 2004 he was Senior Policy Officer, Americas Division and from 2000—2004 he was Second Secretary (Economic), New Zealand High Commission, Canberra.

From 1998 to 2000 Mr King was Private Secretary (Trade) and Press Secretary to the Minister for International Trade.

He started his public service career in 1997 as Development Programme Manager, Development Cooperation, at MFAT.


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