Deputy State Services Commissioner Sandi Beatie today announced the appointment of Peter Hughes as Secretary for Education and Chief Executive of the Ministry of Education.

Mr Hughes has been acting in the role since February this year, following the resignation of former Chief Executive Lesley Longstone.  

Peter Hughes is a highly experienced and well respected Public Service Chief Executive. He has spent his entire career in the New Zealand State Sector, starting as a clerk in the Department of Social Welfare. In 2012 he was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for Services to the State.

Mr Hughes has previously served as Chief Executive of the Health Funding Authority, Department of Internal Affairs and Ministry of Social Development. Prior to his current appointment he was Head of School and Professor of Public Management at the Victoria University School of Government.

"I am very pleased we have been able to appoint someone of Peter’s calibre to this important role," Ms Beatie said.

"I am confident Peter Hughes will provide strong and effective leadership to the Ministry of Education to lift its performance, modernise how it operates, and rebuild relationships across the education sector," said Ms Beatie.

"It has been a difficult period for the Ministry and the education sector. I hope that this appointment, and the changes Mr Hughes has already started making, will help the sector move forward."

Mr Hughes’ appointment is for a period of five years and is effective immediately.

Ms Beatie said she is grateful to Victoria University of Wellington for supporting the secondment of Mr Hughes as the Acting Chief Executive and Secretary for Education.

The Ministry of Education is responsible for providing policy advice to the Government on the education system, leadership to the education sector, and the delivery of significant operational functions including special education services, school property management and school payroll. The Ministry has around 2,300 staff in 43 offices around New Zealand.


Media enquiries:  Lisa-Marie Richan, Director, SSC Communications 021 244 1361


Peter Hughes has spent his entire career in the New Zealand Public Sector. He has held a range of senior executive roles encompassing policy, operations and organisation development and has 11 years experience as a Public Service Chief Executive.

Peter was educated at New Zealand's Victoria and Massey Universities as well as earning a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Harvard University, completed while in the United States as a Harkness Fellow of the Commonwealth Fund of New York.  

Peter began his career as a clerk with the Department of Social Welfare. Over the next 10 years he was promoted into senior policy and operations roles. He later moved into executive management, initially as the Southern Region Regional Manager for the New Zealand Income Support Service.

In 2000 Peter was appointed Chief Executive of the Health Funding Authority. He took over managing New Zealand's $7 billion health and disability services spend and implemented organisation wide change to disestablish the HFA, moving staff into the Ministry of Health and District Health Boards.

Peter was appointed Secretary for Internal Affairs later in the same year, and in 2001 was appointed Chief Executive of the Ministry of Social Development.  The Ministry of Social Development is New Zealand's largest government department, with a staff of approximately 10,000 across more than 300 offices.

Peter was named Government Department Chief Executive of the Year by TransTasman magazine in both 2010 and 2011 before being appointed Professor and Head of the School of Government at Victoria University of Wellington.  

He is a fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Management and the New Zealand Institute of Public Administration as well as an accredited member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors. In 2010 Peter was made a Hunter Fellow for services to Victoria University. He is also a Fellow of the Australia and New Zealand School of Government.

Peter was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in The New Year Honours 2012 for services to the State.

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