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2 September 1997
The State Services Commissioner, Michael Wintringham, announced today that Professor Bruce Ross has been appointed the chief executive of the new Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
The new Ministry, which is being created by the merger of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Forestry, formally comes into existence in March 1998. In the meantime, Professor Ross will be the chief executive designate.
Professor Ross is currently the chief executive of the Ministry of Agriculture. He has held that post for a year and will continue to be the Director-General of the Ministry of Agriculture until the new ministry begins operating.
Professor Ross will also become the acting chief executive of the Ministry of Forestry from 6 September. The current chief executive, Dr John Valentine, is leaving the Ministry on 5 September to be the chief executive of the New Zealand Seafood Industry Council.
Professor Ross has a background in agricultural economics. He headed Lincoln University for 11 years, and served a two-year secondment as the head of the OECD's trade analysis division of the agricultural directorate. He has a Masters degree in agricultural science, with first class honours in economic theory.
Professor Ross has been closely involved in advising Ministers while the merger of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Forestry was under consideration. He was a member of the officials' steering group which presented to Cabinet a strategic review of the Government's role in the land-based sectors, and the organisational structures best-suited to that role. The study was provided to Cabinet as part of the consideration of the merger.
"The major task ahead of Professor Ross is the establishment of the new Ministry," Mr Wintringham said. "Professor Ross's depth of understanding of the primary industries in New Zealand, and his work on the merger proposals, give him the background to undertake the task."
Professor Ross will oversee the work that is being done by the transition unit for the merger. The transition unit, which has been working for several weeks, includes representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Forestry, and the State Services Commission.
The merger of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Forestry is aimed at tighter co-ordination of government services in the agriculture, forestry, and horticulture sectors. It will also bring together the biosecurity expertise of the two existing ministries.
Owen Gill, State Services Commission, ph 04 495 6609.