Merged MAF focuses on Growing and Protecting NZ

13 October 2011

A unified and redesigned MAF will be strongly placed to support the success of New Zealand's primary sectors, says MAF Director-General Wayne McNee.

MAF today confirmed the detailed design of the new Ministry following the merger of MAF with the Ministry of Fisheries.

"The new Ministry will be the 'gateway to government' for the primary sector, with a clear vision of 'Growing and Protecting New Zealand'," Wayne McNee says.

"The changes we are making will build a unified Ministry strongly focussed on the success of the primary sectors, the engine room of New Zealand's export economy. Our Strategy, and its four pillars of maximising export opportunities, improving sector productivity, increasing sustainable resource use and protecting from biological risk have been the driving force behind the redesigned MAF."

Wayne McNee says MAF will have a stronger focus on identifying and maximising opportunities for Māori fisheries and agri-business. It will also be taking a more consistent approach to regulations across the fisheries, agriculture, food and forestry sectors.

Science will have a stronger voice within the Ministry and will continue to underpin MAF's decisions in areas such as fisheries catch limits.

"We are creating a Ministry that is agile, informed, adaptable and continuously improving its services," says Wayne McNee. "Our stakeholders will see a difference. We will partner with them, and seek to enable their success. Our design seeks to establish a clear view of stakeholder issues from the paddock and the ocean to the plate."

In line with the earlier proposals for consultation, staff reductions will be largely in areas providing cross-organisation services such as corporate services and policy advice. There are no decisions to reduce the number of staff who are fisheries surveillance officers, quarantine inspectors or animal welfare officers.

Overall the changes will mean a reduction of 233 positions, of which 105 are currently vacant, with the majority in Wellington.

Wayne McNee says the next step will be the appointment of staff in senior management roles, which is expected to be completed by the end of this year. Appointment processes for staff in all roles are expected to be completed in early 2012.


The legal merger of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry with the Ministry of Fisheries occurred on 1 July 2011.

Phase 1 of the MAF/Fish merger change process involved defining the high-level branch structure (8 branches). Decisions on this structure were announced on 16 June following a period of consultation with staff.

Phase two (the current phase) involves consulting and taking decisions on the detailed design of each of the new branches. This has involved examining the current structure and identifying and removing duplication, as well as finding efficiencies in how services are delivered. The new branch structures will begin to come into effect from November 2011.

In summary, the decisions aim to:

  • concentrate resources on the organisation's core functions
  • reduce costs to stakeholders and taxpayers, while aiming to improve services delivered
  • increase organisational agility and flexibility
  • establish clear decision rights and assigning accountability for the work of each group.
  • demonstrate a clear and integrated view of stakeholder issues, from paddock/ocean to plate.

In parallel with the merger programme, the Ministry has been developing the organisational strategy. The strategy was approved by Cabinet on 8 August 2011 and defines MAF's vision as 'Growing and Protecting New Zealand'.

What do the changes mean for the Ministry?

The new branch designs integrate our existing functions, creating a strong platform for growing the primary sectors while increasing the use of sustainable resources and protecting from biological risk. They build a Ministry that delivers on our organisational strategy goals.

Will our borders, fisheries and food safety systems remain secure?

Yes. In summary the decisions with frontline services are:

  • Fisheries surveillance officers: No changes in numbers or locations of fisheries surveillance officers, or honorary fisheries officers.
  • Animal Welfare: No changes have been made to the number of front line animal welfare inspectors and investigators.
  • Biosecurity Frontline: No reduction has been made to the number of quarantine inspectors or functions performed. The Japan offshore car inspection programme is scheduled to cease on 1 July 2012 (this is not related to the merger). The quarantine inspectors working in the offshore programme will return to their home sites at the end of their secondments.
  • Other front line changes: No changes are occurring outside management alignment in any other frontline functions.

The Ministry is looking to make savings – is it just doing this through reducing headcount?

No. Staff numbers are reducing to enable the Ministry to perform its role effectively and efficiently and to avoid duplication. We are also making savings through reductions in operational spending (such as travel budgets etc).

Will any of the Ministry's offices have to close as a result of the changes?

No offices will close as a result of design decisions. As business needs arise and leases expire, we will examine the business case for consolidating office space in regions where there are currently more than one office.

What is the timeline from here?

Thursday 13 October

Decision documents provided to all staff. Managers brief staff and available to discuss decisions.

Friday 14 October Selection process for senior (Tier 3) managers begins. Tier 4 managers process to begin following week.
By end 2011

Senior managers (Tier 3 and Tier 4) appointed

By March 2012

Staff appointments completed.

What's the overall impact of decisions?

Savings will enable us to meet budget targets.

Overall impacts include

  • Net reduction of 233 positions throughout NZ, of which 105 are currently vacant;
  • 166 positions reduced in Wellington. Auckland is the only other centre with a reduction of more than 10 positions;
  • The majority of reductions are in roles providing organisation-wide services (for example information services, policy, administrative support functions);
  • No reduction in the number of staff who are: Fisheries surveillance officers; quarantine inspectors; animal welfare officers.


Last Updated: 13 October 2011

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