NZ Food Safety Authority to stand alone

Government Media Release

28/05/2007

Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton and the Minister of State Services, Annette King, today announced the separation of the New Zealand Food Safety Authority from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF), thereby creating a new Public Service department administering Food Safety. The new department will be established on 1 July 2007.

"The new department, which will retain the name New Zealand Food Safety Authority ( NZFSA), will continue to protect and promote public health and safety in relation to food and food-related products, and to develop economic opportunities by facilitating access to international markets for these products," Jim Anderton said.

Annette King said that at the time NZFSA was established in 2002, "it was accepted that MAF was New Zealand's only credible brand in international trade. Now, however, NZFSA is operating as a highly reputable agency and no longer needs to be attached to MAF to ensure its credibility in international trade.

"Separating the two agencies will result in more effective relationships for NZFSA and an agency with a clear focus on food safety issues for New Zealanders," Annette King said.

The new department will reflect the services and outputs of NZFSA as it currently operates, preserving the existing responsibilities, services and intersecting networks of both MAF and NZFSA.

"As part of the decision making process, officials from NZFSA and MAF made a significant and valuable contribution. The process was also informed by advice from Fonterra, the Meat Industry Association and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade," Annette King said.

The State Services Commissioner, Mark Prebble, will appoint an acting Chief Executive, who will assume the responsibilities of the Chief Executive of NZFSA until a new CEO is appointed.

Questions and Answers on the New Zealand Food Safety Authority

What will it cost to separate NZFSA from MAF?

Establishing NZFSA as a Public Service department will require a $7.5 million capital contribution, with additional and ongoing costs for both departments of $2.95 million per annum. There is a one-off set up cost of $0.63 million. These costs will be fully funded by the Crown.

Will there be job losses?

No. Only one position in NZFSA will substantively change as a result of the separation. NZFSA will need to fill 15 new corporate service positions to operate as a stand-alone department. However, four of these will be positions transferred from MAF, giving a net 11 new positions.

Will MAF and NZFSA share services?

Yes. As part of a shared services agreement, NZFSA will purchase services from MAF, for a proposed payment of $5.9 million, including contract management, financial services, procurement, payroll and information management. This arrangement will be for a period of five years, with a review clause after two to three years.

How will these shared services be managed?

The preferred governance model is a committee comprising the Chief Executives of MAF and NZFSA, supported by their respective corporate service directors and by a new shared position of Manager, Shared Services.

What will be the functions of the new department?

The functions that will transfer from MAF to NZFSA are those that relate to the administration of the Food Act 1981, the Animal Products Act 1999 (except in relation to live animals and germplasm), the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Act 1997 and the Wine Act 2004.

Who was consulted over this decision?

In addition to officials from NZFSA, MAF and advice from Fonterra, the Meat Industry Association and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Treasury and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet were consulted.

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