State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie has today announced the appointment of Lewis Holden to the newly created role of Deputy Commissioner, Auckland.

Mr Holden is currently Chief Executive of the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

"This is a first step to the state services engaging more effectively  with Aucklanders to better understand  what they need from us and how they need us to deliver it.

"Auckland is the social and economic centre of a rapidly changing New Zealand and we need the state services to be thinking, organising and operating differently if we are to play a part in realising the potential of what is now one of the world's most diverse cultural cities."

"Mr Holden is a very capable and experienced Public Service Chief Executive who has worked closely with Auckland's leaders and institutions for a number of years as part of his current role and previously as a senior official involved in economic policy," Mr Rennie said. "He has the skills and experience to work with Auckland's leaders, communities and institutions to forge a future where the public, private and community sectors work together to improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders."

The move is not a signal that public service departments will be moving to Auckland.

"It is about a public service system that is better designed to understand the people and the places it serves and is able to respond more effectively in those places." Mr Rennie said. "The Christchurch earthquake experience has taught us a lot about the importance of understanding deeply the needs of New Zealanders in a place and engaging them in meeting those needs."

"This is not just about Auckland, but Auckland is over a third of New Zealand's population and economy and it faces unique challenges that the state services need to focus on. Coming to grips better with those challenges will teach us a lot about relating to the unique needs of other places."

Mr Rennie said the appointment builds on a reform programme that is aimed at the state services working better together and with others on the issues that are going to make the most positive difference to New Zealand and New Zealanders.

In his new role Mr Holden will be a State Services Commission employee based in Auckland and will work out of the Auckland Policy Office, which is run by the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). The new role is being funded from within SSC baselines at no extra cost.

Mr Holden will take up his new role on 11 May 2015.

ENDS

Media enquiries:  Tim Ingleton, SSC Communications 04 495 6648

A photo of Mr Holden is available, please email SSC-Media@SSC.govt.nz

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