O'Connor announces stronger focus for MPI

Minister for Agriculture, Biosecurity, Food Safety and Rural Communities Damien O’Connor announced today that the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) will reorganise its functions to create a stronger focus on core responsibilities.

Mr O’Connor says government will set up four portfolio-based entities, Fisheries New Zealand, Forestry New Zealand, Biosecurity New Zealand and New Zealand Food Safety. 

“Our priority is to achieve greater clarity and unity of purpose for these areas. We are seeking enhanced visibility of government policy and regulatory activities and clearer lines of accountability and engagement for stakeholders.

“We are now looking to the Director General of MPI to work with his team to achieve this, while ensuring prudent and efficient use of taxpayer and industry funds.

“MPI will continue to meet the expectations of our international trading partners as the competent authority.’’

MPI will build up its forestry presence in Rotorua, Mr O’Connor says.

“Rotorua’s location puts it at the heart of our forestry sector and makes it the most appropriate site for a dedicated forestry presence to support the Government’s ambition in this important sector. 

“It’s likely further change in the forest space will occur after policy and operational work to deliver the Government’s ambitious goals in this area.”

Reorganisation of MPI’s functions will occur in the early part of 2018 and will be in place by April.

“I would like to thank MPI staff for their commitment and hard work in the primary sector and assure them that there will be no reduction in staff numbers as a result of these changes. This change is about increasing focus and ensuring greater visibility of fisheries, forestry, biosecurity and food safety,” Mr O’Connor says.

The estimated cost to implement the changes is $6.8 million to establish the four portfolio-based business units. Additional ongoing operating costs are estimated at $2.3m per annum.

Mr O’Connor says reprioritised money from the Primary Growth Partnership Fund will pay for the changes so there will be no additional cost to taxpayers.

“This is a prudent and cost-effective change that can be managed with existing monies.’’

Contact: Sean Scanlon 021 863 138