Peter Hughes new State Services Commissioner

  • John Key
Prime Minister

Prime Minister John Key has today announced the appointment of Peter Hughes CNZM as the next State Services Commissioner and Head of State Services.

Mr Hughes has been appointed for a five year term starting on 4 July 2016.

“I am very pleased to appoint Peter Hughes as the next State Services Commissioner and Head of State Services,” says Mr Key.

“Peter has dedicated his working life to the public service and is one of New Zealand’s most experienced and respected Public Service Chief Executives.

“The State Services Commissioner is a vital role, leading and overseeing the performance and integrity of the State Services, employing most Public Service Chief Executives, as well as driving the ongoing improvements of the State sector and how it operates.

“Peter has strong relationships with other Public Service leaders, Ministers and Members of Parliament across the political spectrum, as well as business, industry and union leaders. He will be an effective leader of our public service.”

Mr Hughes is currently the Chief Executive and Secretary for Education, a role he has held since February 2013.

Mr Hughes replaces Iain Rennie, who has held the position since 2008.

“I would like to thank Iain for his work, he has made a significant contribution to New Zealand State Services. I wish him all the very best for the future,” says Mr Key.

The State Services Commissioner is appointed under the State Sector Act 1988 by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. The Minister of State Services had oversight of the recruitment process on the Prime Minister’s behalf.

Peter Hughes - Biography

Mr Hughes began his career as a clerk with the Department of Social Welfare. He was promoted through policy and operational leadership positions before entering executive level management in the New Zealand Income Support Service. He then served as Deputy Director-General of Health, Chief Executive of the Health Funding Authority and Secretary for Internal Affairs.

In 2001 he was appointed Chief Executive of the Ministry of Social Development, New Zealand's largest government department.  He held this role for ten years before becoming Professor of Public Management and Head of the School of Government at Victoria University of Wellington from 2011 to 2013.  

Mr Hughes studied at Victoria and Massey Universities and holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Harvard University, completed while studying as a Harkness Fellow of the Commonwealth Fund of New York.  

He is a fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Management and the New Zealand Institute of Public Administration. In 2010 Mr Hughes was made a Hunter Fellow for services to Victoria University, and he is also a Fellow of the Australia and New Zealand School of Government.

Mr Hughes was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2012 for services to the State, and in 2013 was voted Wellingtonian of the Year in the Government category.