Possible Merger Of Agriculture And Forestry Ministries

  • Dr Lockwood Smith

Merging the Ministries of Agriculture and of Forestry is being given serious consideration, Agriculture and Forestry Minister Lockwood Smith announced today.

A merger would be aimed at greater efficiency and co-ordination of government services involving agriculture, horticulture and forestry, Dr Smith said.

"I want to see these sectors make the best contribution they can to our economic, environmental and social wellbeing," the minister said.

"I believe a merger of the two ministries could offer the best possible organisational arrangements for achieving this result and also lead to some cost savings."

Dr Smith said the two ministries already work together and co-ordinate their activities in a number of areas, such as biosecurity and environmental resource management.

The proposed merger will be subject to a strategic review by officials and to Cabinet approval.

Dr Smith expects to have the review teams report on the merits of a merger by the end of next month.

The minister said he hopes to have a merged operation in place by October this year if the review team and Cabinet give the merger the go-ahead.