29 Apr 2013

MPI chief executive resigns

1:49 pm on 29 April 2013

The chief executive of the Ministry for Primary Industries has resigned to take up a role in the private sector.

Wayne McNeee is to become chief executive of the Livestock Improvement Corporation.

Mr McNee has been chief executive since 2011, when the ministry was formed by a merger of the agriculture and forestry, and fisheries ministries.

He has served in the state sector for the last 14 years and headed the the Government's drug-buying agency Pharmac, the Ministry of Fisheries and, in 2010, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy said Mr McNee oversaw the successful creation of MPI, and the merger has saved the Government $20 million a year.

The grower organisation Horticulture New Zealand and some frontline MPI staff have criticised the restructuring and other cost cutting measures which have been introduced - saying they've made New Zealand much more vulnerable to biosecurity incursions.

The State Services Commission says Mr McNee is obliged to give three months notice of his resignation and the process to appoint a new chief executive will begin in the coming weeks.