This page provides information about the Ministry for the Environment's leadership team.
Vicky Robertson – Chief Executive
Vicky Robertson is the Secretary for the Environment, appointed in April 2015. An internationally experienced executive with a background in law and economics, Vicky is a champion for inclusive growth, transparency and accountability in the state sector. Before her appointment, Ms Robertson was a key member of the Treasury’s senior leadership team, where she held Deputy Chief Executive, Chief Operating Officer and Acting Secretary and Chief Executive positions.
Ms Robertson has extensive experience across a range of complex policy frameworks. She represented the Treasury in several capacities, including the steering group that established the programme to deliver the Mixed Ownership Model for State Owned Enterprises. Her leadership experience extends to strategic organisational initiatives, such as the Treasury’s programme to develop stronger relationships with Maori. Her professional accomplishments also include a year’s secondment to the United Nations Development Programme, where she led a strategic and structural review of the organisation.
Vicky is passionate about diversity as a critical factor in high performing organisations and speaks regularly at business and industry forums. She has worked extensively with iwi throughout her career and in recent years has attended Treaty of Waitangi events as a senior representative. She has been involved in significant interdepartmental strategic policy programmes, including the Social Housing Programme, the establishment of KiwiSaver, the New Zealand National Retirement Savings Scheme and leading the group involved in a cross-departmental review of New Zealand’s Climate Change policy.
Cheryl Barnes – Deputy Secretary Water and Climate Change
Cheryl Barnes is Deputy Secretary for Water and Climate Change. Her role is to ensure the ministry provides leadership and stewardship that will make a difference for future generations of New Zealanders.
Cheryl responsibilities include strategic leadership and policy advice across freshwater quality and management, and climate change mitigation and adaptation. She also leads work on monitoring the state of New Zealand’s water resources and reporting to the world on New Zealand’s emissions.
These issues are central to New Zealand’s transition to sustainable land use and a sustainable low emissions economy. The work she leads sits within the wider context of supporting the ministry to pursue its vision of making New Zealand the most liveable place in the world.
Cheryl joined the Ministry for the Environment as Deputy Secretary, Organisational Performance/Chief Operating Officer, and managed teams dealing with a variety of issues such as human resourcing, people and culture, as well as water management, funding for freshwater clean-ups, remediation of contaminated sites and environmental education.
Prior to that she was the Director of Budget and Public Services at the Treasury, where she held a range of leadership roles, including on budget and fiscal policy and state sector reform.
Cheryl holds a Masters of Public Policy from Victoria University and a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from Leeds University in the UK. She is mother to two young daughters.
Amanda Moran – Deputy Secretary Resource Management System
Amanda Moran is the Deputy Secretary Resource Management System. She is responsible for implementing the resource management system including national direction, and leading the Ministry's work programme on liveable cities, land, natural hazards, biodiversity, and air quality. Much of Amanda’s work is carried out in partnership with central government agencies, local government, iwi, professional bodies, businesses, and NGOs.
Amanda has a history of developing high performing policy teams, and delivering robust advice on complex work programmes, including Kaikoura Earthquake response, development of the Resource Legislation Amendment Act 2017 and the Urban Development Capacity National Policy Statement.
Since 2006, Amanda has worked in a variety of roles for the Ministry, most recently as Director, Resource Management System. Before this she held planning and policy roles in local government in the UK and New Zealand. Amanda holds a Certificate in UK Planning Law and Practice from Leeds Metropolitan University, a Master’s Degree in Regional and Resource Planning from the University of Otago, and a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) also from the University of Otago.
James Walker, Deputy Secretary, Partnerships and Customers
To achieve the best environmental outcomes for New Zealand, the Ministry needs to partner with change-makers and mobilise as many New Zealanders as possible to take action. James heads the Ministry’s Partnerships and Customers Division which leads this work. The division brings together the work of communications and engagement, Māori/Iwi partnerships, and environmental investment funds.
Before joining the Ministry, James was general manager of corporate affairs for Countdown, part of the Woolworths Group. He has also worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and served as Deputy Ambassador for New Zealand in the Netherlands.
Claire Richardson – Chief Operating Officer
Claire is responsible for the Ministry's corporate and organisational performance, Ministerial services, and organisational development.
Claire has diverse international experience spanning multiple sectors including international film and television, international aid, and joins the Ministry from the Auckland Council where she held a number of senior roles.