Meet Charlotte Denny – Ministry for the Environment’s newest change maker


The Ministry for the Environment has welcomed Charlotte Denny to the role of Director – Land and Air within its Resource Management directorate. With a passion for policy, economics and driving positive change for New Zealanders, we’re thrilled to have Charlotte on board.Photo of Charlotte Denny

From London newsroom to the Beehive

After post-graduate study at the University of Oxford, Charlotte’s career began in London, where she spent seven years working as a journalist for The Guardian. There she covered economic policy issues including global trade talks on removing agricultural protection – an important issue for New Zealand as well as for developing countries – which took her from London to coffee farms in Guatemala and to the far corners of Uganda and Tanzania. She also covered a major campaign to reduce debt in third world countries, which was a personal highlight.

Returning to New Zealand, she was employed by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in the Policy Advisory Group, where she worked for five years, providing advice first for Helen Clark and then John Key.

“I just enjoyed that immensely”, she says, “At DPMC you get a fantastic view across the whole of Government”. She credits the people she worked with as making her time there particularly special and instrumental in her career trajectory.

Tackling big issues

At DPMC, Charlotte worked on projects addressing issues as far reaching as methamphetamine abuse, youth mental health and championing long term thinking in New Zealand’s public sector system. She moved from DPMC to the Ministry of Health, where she was GM of Strategy and led the refresh of the New Zealand health strategy.

Always up for the next challenge, Charlotte was attracted to her new role at MfE by its great reputation and leadership model, the opportunity to work on complex policy issues and, most of all, the value of the work MfE does.

“I enjoy working on things that are going to make a difference for a lot of people. I think the environment is an area that matters to all New Zealanders – so there is a sense that what you do here is really important.”

Appreciating the Kiwi lifestyle

Like many New Zealanders, the natural environment is close to Charlotte’s heart and she takes every opportunity to spend time at the family bach at Piha, on Auckland’s west coast. Charlotte will be enjoying some downtime there with family over the Christmas break, before launching into a busy programme of work in 2017.