Senior appointments announced

Date:  06 July 2017

Secretary for the Environment Vicky Robertson has today announced two senior appointments to the Ministry for the Environment.

Cheryl Barnes has been appointed Deputy Secretary, Organisational Performance and Operations, and Dr Alison Collins has been appointed Departmental Science Advisor. 

“Both of these roles are critical to our vision of making New Zealand the most liveable place in the world and ensuring our environment is able to support our way of life, now and for future generations. This work is increasingly based on a collaborative approach that strengthens and builds partnerships across the environmental system, and Cheryl and Alison will directly contribute to that”, Ms Robertson said.

The Organisational Performance and Operations Division that Cheryl leads not only includes the Ministry’s corporate functions but also teams that deal with important issues such as waste management, funding for freshwater clean-ups, remediation of contaminated sites and environmental education.

“These are areas that New Zealanders care greatly about, and Cheryl’s strong public sector leadership experience and innovative approach will be invaluable in driving progress,” Ms Robertson says.

Ms Barnes brings over 20 years of experience in the New Zealand public sector, most recently at the New Zealand Treasury, where she held a range of leadership roles, including on budget and fiscal policy and state sector reform.  She holds a Masters of Public Policy from Victoria University and a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from Leeds University in the UK. 

"Likewise, I cannot overstate the importance of the Ministry delivering top quality science to inform environmental decision making, and hence the importance of Alison’s role as our top science advisor. Quality data and information, delivered in line with our science roadmap, will not only underpin Government policy making, but also be part of our conversations with business, local government and others so they can make fully informed decisions.”

Dr Collins has interests in climate, land, water, ecosystems and data science and has worked in government agencies and universities in the UK and New Zealand.  Since 2005 Alison has been a science leader at Crown Research Institute Landcare Research.  She holds a PhD in earth science from University of Nottingham, a Masters in Land and Water Science from Cranfield University, UK and a Bachelor (Hons) in geography from University of Nottingham.  Alison starts with the Ministry on 3 August.