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Merged MAF Focuses On Growing & Protecting NZ

NEW ZEALAND - A unified and redesigned Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) will be strongly placed to support the success of New Zealand's primary sectors, says MAF Director-General Wayne McNee.

Ther MAF confirmed the detailed design of the new Ministry following the merger of MAF with the Ministry of Fisheries.

"The new Ministry will be the 'gateway to government' for the primary sector, with a clear vision of 'Growing and Protecting New Zealand'," Mr McNee says.

"The changes we are making will build a unified Ministry strongly focussed on the success of the primary sectors, the engine room of New Zealand's export economy. Our Strategy, and its four pillars of maximising export opportunities, improving sector productivity, increasing sustainable resource use and protecting from biological risk have been the driving force behind the redesigned MAF."

Mr McNee says MAF will have a stronger focus on identifying and maximising opportunities for Maori fisheries and agri-business. It will also be taking a more consistent approach to regulations across the fisheries, agriculture, food and forestry sectors.

Science will have a stronger voice within the Ministry and will continue to underpin MAF's decisions in areas such as fisheries catch limits.

"We are creating a Ministry that is agile, informed, adaptable and continuously improving its services," says Mr McNee.

"Our stakeholders will see a difference. We will partner with them, and seek to enable their success. Our design seeks to establish a clear view of stakeholder issues from the paddock and the ocean to the plate."

In line with the earlier proposals for consultation, staff reductions will be largely in areas providing cross-organisation services such as corporate services and policy advice. There are no decisions to reduce the number of staff who are fisheries surveillance officers, quarantine inspectors or animal welfare officers.

Overall the changes will mean a reduction of 233 positions, of which 105 are currently vacant, with the majority in Wellington.

Mr McNee says the next step will be the appointment of staff in senior management roles, which is expected to be completed by the end of this year. Appointment processes for staff in all roles are expected to be completed in early 2012.

the Fish Site Editor

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