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Debbie Power

Chief Executive

Ministry of Social Development

Faculty: Expert contributors

Aotearoa New Zealand

Image of 2023 ANZSOG conference speaker Debbie Power

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Debbie took up her role as Chief Executive, Ministry of Social Development (MSD), in February 2019. Debbie was previously the Statutory Deputy State Services Commissioner, State Services Commission, from August 2015. In this role, Debbie led the Commission through a complete change in the way it works, including embedding a new vision, mission, values, governance and leadership structures and the implementation of a new operating model. Debbie was also accountable for supporting the Commissioner with chief executive appointments, performance management and led work to restructure and simplify chief executive remuneration.

Debbie started her public service career in 1980 as a frontline case manager at the then Department of Social Welfare. Debbie has held a range of senior roles in MSD including Deputy Chief Executive, Service Delivery; Deputy Chief Executive, Office of the Chief Executive; and Regional Commissioner, Northland. Debbie oversaw a range of significant projects in these roles, including the implementation of Welfare Reform and the movement of social housing needs’ assessments from Housing New Zealand
to MSD. Between 2007 and 2010, Debbie worked as a Private Secretary at Parliament where she oversaw the interface between MSD and Ministers. Debbie has also worked in the United Kingdom for the Department for Work and Pensions in the
Efficiency Division at Job Centre Plus, delivering working-age support services. Debbie holds an Executive Masters in Public Administration from Victoria University of Wellington and has attended the Harvard Business School Leading Organisational Change and Renewal Programme.