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Sharpening the policy focus at the Ministry for the Environment 2012-137.1

2 October 2012



New Zealand’s Ministry for the Environment (MfE) had been established as a small, mainly policy-focussed agency in 1986. Its role and the focus of its efforts would change, however, when the re-elected Labour Government signalled a much greater emphasis on environmental issues. The Ministry had mainly focussed on the resource management process for 20 years, but would now have to lead the development and implementation of an integrated, whole of government climate change policy, working with other agencies in the natural resources sector. This was a significant shift for the Ministry, whose policy function was no longer viable. Not all of its staff were necessarily prepared for the changes either. A drastic change to its policy function was required, as was thoughtful, trustworthy leadership. Newly appointed Chief Executive Paul Reynolds and Deputy Secretary for the Environment’s Policy Division Guy Beatson both were up to the task. Beatson, in particular, was determined that staff should have a greater input to and ownership of change. Not all staff feedback was positive, but all feedback would help determine how the new MfE policy function looked.

This case, an abridged version of the three-part case Meeting the environmental challenges of the 21st century. It has been prepared for discussion of ways to build, develop and monitor policy skills. It can also be used in a discussion of organisational structure and change, particularly within a policy-focussed agency or policy branch of a department, and stakeholder management.

Authors: Janet Tyson
Published Date: 2 October 2012
Author Institution: ANZSOG
Featured Content Length: 4
Content Length: 5
Product Type: One-part case, Primary resources