Chief executive casualties expected
Chief executives will be the main casualties when four business-focussed government agencies are merged into one.
Prime Minister John Key has just announced the creation of the new Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment - absorbing the functions of the Ministry of Economic Development, the Department of Labour, the Ministry of Science and Innovation and the Department of Building and Housing.
The 'super agency' would help integrate together policies to build a more competitive and internationally-focussed economy, he said.
There was currently a lot of "churn" and inefficiencies with the current, siloed approach to government departments.
"We are too focussed on the silos of government departments, rather than what we want the government to produce [overall]," he said.
"The change is about trying to achieve better results and lower costs for government."
Mr Key gave assurances there was no list of government departments he wanted to close.
The four agencies to be absorbed into the new Ministry for Business had been told about the changes today.
Mr Key said it was possible the merger would be achieved without job cuts. He pointed out there was a lot of natural churn within government department jobs anyway.
Those likely to be most affected were the chief executives of the four existing agencies.
Minister for Economic Development Steven Joyce said that process of appointing a chief executive for the Ministry of Business would be handled by the State Services Commissioner, not ministers.
"The way he chooses to manage the jobs is up to him," Mr Joyce said.
At this stage, the suggestion there could be "big payouts on the way was assuming way too much", he said.
Top jobs on the line:
The chief executives of the departments to be swallowed by the new Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment:
- David Smol (Ministry of Economic Development )
- Murray Bain (Ministry of Science and Innovation)
- Nigel Bickle (Department of Labour) - acting chief executive
- Katrina Bach (Department of Building and Housing) - facing serious misconduct investigation over allegations of verbal and physical abuse towards a junior, female employee.
The new Ministry for Business would ensure a focused government policy around economic growth and innovation, Steven Joyce said.
"In business we have had an atomized set of agencies who are all doing their best, but it makes the whole process too slow.
"The structure is holding back good people from doing the job to help businesses grow."
The government is will not be appointing a minister to oversee the Ministry for Business.
However, Bill English and Steven Joyce are the next best thing, as they have recently been announced to be the ministerial pair who are overseeing the government's economic growth agenda. .
Mr Joyce said his business background and past experience working through the merger process made him the man for the job.
Auckland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barnett said he thought the new, single ministry for business should streamline the process for business dealings with government.