Controversial Brit takes Treasury top spot

Gabriel Makhlouf - one-time private secretary to Gordon Brown

The Treasury’s deputy chief executive and acting secretary, Gabriel Makhlouf, has been appointed chief executive and secretary, the State Services Commission said today.

Mr Makhlouf, who has been acting in the role since June 1 following the departure of former Secretary John Whitehead, arrived in New Zealand from the United Kingdom in March 2010 to join the Treasury.

He almost immediately caused controversy with a call for Treasury to drop all screening of foreign investment.

Commenting after NBR’s story on Mr Makhlouf’s position, readers were split.

For some, dropping all screening opened the country to the likes of May Wang (the once-bankrupt Crafar Farms bidder blocked by the Overseas Investment Office).

For others, it was more a case of quid pro quo.

“Of course Gabriel Makhlouf is right,” read another comment. “Anyone who disagrees with him will also be insisting any company in NZ which own assets overseas must sell them, or leave NZ.”

Mr Makhlouf is also a member of a special advisory group of state services leaders formed as part of Finance Minister Bill English's bid to slash $1 billion from state sector spending.

Private secretary to Gordon Brown
Prior to joining Treasury, Mr Makhlouf was the director, dispute resolution at HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in the UK - although perhaps his most notable role was that of private secretary to Gordon Brown during his time as UK Chancellor of the Exchequer.

He joined HMRC in 2005 as the director, debt management and banking and in 2008 he was appointed as the director, banking services, HMRC.

Other senior management roles held by Mr Makhlouf in the United Kingdom Civil Service included director, international in Inland Revenue UK from 1998 to 2003 and director, Capital and Savings from 2003 to 2005.

From 2000 to 2004 he was chairman of the committee on fiscal affairs at the OECD.

Mr Makhlouf has been appointed for a five year term and will take up the position on 28 June 2011.


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well done to him, but watch what happens now to NZG - panic slash & burn - the only activity that GM knows from his UK days.

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Dreadful appointment - he was apparently close to the Gordon Brown government which has effectively bankrupted the UK.

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I hope they have reveiwed his CV to ensure he has the right credentials - if so it would be a first...

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Aren't Kiwis good enough ? Fair enough to bring in someone from outside Treasury but ....

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@Ross12. What a bigoted comment. It's good to see the Public Service opened up to foreign talent. Makhlouf clearly impressed the selection panel. Give him a break and enough of the 'Kiwis only' prejudice.

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Hear, hear. Every Man Jack in this country, as with most, is a unit in an immigration movement.Even if you go back to the first ships, or one of your ancestors arrived in a waka, you're an immigrant too. Face it.
Jingoism is reducing our options to get real talent going in NZ everyday.

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Why has he been appointed for a five year term? I thought all people appointed to top positions were being given appointments for three years now? Such has happened to the new police commissioner.

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Gordon Brown said that he didn't understand how the banking sector could apparently create money out of nothing but it must be good for Britain- if his advisors did know, they didn't tell him until after he was forced to buy the banks up after they had failed. Let's hope we get better, non-ideological advice in New Zealand!

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No doubt that this guy is clever

He helped bankrupt Britain and now wants to bring his umworkable unproven theories here. This hardly makes him a great find for NZ. He has already been in the press with cuckoo ideas.

I wonder how the morale at Treasury is at the monent with this looney in charge.

I say get rid of him and pay him out NOW - it will be far cheaper than having to experience his looney expensive strategies.

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How did this guy get the job?

There were plenty of great people in Treasury capable of running Treasury.
Why wasn't there a succession plan when Whitehead was in charge?

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Because Whitehead was the Worst Secretary of the Treasury. Ever.

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So smart the only job he could get was in NZ. His advise to Brown must have been great!

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From Egypt to NZ via the UK. I doubt he has much interest in NZ long term. Nations shoildnt be just a big pick n mix for a rootless international elite.

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