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Acting Chief Executive-Designate for WorkSafe New Zealand announced
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Acting Chief Executive-Designate for WorkSafe New Zealand announced

30 July 2013

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) Acting Chief Executive, Greg Patchell, is pleased to announce the appointment of Geoffrey Podger as the Acting Chief Executive-Designate for WorkSafe New Zealand.

Mr Podger’s role will be to assist MBIE and the Establishment Board to create WorkSafe New Zealand as a separate entity, and to ensure a smooth transition for Health and Safety Group staff.  He will begin on 16 September.

Between now and December, MBIE Deputy Chief Executive Health and Safety, Lesley Haines, will remain responsible for the work of the Health and Safety Group. This includes embedding a new service delivery model, and decisions and implementation of national office changes affecting the Health and Safety Group.

In December, when WorkSafe New Zealand is expected to start operations, Mr Podger will become Acting Chief Executive. He will continue in this role until 28 March 2014 by which time a permanent Chief Executive should be appointed and available to start.

Mr Podger is currently the Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in the United Kingdom.  He will complete his contract with the HSE two months early to take up the New Zealand role, at which point he will end a 39-year career in the British Civil Service.

“We are delighted that we have attracted a person of Mr Podger’s calibre and experience to this interim role, and we are grateful to the HSE for its support,” Mr Patchell says.

Mr Podger has been the HSE Chief Executive since 2005. Prior to that, he was Executive Director of the European Food Safety Authority and inaugural Chief Executive of the UK Food Standards Agency. He has an MA from Oxford University.

The HSE is highly regarded internationally for its role in improving the health and safety record of the UK, and it is sought after for advice and widely used as a benchmark.

“An important focus for Mr Podger in the pre-establishment period will be to plan and design for the new functions and services of WorkSafe New Zealand that will give effect to the Government’s reform package that is due out shortly in response to the Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety report.”

WorkSafe New Zealand will be the new workplace health and safety regulator for New Zealand.  It will be a stand-alone Crown Agent. About 300 MBIE Health and Safety Group staff will transition into WorkSafe New Zealand on its establishment.

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