Paul James appointed New Zealand’s new culture ministry chief

By on 23/06/2015 | Updated on 25/09/2020
Paul James, incoming Ministry for Culture and Heritage Chief Executive

Paul James has been appointed as new chief executive of New Zealand’s Ministry for Culture and Heritage (MCH).

James, who is currently deputy chief executive, policy, regulatory and ethnic affairs at the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA), will take up his new post on 3 August to serve a five-year term.

He will replace Helen Wyn, who has been acting chief executive of MCH since previous chief executive Lewis Holden took up the role of deputy commissioner in Auckland with the State Services Commission.

Announcing James’s appointment today, state services commissioner Iain Rennie said: “Paul is an experienced senior public servant and will bring strong skills to this role including extensive experience in strategic policy development, leading and managing change and working effectively with a diverse group of stakeholders.

“He will be able to use his experience and contacts across different areas of government to make sure the Ministry for Culture and Heritage’s work is well integrated and supports the ongoing focus on achieving results across agency boundaries.”

In his current post, James led work to maximise the benefits of ethnic diversity for New Zealand, regulate gambling, censorship, spam and anti-money laundering. He was also responsible for delivery of the government’s ‘Better Local Government’ reform.

Before his time at the DIA, James worked as director of the Ministry of Justice’s Office of Treaty Settlements, which is tasked with negotiating settlements due to historical breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi – an agreement between representatives of the British Crown and various Māori tribe chiefs from the North island of New Zealand first signed in 1840.

In this post, he oversaw a significant increase in the rate of settlements achieved.

He has held other senior roles in the Ministry of Justice, including that of policy manager family law between 2002 and 2004, and general manager public law between 2004 and 2006.

He has also worked in policy roles in the Treasury, Accident Compensation Corporation, and Te Puni Kokiri – as the government’s principal adviser on its relationship with the iwi, hapu and Maori tribes.

About Winnie Agbonlahor

Winnie is news editor of Global Government Forum. She previously reported for Civil Service World - the trade magazine for senior UK government officials. Originally from Germany, Winnie first came to the UK in 2006 to study a BA in Journalism & Russian at the University of Sheffield. She is bilingual in English and German, and, after spending an academic year abroad in Russia and reporting for the Moscow Times, Winnie also speaks Russian fluently.

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