Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s chief executive, James Palmer, has resigned after five years in the role to take up the Ministry for the Environment’s top job.
Mr Palmer (pictured) will depart the Council on February 10 next year, before heading to the Ministry as Secretary for the Environment and Chief Executive.
Regional Council Chair, Hinewai Ormsby says the Council was sorry to lose Mr Palmer, who she described as an exceptional leader.
“He has significantly grown the capability and capacity of the organisation through challenging times to meet the biodiversity, freshwater, and climate change issues of the region,” she said.
“James is destined for great things at a national level with the Ministry for the Environment and his influence particularly in the freshwater space will be invaluable for the country.
“He has worked extremely hard with deep integrity and humility for our Council, region and taiao during his time with us and we only impart with the best for him on an evolving journey.”
Mr Palmer said it has been an enormous privilege to serve the Hawke’s Bay community and lead such a talented and committed regional council team.
“I am exceptionally proud of what we achieved together and satisfied that I am leaving a much stronger and more capable organisation for protecting and restoring our region’s environment,” he said.
“We have significantly grown the council’s investment assets, trebled our work on the ground planting trees and protecting native biodiversity, increased enforcement of regional environmental rules, and progressed huge amounts of new water policy.
“There is still much to do but the regional council team have made spectacular progress, and I am grateful to everyone for their hard work and support.”
Mr Palmer joined the Regional Council in January 2016 as the Group Manager of Strategic Development and became chief executive in June 2017.
Previously he was Acting Chief Executive at the Environmental Protection Agency, Deputy Secretary (Sector Strategy) at Ministry for the Environment, Director Strategy Systems and Science Policy at the Ministry for Primary Industries and Director Strategy (Strategy Development) at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.