Deputy Public Service Commissioner Helene Quilter has announced the appointment of Penny Nelson as Director-General of Conservation and Chief Executive, Department of Conservation (DOC).
“I’m very pleased to appoint Ms Nelson to this role,” Ms Quilter said.
“Ms Nelson has broad experience in the environment, biodiversity and science sectors. She is a respected and proven leader in the Public Service with a track record of delivering against key government priorities. She has considerable experience spearheading partnerships between government, business, iwi, NGOs and communities of interest.”
Ms Nelson is currently the Deputy Director-General Biosecurity New Zealand, at the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), a role she has held since 2019. She has previously held the positions of Deputy Director-General, Policy and Trade at MPI and Deputy Secretary, Environmental Performance, Innovation and Climate at the Ministry for the Environment. Prior to joining the Ministry for the Environment, Ms Nelson was Executive Director of the Sustainable Business Council.
In her role as Deputy Director-General Biosecurity, Ms Nelson is responsible for a significant annual budget and for 1500 staff. Ms Nelson oversees management of biosecurity risk offshore, at the border and within New Zealand. This work includes significant responses to pests and disease.
Ms Quilter said Ms Nelson has demonstrated she has the skills, knowledge and expertise to lead the Department of Conservation.
Ms Nelson has been appointed for five years from 1 November 2021.
Bruce Parkes has been appointed Acting Chief Executive from 14 September, after current Director-General of Conservation Lou Sanson finishes his term on 13 September.