31 Mar 2011

Minister pays tribute to departing MSD head

6:15 pm on 31 March 2011

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has paid tribute to the departing chief executive of the Ministry of Social Development, Peter Hughes.

Mr Hughes - the highest-paid chief executive in the state sector, with a salary of between $570,000 and $580,000 - is not renewing his contract when it expires in September. He has been in the job for nearly 10 years.

Ms Bennett says Mr Hughes has done an outstanding job leading the ministry. It's in excellent shape. she says, and he can be hugely proud of what has been achieved in the social sector under his leadership.

The minister responsible for Whanau Ora, Tariana Turia, says she will miss working with Mr Hughes, who made what she calls a very important contribution to whanau ora during its preparatory stages.

"He was open to the possibility of fundamental reform to enable our whanau to benefit from transformation," Ms Turia says, "and we will be forever appreciative of that open attitude."