Ministry for the Environment Te Pūrengi Leadership team

Meet our Te Pūrengi leadership team.

Vicky Robertson – Secretary for the Environment and Chief Executive

Vicky Robertson is the Secretary for the Environment, appointed in April 2015. An internationally experienced executive with a background in law and economics, Vicky is a champion for diversity and inclusion, te ao Māori and achieving transparency and accountability in the state sector.

Vicky has extensive experience across a range of complex policy frameworks. She provides system leadership to deliver significant reform programmes. These include in recent years reforming the approach to climate change, improving freshwater quality and reforming the resource management system. Vicky enjoys working on these fundamental reforms as they achieve change in the real world and require working together with Māori our Treaty partner.

Bringing in different perspectives and working with stakeholders such as local government, the food and fibre sector, environmental eNGOs, and businesses has been a critical part of Vicky’s leadership. She looks to innovate in collaborative approaches leading the Climate Change Chief Executives Board, the formal joint venture Board of Chief Executives leading the reform of the resource management system and setting up the joint public/private sector collaboration The Aotearoa Circle.

Vicky is passionate about diversity and inclusion as a critical factor in high-performing organisations and has led this into MfE’s strategic framework. She has worked extensively with iwi, hapū and Māori throughout her career. She has embedded te ao Māori and the Treaty of Waitangi as essential principles in MfE’s work. Vicky puts people first and is currently leading the Ministry’s development of an organisation-wide wellbeing framework.

On weekends Vicky enjoys spending time with her two mokopuna and loves mountain biking in Aotearoa New Zealand’s stunning natural environment.

Dr Alison Collins – Kaitohutohu Mātanga Pūtaiao Matua

Alison, intrigued from an early age about how the world works, studied soil science (the mysterious universe beneath our feet) and geomorphology (how landscapes evolve). Seeing many different soils and landscapes became a passion and took her on a journey from the UK, around Europe and into Mississippi before landing almost 15 years ago in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Alison spent 12 years working for Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research, leading a portfolio of science around ecosystems, soils, land use and informatics. During her time with Manaaki Whenua, Alison worked with regional councils and central government agencies to understand and prioritise their science needs. She also worked with the science community to find ways in which to facilitate better uptake and use of science. In this capacity she established and became director of a centre for integrating data and science-based tools, facilitating clear and engaging communication.

Alison joined MfE in August 2017 as Departmental Chief Science Advisor.  Still passionate about enabling wise use of science, her role is focused on ensuring ‘valued and trusted science for environmental stewardship’. On a day-to-day basis this means translating complex science, helping to navigating the science system so decision-makers can better access and use the excellent research being done, and building capability at the science to policy interface.

Amanda Moran – Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Secretary, Organisational Performance 

Amanda's role involves building the capability and leadership of the organisation and achieving real results for the environment.

Amanda has worked at MfE since 2006, before that holding planning roles in London and Dunedin. She brings expertise and commitment to the issues the ministry is addressing and the outcomes we are seeking for New Zealand.

Amanda’s last role was Deputy Secretary Natural and Built System. She has held acting roles at this level on diverse issues including urban, marine, air, hazardous substances and the resource management system and has built trusted working relationships across Government and beyond.

Anne Haira – Deputy Secretary, Climate Policy, and Partnerships and Public Affairs

Anne has had a rich and diverse career spanning the public and private sectors and has developed a strong track record of building strategic partnerships. She is part of the executive leadership team at the Ministry for the Environment where she leads the Climate Policy division and Partnerships and Public Affairs division. A core focus of her role as leader of Partnerships and Public Affairs is to tangibly shift mindsets and change behaviors in New Zealand through effective partnering and engagement within the public and private sectors.

Anne joined the Ministry from Primary ITO where she was part of the senior leadership team focused on growing workforce capability within the primary industries. She led a large national field team responsible for customer and industry relationships, sales and operational delivery. Prior to that, she pioneered Fonterra's Māori Strategy and the strategic development of Fonterra's relationships with Māori.

She began her career in government and held policy roles at the Ministry of Economic Development and Te Puni Kokiri (Ministry of Māori Development). She has also worked overseas for the Secretariat of the Pacific Community in New Caledonia as well as the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs in Vancouver, Canada. Anne affiliates to Te Arawa and Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa and lives in Wellington.

Janine Smith – Deputy Secretary, Natural and Built System and Climate Mitigation

To achieve quality, liveable environments in New Zealand we need to ensure our planning regime becomes more agile, while providing a level of certainty to enable investment opportunities. 

Janine leads this important work. She brings extensive experience and expertise in environmental policy issues and in building partnerships with natural resource sector agencies and communities. 

Before taking up this acting role, Janine was the Director of Climate Change at MfE and led the development of the Zero Carbon Act. Janine is a mother of three young children.

Melanie Mark-Shadbolt – Deputy Secretary Tūmatakōkiri

Melanie’s iwi affiliations are Ngāti Porou, Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa, Te Atiawa, Ngāti Raukawa, and Te Arawa.

Melanie works directly with Te Pūrengi, supporting us on our journey as leaders towards a greater understanding of Te Ao Māori, the Māori world.

Her appointment reflects MfE’s commitment to an authentic Crown-Māori relationship and meeting our Te Tiriti o Waitangi obligations. She provides advice and leadership – supporting a strategic approach that is consistent with Māori aspirations and values. This is important for our role in the ministry’s engagement with iwi/Māori (eg, in our policy development and implementation). 

Melanie brings a wealth of experience across the public and private sectors, with strengths in leadership and strategy development, Matauranga Māori, science and research engagement and much more.

Nadeine Dommisse – Deputy Secretary, Policy Implementation and Delivery

MfE wants to make sure the changes we design in our policy interventions actually happen and have the desired impact in practice. We have set up a new Sustainable Land Use Delivery function to help do this. It will ensure delivery of policies such as the NPS Freshwater, He Waka Eke Noa and budget funding for freshwater restoration.

Nadeine brings extensive experience in implementation and delivery working across central government, regional councils, district councils and catchment communities.

Before taking up this new role she was Chief Operating Officer and Director of Operations for Environment Canterbury. This involved leading delivery of implementation programmes across the full environmental landscape (including biodiversity, land, water, coasts and rivers) with communities. Previous roles have including leading the Coasts and Waterways unit at the Queensland Environmental Protection Agency, leading coastal and marine environmental programmes and working within the private sector in environmental and social impact assessment.

Natasha Lewis – Deputy Secretary, Joint Evidence, Data and Insights Group

Natasha has worked at MfE since 2008, before that holding roles with the Wellington and Tasman Councils and a government role in Laos.

Natasha is an authentic leader who is committed to the environment sector and the opportunity that the ministry has to be at the forefront of real change. In partnership with Statistics NZ she leads our environmental reporting programme, and the growth of our engagement with young people.

Natasha has also represented New Zealand at the most recent OECD environmental performance review.

Sam Buckle – Deputy Secretary, Water Policy and Resource Efficiency

Sam leads our water policy division and resource efficiency programme. He brings a wealth of experience in policy as well as managing industry, media and government relationships. 

Sam’s career has included extensive periods working both inside Government and the commercial sector. He has worked for a number of Government agencies, including as a policy advisor within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. He was also previously General Manager of Government and Stakeholder Affairs at Fonterra, Executive Director at the New Zealand Shipping Federation, as well as consultant for a major public relations consultancy.