Ministry for the Environment Te Pūrengi Leadership team

Meet our Te Pūrengi leadership team.

James Palmer – Secretary for the Environment and Chief Executive

James Palmer is the Secretary for the Environment and its Chief Executive. He took up the roles in March 2023.

From 2017 James was Chief Executive of the Hawke's Bay Regional Council. He joined the council in 2016 as Group Manager Strategic Development.

During his time at Hawke's Bay Regional Council, James was involved in resource management reform and developing national policy on freshwater. He was a member of the Forestry Ministerial Advisory Group, and a board member of both the Sustainable Seas and Deep South national science challenges.

James' other recent public sector roles include Deputy Secretary Sector Strategy at the Ministry for the Environment, and Director Strategy at both the Ministry for Primary Industries and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

Between 2005 and 2008 James served as Chief of Staff to the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity. He was an advisor in the Labour-led Government between 1999 and 2003 including on resource management, climate change and energy policy.

Anne Haira - Deputy Secretary, Partnerships, Investment and Enablement Hēkeretari Tuarua Rangapū, ngā Haumi me te Whakaahei

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 MfE, where she leads the Partnerships, Investment and Enablement business group. A core focus of her role is to tangibly shift mindsets and change behaviours 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. Before 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 and the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs in Vancouver, Canada. Anne affiliates to Te Arawa and Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa and lives in Wellington.

Gina Rangi - Deputy Secretary, Tūmatakōkiri Tumuaki Tuarua

Our new Tumuaki Tuarua Deputy Secretary for Tūmatakōkiri, Gina Rangi, has joined the MfE whānau. 

Gina affiliates to Te Arawa (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Tahu-Whaoa), Raukawa and Maniapoto. 

Gina brings extensive leadership experience in local government and iwi Māori organisations, along with technical expertise from years working with Māori communities on Treaty of Waitangi and resource management issues.

Gina has been serving as the Interim Chief Executive for Rotorua Lakes District Council, where she had previously held the position of Manahautu Te Arawa Hourua (Te Arawa Partnerships) since 2018.

Gina is a hugely experienced resource management practitioner with a deep understanding of complex policy and delivery issues, particularly within the context of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. She holds both an LLB (Hons) as well as a Bachelor of Social Sciences in Māori and Māori Development, and has worked as a Tiriti o Waitangi negotiator, manager, and technical advisor.

Laura Dixon - Deputy Secretary, Business Transformation & Services Hēkeretari Tuarua Panoni Pakihi me ngā Ratonga

Laura is the Deputy Secretary Business Transformation & Services and Chief Operating Officer at MfE. She is responsible for ensuring MfE has a compelling strategy and operating model and for building the capability and leadership of the organisation to implement this strategy.

Laura has worked at MfE since 2019. Before her current role, she was Director of People & Capability. During this time, Laura successfully led MfE through significant growth and diversification of its workforce. She spearheaded the introduction of flexible and inclusive people practices and leadership development, which have enabled MfE and its people to be resilient through change, deliver on a complex and fast-paced work programme, and grow our internal capacity, capability and confidence to partner with iwi/Māori.

Before joining MfE, Laura held diverse leadership roles in the public sector. She has a proven track record of building and leading strong people functions that support organisations through periods of change and growth. Laura is known for her clear and decisive leadership, excellent business acumen, and 'getting the job done'.

Martin Workman – Chief of Staff Rangatira Kaimahi

Martin is Chief of Staff at MfE, leads the Office of the Chief Executive and is responsible for enabling effective strategic leadership of the Ministry by the Chief Executive and Te Pūrengi.

Martin first worked at MfE from 1997-1999. He started as a policy analyst in the RMA implementation team before returning to MfE in 2016. Before taking up his current role Martin was Deputy Secretary Tūmatakōkiri - Māori Strategy and Performance. 

Previously to this he worked on a range of policy issues including improving the health of our waterways and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the agriculture sector.

Before working at MfE Martin worked on freshwater policy for the Ministry for Primary Industries. He has also held roles at the Ministry of Fisheries, Nelson City Council, Tasman District Council, and Northland Federated Farmers, focusing on environmental management.

Martin grew up in Kaitaia and affiliates with Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa.

Nadeine Dommisse - Deputy Secretary, Environmental Management and Adaptation Hēkeretari Tuarua Whakahaere Taiao me te Urutau

Nadeine leads the Environmental Management and Adaptation business group, which develops impactful, forward-looking policy in partnership with Māori that promotes sustainable use of our natural resources, including efforts to assist our communities and industries in adapting to our changing climate.

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 the delivery of implementation programmes across the entire environmental landscape (including biodiversity, land, water, coasts and rivers) with communities. Previous roles have included 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, Strategy Stewardship and Performance Hēkeretari Tuarua Rautaki, Tiakitanga, me te Whakatutuki

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, Climate Mitigation & Resource Efficiency Hēkeretari Tuarua Whakangāwari Huringa Āhuarangi me te Whāomo Rauemi

Sam leads our Climate Change Mitigation and Resource Efficiency business group and brings experience in policy and managing industry, media and government relationships.

Sam’s career has included working both inside Government and the commercial sector. He has worked for several 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, and consultant for a major public relations consultancy.