One of the country's top bureaucrats has quit to take up a role in the private sector.
Wayne McNee, chief executive of the Primary Industries Ministry has quit to take up the role of chief executive of Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC).
He succeeds Mark Dewdney who leaves the genetics co-operative at the end of next month. McNee will join Hamilton-based company on July 29, with David Hemara as acting chief executive until then.
This morning McNee emailed staff with a heads up on the announcement.
''I have resigned from MPI with regret because we are making a real difference for New Zealand, and I strongly believe we can enable our primary industries to double our exports by 2025.
Ministers and stakeholders are committed to our strategy,'' McNee wrote.
"However, the opportunity to work in industry in the primary industries at the coal face is irresistible to me, and a sensible progression from much of what I have been doing over the last five and a half years,'' he added.
''My goal hasn't changed - to double New Zealand's primary exports - but I will be pursuing it in the private sector instead.
LIC chairman Murray King said McNee had a comprehensive knowledge of agriculture and the co-operative was pleased to appoint a chief executive with the passion and expertise.
"Wayne is moving from the ministry to what's often called the engine room of the dairy industry.''
McNee, who hails from rural North Otago, was a former general manager and chief executive of Pharmac, the government drug buying agency.
He became chief executive of the Ministry of Fisheries in 2008 and later the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in 2010. There he oversaw the merger of the two ministries into the primary sector super ministry.
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy praised McNee's work merging the organisations, which also have responsibility for food safety.
"The merger has resulted in savings of over $20 million a year and created a new strategy of 'grow and protect'. MPI now has the ambitious target of doubling exports from the primary sector from $30 billion to $60 billion by 2025,'' Guy said in a statement.
The State Services Commission said McNee was obliged to give three months notice and a recruitment process would be underway within weeks.