Fri 19 Mar 2021 AT 12:00 pm , Wellington

Leadership, Co-ordination and Collaboration Across Government

THIS EVENT IS FULLY BOOKED - If you would like to go on a waitlist email

The New Zealand public sector faced one of its toughest challenges as part of New Zealand’s response to COVID-19. The response is ongoing, and reflecting the impact of the virus and its impacts on all New Zealanders, touches all parts of the public sector.

As a critical part of this response, providing leadership and coordination across government, is the COVID-19 Response Group. With the new Public Service Act heralding ever greater collaboration, we will surely see more and more cross-government working. We need to learn the lessons so that we get better and better at it. Leading an all-of-government programme in a crisis may be easier and more difficult than business as usual. What do you think?

Cheryl Barnes, Deputy Chief Executive, COVID-19 Response Group, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, joins us to lead this discussion. Cheryl will explore many angles – what makes cross-agency working smoother, what gets in the way, and how could we get better? Cheryl brings extensive leadership experience in the public sector, including leadership roles at the Ministry for the Environment and the New Zealand Treasury. She will reflect on her recent experience, to explore the question of how we use the COVID-19 experience to drive an ongoing world-class public service in New Zealand.


Cheryl Barnes is the Deputy Chief Executive of the COVID-19 Response Group, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Prior to taking on this role, Cheryl was Deputy Secretary for Water and Climate Change at the Ministry for the Environment, where she led the process to develop the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act, passed in November 2019, and the Essential Freshwater reform package adopted by the Government in May 2020.

Cheryl previously held the role of Chief Operating Officer at the Ministry, and before that held a number of roles at the Treasury, including as Director of Budget and Public Services.

Cheryl holds a Masters in Public Policy (with distinction) from Victoria University, and a Bachelors in History from the University of Leeds. She has also studied leadership at Harvard University.

She and her partner Nic are parents to two young daughters.