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Our leadership team

Six Deputy Chief Executives report to our Chief Executive. Find out more about our leadership team and the work that they are responsible for.

Chief Executive

Read more about Debbie Power

Debbie Power

Debbie took up her role as Chief Executive, Ministry of Social Development (MSD), in February 2019.

She was previously the Statutory Deputy State Services Commissioner, at the State Services Commission.

Debbie started her public service career in 1980 as a frontline case manager at the then Department of Social Welfare.

Service Delivery

Read more about Viv Rickard

Viv Rickard - Deputy Chief Executive

Viv leads our Service Delivery group, which provides services to over one million New Zealanders.

His group is responsible for:

  • providing entitlements and services
  • designing and developing services
  • optimising channels
  • delivery of programmes
  • developing the regions
  • and managing service integrity.

Strategy and Insights

Read more about Nic Blakeley

Nic Blakeley - Deputy Chief Executive

Nic heads the Strategy and Insights group which leads the development and implementation of MSD’s strategy by:

  • creating insights for effective decision making
  • focusing resources on the right investments
  • and understanding and evaluating performance.


Read more about Simon MacPherson

Simon MacPherson - Deputy Chief Executive

Simon leads the Policy branch. The branch provides policy advice on welfare system change and wider social development, as well as other areas including: income, employment and housing support; regional working; issues faced by seniors and people with a disability; child and youth-related policy; and international policy.

People and Capability

Read more about Stephen Crombie

Stephen Crombie - Deputy Chief Executive

Stephen leads the People and Capability group which is responsible for:

  • providing corporate services that provide capability to MSD
  • shared services for Oranga Tamariki
  • hosted sector services
  • support for implementation of the MSD strategic change programme – Te Pae Tawhiti.

Organisational Assurance and Communication

Read more about Melissa Gill

Melissa Gill - Deputy Chief Executive

Melissa leads the Organisational Assurance and Communication group which is responsible for ensuring the overall integrity of MSD’s operations by making sure:

  • there is ongoing compliance with legislation and policy
  • communication with the public and stakeholders is effective
  • Ministers are supported.

Māori, Communities and Partnerships

Marama Edwards - DCE

Marama Edwards – Deputy Chief Executive

Marama leads the Māori, Communities and Partnerships group which is responsible for:

  • building capability across the organisation to support the aspirations of Māori
  • connecting and collaborating to build effective partnerships and community approaches that achieve better outcomes for those who most need our support.

Office of the Chief Executive

Nadine Kilmister - Acting DCE

Nadine Kilmister – Director, Office of the Chief Executive

Nadine leads the Office of the Chief Executive, which provides high level strategic, organisational and operational advice, and manages key external relationships across the social sector as well as across the entire state sector.

Nadine is the sponsor for MSD’s 800-strong women’s network and oversees our Pā Harakeke (wellbeing at MSD) and flexible working programmes.

Business Integration

Read more about Liz Jones

Liz Jones – Acting Deputy Chief Executive

Liz and her Business Integration team are building a co-ordinated plan that ensures that the team supports the delivery of MSD’s integrated work programme.