About Us

The Government Health and Safety Lead (GHSL) was formed in 2017 under the leadership of Ray Smith, then Chief Executive of the Department of Corrections.  The GHSL moved to the Ministry of Primary Industries in 2019 following Ray Smith’s appointment as Director-General.

The GHSL is a small team tasked with providing practical support to chief executives and senior leaders of government agencies to enable their personal leadership of health and safety for the benefit of all New Zealanders.

The GHSL works with 39 public service and other government agencies to:

  • strengthen system capability
  • build cross-sector relationships that sustain learning and intelligence about what works
  • raise awareness of issues and opportunities
  • support sharing of proactive and joined up responses
  • develop system resources where is it practical to do so.

Our Four-Year Plan (2019-2023)

In 2019 we developed the GHSL’s four-year plan  [PDF, 45 KB]


This was developed through significant consultation and sector feedback via an independent review by Deloitte.   

The plan initiated a more focused approach, with the GHSL transitioning towards more specific priority areas that would create greater benefits and help lift sector and agency performance. 

The GHSL Team

Tina Paterson - Director

Braden Lister - Principal Adviser H&S

Millie Thompson - Senior Adviser H&S

Debbie Bridge - Senior Adviser Workforce Development

Anita McGhie-Filkins - Executive Coordinator

Find out more about  functional leadership in the New Zealand state sector on the Te Kawa Mataaho (Public Service Commission)(external link) website.

The Government Health and Safety Lead's website is sponsored by the Accident Compensation Corporation and WorkSafe New Zealand.