Cultural dancing.

Simon MacPherson – Deputy Chief Executive, Policy

Role and responsibilities


Simon leads the Policy group, which is the government’s principal provider of social policy advice. Policy works with other groups across MSD, especially Housing and Service Delivery and with partner agencies in the social and economic sectors with an overall goal of improving social and economic wellbeing.

The group provides strategic policy advice across a range of topics and issues, including social housing, income support and employment, the transition of young people to adulthood, initiatives to support families, issues faced by people with a disability, positive ageing and social sector initiatives.

Simon and the Senior Management Group lead a wide-ranging programme of activity aimed at the development of the group’s people and work. All Policy staff are engaged in the programme in one way or another. It encompasses the development of group culture, knowledge and skills development and work to develop the quality of policy advice, including for Maori.

What working for the Ministry means to me

Simon enjoys the challenges involved in the breadth and importance of what MSD does, as our work touches the lives of so many New Zealanders, including the most vulnerable people in our society.


Simon joined the Ministry in December 2015 as Chief Policy Advisor. In this role he provided the Chief Executive with advice and acted as a sounding board on issues across MSD. He joined us from the Policy Advisory Group in DPMC where, for example, he worked on the Budget package on children in material hardship and the ‘mixed ownership model’ partial sell down of shares in energy companies. Before DPMC, Simon was at The Treasury, spending time as the ‘Vote Manager’ for MSD working, amongst other things, on welfare reform.

Simon has also worked at the SSC and in the justice sector. He has an MA (Hons) in History from Auckland, and has also studied economics, mathematics, philosophy, and English.

Cultural dancing.
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