At the Ministry of Transport, we are working to ensure our transport system helps New Zealand thrive.

Our people are intelligent, collaborative and passionate about what they do. Learn more about some of our staff, their roles and what drives them:

 

Jemima de Lacey, Private Secretary

When I finished university at the end of 2013, I had no idea what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted a job. I studied a double law and arts degree, and was interested in how I could put it to use outside the strict legal profession. The Ministry had an ad up for its graduate programme at the beginning of 2014, I applied, and the rest is history!

It’s a variety of things that have kept me at the Ministry for over 5 years now. I’ve gotten to work with a wide range of people on a real mixture of projects. There are always opportunities if you’re up for a challenge, prepared to do your best and learn from your mistakes.

I’m currently seconded to the Minister of Transport’s office as a Private Secretary. This is just one of the opportunities I’ve had since starting as a graduate and the chance to try something quite different than a pure policy role is a real privilege.

The Ministry has a great culture with people who really care about their work, but also about you as a person. Because we’re a small organisation of around 180 people you really get to know everyone and working on various high level policy issues means you get to see the impacts of the policies you’ve worked on. Transport is always to going to be a high profile issue (whether it’s road safety, or e-scooters or drones!) so it’s always a fast-paced, engaged environment where people are trying to make a difference.

 

Eve Tucker, Adviser, Resilience and Security

The Ministry is the first policy shop I’ve worked in full time. Previously, I’ve had one fixed-term policy role, and before that I worked in education, so it’s a completely different environment. The team dynamic here is great, which is important because we collaborate across so many different teams on different projects. The amount of group work required is a new experience for me in the workplace but it has been an extremely positive change.

I love the diversity of the projects I’m working on, especially as I can see how these will contribute to making New Zealand a better place to live. I was worried that public sector policy work would feel a bit like sitting in an “ivory tower” but I’ve found it to be anything but. I work with a range of stakeholders and other government agencies, so I’m always learning new things and meeting new people, which I find invigorating.

I’ve found the Ministry to be extremely supportive of my career development, and everyone here is so open and willing to share their expertise. I’ve asked a lot of silly questions in my first six months here but I’ve never been made to feel silly for asking them.

The Ministry is a busy, fast-paced place full of friendly, knowledgeable people. There’s a misconception sometimes that ‘transport’ is all cars and roads – which are obviously important – but people don’t always consider all the other awesome areas we cover, such as aviation, rail and maritime policy. The work is diverse and challenging but everyone is here to support each other, and because the transport sector is so varied, there are always opportunities to explore new ideas and policy areas.

The Ministry has a culture of constructive feedback that enables advisers to grow in their role while still feeling that their contributions have been valuable. This is a great place for people who are driven and want to see the work they do make a difference.

 

Jo Pohatu, Senior Adviser, Urban Development and Design

Knowing that eventually my work might lead to some meaningful social changes gets me up in the mornings. I have been at MOT for over 6 years now and have stayed on because I have been given some great work opportunities in areas that have both challenged and excited me. I have been given autonomy by my managers to get on with my work and they know I will deliver on what is needed and help out when other things are required or have tight timeframes.

Additionally, I am very appreciative of my manager understanding that occasionally I need some flexibility to be able to juggle both work and home life – this makes a huge difference and means that I am not stressing myself out about it. That helps me mentally to be able to cope with the work/home life balance.

I would describe MOT as the policy arm of transport and that we support and are supported by a number of operational entities that deliver on the various policies we work on. I would say it is a dynamic work place that has a number of very talented people who are working on many challenging projects.

I enjoy the size of the MOT, and the fact that you can get to know a large number of your colleagues and know what various groups are working on. It feels like a whanau, in that people are supportive and it’s not too big that you can be lost amongst the masses.

 

Sandy Fong, Principal Adviser, Domain Strategy, Economics and Evaluation

Transport is an enabler, it provides access to what we need as a society and individuals. The universal nature of transport and how it touches on so many things really interests me and I think the Ministry is here to make a difference.

The majority of my career has been in the transport sector, starting in a research consultancy and moving gradually closer to government. My role here is about improving the collection and use of evidence (data and research) across the transport sector to be better informed when making transport policy. It gets quite technical at times and that’s where a transport or research background comes in use. There’s lots of engagement with decision makers and stakeholders across the transport sector that makes the work really interesting and varied.

The Ministry of Transport is a good size, not too big and not too small. This means there are always opportunities to get involved in interesting work across the Ministry, across the government sector, across the transport sector with enough capability to make a difference and reaching into some quite detailed areas.

 

Jonathan Luo, Senior Adviser, Investment

This is actually my second stint at the Ministry of Transport and I previously started as a graduate back in 2014. I decided to return as I really enjoy the work culture and the people in the Ministry. The Ministry has a very high level of trust in its people, and there are always exciting and high-profile opportunities to work on if you’re willing to put your hand up.

One of the interesting projects I’m currently working on is the review of funding provided to the search and rescue sector. As part of this work, I had the opportunity to meet with a wide range of stakeholders and has resulted in me having a greater appreciation of the great work the different search and rescue agencies do. It is also a good feeling to know that your work will have a positive impact on everyday people. 

The Ministry is definitely one of the friendliest places I’ve ever worked at and the social committee organises really exciting events that bring people together to have a good time. The Ministry also really cares about the wellbeing of its people and has initiatives to support employee wellbeing such as providing exercise equipment and bike facilities.

What I like most about the Ministry is its small size and how friendly and connected everyone is. For example, it is not uncommon to bump into the Senior Leadership Team in the hallway and they will always greet you by name. This is something you wouldn’t normally find in some of the larger Ministries.