Productivity Commission chair awarded

30 July 2012

Murray Sherwin

Murray Sherwin, CNZM: The Productivity Commission will receive a Distinguished Alumni Award in August from the University of Waikato.

The man who’s chairing the government’s new Productivity Commission and who led the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry for more than a decade will receive a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Waikato.

Murray Sherwin, CNZM, graduated with a Masters in Social Science in 1976 and immediately began work on what was to be a 25-year career at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, where he headed many key departments and dealt with major issues including the 1984 foreign exchange crisis and the subsequent removal of exchange controls and float of the New Zealand dollar. He was appointed Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank in 1993.


Mr Sherwin was elected to the Executive Board of the World Bank in Washington DC where, on a two-year secondment from the Reserve Bank, he represented the interests of New Zealand, Australia, the Republic of Korea and a number of Pacific nations.

In 2001, Mr Sherwin was appointed Director General and Chief Executive of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, leading an organisation at the heart of New Zealand’s economic performance. The job held plenty of variety and presented many challenges, including eliminating the painted apple moth from Auckland and the Waikato, dealing with the Waiheke Island foot and mouth disease scare, and developing the Dairy and Clean Stream Accord, the Emissions Trading Regime for Forestry and the Primary Growth Partnership.


It was for his services to the Ministry that Mr Sherwin was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2010.

University of Waikato Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford says a lot of Mr Sherwin’s work in driving the country’s economy has been behind the scenes, but his influence is substantial. “That he is now charged with leading the Productivity Commission reflects the knowledge and expertise he has gained during his career in public service and shows that he is not afraid to take charge of big and potentially nation-changing issues.”

Mr Sherwin also sits on the Review Panel of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) and is a member of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Official Statistics.

Distinguished Alumni Awards

He is one of three who will receive Distinguished Alumni Awards from the University of Waikato this year. The other two are Wales rugby coach Warren Gatland and social justice advocate Karen Morrison-Hume.

The Distinguished Alumni Awards will be presented on 24 August. All three recipients will be presented with a limited edition cast-glass figure created exclusively for the award.