WorkSafe New Zealand Board Chair Jennifer Kerr has today announced the resignation of Chief Executive Phil Parkes.

“Phil has been a strong voice for the need to collectively prioritise health and safety,” says Ms Kerr.

“It has been clear to me in interactions I have had, particularly with system partners, that Phil’s commitment and passionate and articulate advocacy for health and safety is highly respected.”

"Phil has been with WorkSafe for almost nine years and believes the time is right for his next chapter, and for new leadership and thinking for the organisation. I thank him for his service.”

WorkSafe is currently implementing the recommendations of the Strategic Baseline Review. This requires us to streamline our activities and refocus on our core functions.

As part of this process, WorkSafe is consulting with staff on a change proposal. This proposal prioritises our front line and core roles and focuses non-personnel savings over role reductions. When the organisational change has been completed and the recommendations of the Review implemented, WorkSafe will be in a better position to build our investment case for sustainable funding.

Phil Parkes will continue as Chief Executive while the organisation works through the change process and plans to finish up with WorkSafe by the end of 2023.

"It’s been a privilege to have worked with such a dedicated team who are committed to reduce work-related harm across Aotearoa. I acknowledge all WorkSafe kaimahi, and our partners in the health and safety system for their commitment to making a difference.”

"Thanks to the organisations and workers who put people first, and the mahi of talented, dedicated people in WorkSafe, we’ve seen work related fatalities in Aotearoa reduce since 2013. But there is more to do. We all need to keep doing everything we can to improve health, safety and equitable outcomes across Aotearoa.”

For more on WorkSafe’s organisational change see: WorkSafe opens organisation change process


  • WorkSafe is New Zealand’s primary health and safety regulator. Established in 2013, WorkSafe has led changes to the Health and Safety system in New Zealand.
  • Its purpose is to promote and contribute to a balanced framework for securing the health and safety of kaimahi and workplaces, as well as the safe supply and use of electricity and gas.
  • As a Crown agent under the Crown Entities Act 2004, WorkSafe has a Governance Board appointed by the Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety.
  • Phil Parkes has been a WorkSafe leader since 2015 and Chief Executive since 2020. Jennifer Kerr was appointed Board Chair in October 2022.