James Palmer has been Chief Executive of the Hawke's Bay Regional Council since June 2017. Prior to working at the Council, James was Deputy Secretary Sector Strategy at the Ministry for the Environment, responsible for the strategic direction of NZ's environmental management system. James was Director Strategy at both the Ministry for Primary Industries and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry before that. Between 2005 and 2008 James served as Chief of Staff to the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity. James is currently a Director of the Sustainable Seas and Deep South National Science Challenges, and a member of the Forestry Ministerial Advisory Group.