Mark Prebble

Mark Prebble
State Services Commissioner
In office
May 2004  30 June 2008
Prime Minister Helen Clark
Preceded by Michael Wintringham
Succeeded by Iain Rennie
Deputy Secretary to the Treasury
Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
In office
Preceded by Simon Murdoch
Personal details
Born Auckland, New Zealand

Mark Prebble CNZM (born 1951) is a former New Zealand civil servant. He was the State Services Commissioner, head of New Zealand's public service from May 2004 until 30 June 2008. On 25 January 2008, Prebble announced his retirement after 32 years in the Public Service.[1]

Early life and education

Prebble was born in Auckland, New Zealand, the youngest son of Kenneth Prebble, a one-time vicar of St Paul's Church, Auckland, who later became Archdeacon of Hauraki. [2] His mother was Mary.[3] He has five siblings, two brothers are former Labour Cabinet Minister and ACT Party leader Richard Prebble and Victoria University Law Professor John Prebble.

Prebble was educated at the University of Auckland, where he graduated with an MA in Economics, and at Victoria University of Wellington, where he earned a doctorate in public policy. Prebble tutored economics at Auckland and Wellington.


Prebble joined the Treasury in 1977, rising to Deputy Secretary of the Department, and acted as Acting Secretary twice. While in non-executive roles at the Treasury, he was an organiser for the Public Service Association, the principal trade union for public servants.

In 1998, Prebble became Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, succeeding Simon Murdoch. At the time, Labour Opposition leader Helen Clark criticised the appointment, describing Prebble as an "apostle of the New Right".[4] Upon winning the 1999 election, however, Clark reappointed Prebble to the role, and is understood to have worked closely with him. While Secretary Prebble received publicity for describing Work and Income New Zealand chief executive Christine Rankin's clothes as "indecent".[3] He was involved in the Corngate affair, for not releasing four documents after Clark ordered all official papers to be released during the 2002 election campaign.[5]

In 2004, Prebble was appointed State Services Commissioner, as the head of New Zealand's public service, succeeding Michael Wintringham.[4] He was involved in investigations into the dismissal of the Environment ministry communications manager Madeleine Setchell, which led to the resignation of Environment Minister David Benson-Pope.[6] Prebble docked himself 2.5 percent of his own pay over the dismissal, after an inquiry found Prebble forgot to mention a conversation he had with Benson-Pope.[6]

External image
Photo of Mark Prebble
by Andrew Gorrie/
Dominion Post

Personal life

Prebble's first wife died in a blizzard on Aoraki/Mount Cook. He remarried, and has two sons and two daughters.[3]


He was made Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the New Year Honours 2009, for public services.[7]


  1. "State Services boss calls it quits". The Dominion Post. 25 January 2008. Retrieved 20 February 2010.
  2. name= "DominionPost526555">"Kenneth Ralph Prebble, From the pulpit to the TV Screen". The Dominion Post. 10 July 2008. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  3. 1 2 3 "Backstage boffin in limelight". The New Zealand Herald. 7 July 2001. Retrieved 20 February 2010.
  4. 1 2 Berry, Ruth (2 March 2004). "Former 'Rogernome' to lead public service". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 20 February 2010.
  5. "Prebble regrets not saying Corngate information withheld". The New Zealand Herald. 16 October 2003. Retrieved 20 February 2010.
  6. 1 2 "Ministry boss to suffer for sacking". 14 November 2007. Retrieved 20 February 2010.
  7. "New Year Honours 2009". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 20 February 2010.
Preceded by
Michael Wintringham
State Services Commissioner
200430 June 2008
Succeeded by
Iain Rennie
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