The head of the public service Iain Rennie is to step down from his role in June after deciding not to seek re-appointment.

Mr Rennie has been the head of the State Services Commission since 2008, working under both Labour and National governments.

State Services Minister Paula Bennett said applications to replace Mr Rennie were likely to open in March and praised Mr Rennie for a "significant contribution" over his 30-year career in the public service.

Mr Rennie, who was paid $650,000-$659,000 last year, will stay on until his term ends in June.

Advertisement

He was at the centre of controversy in 2014 for his part in a press conference with former Cera boss Roger Sutton over allegations of inappropriate conduct toward staff. Mr Sutton announced he was stepping down at that press conference but also gave details of his actions, despite an agreement not to talk about the complaint.

Labour leader Andrew Little called for Mr Rennie to be stood down for his part in the press conference and Mr Rennie later expressed regret for allowing it to take place.

At the time, Ms Bennett and Prime Minister John Key both said the press conference was inappropriate but publicly backed Mr Rennie in the role overall.

During his time in the role, in 2010 Mr Rennie introduced new disclosure requirements for the chief executives of Government departments and agencies, including travel expenses and gifts.

Mr Rennie also oversaw the current Government's restructure of the core public service, including a cap on the number of bureaucrats.