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The appointments process

Issue date: 
Wednesday, 17 January 2018
Issue status: 
Published by: 
Version note: 

This publication is part of the CabGuide.

This page sets out the requirements and processes for considering appointments (and reappointments) made by Ministers, the Governor-General on the advice of a Minister, or by the Governor-General in Executive Council. The standard process for appointments is outlined in the Appointments process workflow.


In general, all but the most minor public appointments made by the Minister, or by the Governor-General on the advice of the Minister, should first be considered by the Cabinet Appointments and Honours Committee (APH) (see paragraph 5.12(l) of the Cabinet Manual).

For further advice on the appointments process, see the Public Service Commission’s (PSC) Board Appointments and Induction Guidelines and the Treasury’s Board Appointments.

Identifying candidates for appointments, remuneration and conflicts of interest

Balanced representation

All of New Zealand’s citizens should be represented in government appointments. Officials should look to achieve balanced representation on entities in regard to women, Māori and Pacific Peoples. Where the body concerned is serving a particular community of interest, individuals representing that community should be considered for appointment.

Ministers are invited to seek nominations for vacancies from the Minister for Māori Development, the Minister for Pacific Peoples, the Minister for Women, the Minister for Ethnic Communities, the Minister for Disability Issues or any other colleagues with a particular area interest.

Te Puni Kōkiri and the Ministry for Women keep databases of suitable candidates, and the Ministry for Pacific Peoples, Ministry for Ethnic Communities, and Ministry of Disabled People can suggest suitable candidates. Officials should explore alternative means of finding candidates where existing methods do not produce a suitable balance of candidates for Ministers and APH to consider.

For further information on this, see Cabinet Office Circular Government Appointments: Increasing Diversity of Board Membership [CO (02) 16]Recruiting  Candidates (PSC), and Consumer representation on Boards – (Consumer Protection, MBIE)

Appointment of public servants to statutory boards

As a general rule, Ministers should not appoint, or recommend for appointment, public servants to statutory boards. There may, however, be special circumstances that justify appointing a public servant to a board. These reasons should be noted in the Cabinet Paper.

For further information on this, see Cabinet Office circular Appointment of Public Servants to Statutory Boards [CO (02) 5].

Remuneration for appointees

Remuneration can be set using a variety of mechanisms. The most common is the Cabinet Fees Framework, which recommends the process for setting or reviewing fees, recommends fee ranges, and sets Cabinet’s processes for exceptions.

The Fees Framework covers most Crown entities (including Crown agents, autonomous Crown entities, and tertiary education institutions), trust boards, advisory bodies/committees to Ministers and chief executives, Royal commissions, commissions of inquiry and Ministerial inquiries, statutory tribunals, and some subsidiary bodies.

For further information on this see PSC’s Board Apointment and Induction Guidelines - Chapter 5: Setting Remuneration and Cabinet Office Circular Revised Fees Framework for Members Appointed to Bodies in which the Crown has an Interest [CO (22) 2]. 

Conflicts of interest

For each appointment, Ministers must certify that any conflicts of interest that could reasonably have been identified have been identified and, where a conflict has been identified, propose an appropriate regime for dealing with it.

For further information on this see PSC’s Board Appointment and Induction Guidelines - Chapter 2.5: Conflicts of Interest, and in the Treasury's Appointment Process.

Ministerial and political consultation on appointments

At the start of each year, the Cabinet Office advises Ministers of vacancies that will arise in the year ahead. Ministers can then contact the office of the responsible Minister to find out more about an upcoming vacancy, or to make a nomination.

Responsible Ministers may like to seek nominations from Ministerial and parliamentary colleagues, as appropriate. They may also wish to consult with colleagues who may have an interest in a particular appointment (such as the local MP for appointments to community boards. Officials should discuss this with the responsible Minister’s office.

Plenty of time should be allowed for consultation as part of the appointments process.

The Prime Minister must be consulted on major appointments before they are submitted to APH. It is expected that most government appointments will be discussed with the government caucus.

For further information on this, see Cabinet Office circular Labour Government, with Support from the Green Party: Consultation and Operating Arrangements [CO (20) 8].

Making the appointment

Once APH and Cabinet has noted a Minister’s intention to make an appointment, then the appointment needs to be made. The relevant Act, Cabinet minute, or board’s constitution will prescribe who will make the appointment. It will generally be:

  • the Responsible Minister(s) or Shareholding Ministers; or
  • the Governor-General on the advice of a Minister; or
  • the Governor-General in Council. See the advice on appointments made by the Governor-General for more information. 

Appointment Letters

All appointees to Crown bodies must receive a letter of appointment, which follows the below guidelines and is supplemented with additional material appropriate to the appointee.

The letter should include the following information:

  • the designation of the position
  • the position description
  • the proper name of the board or office
  • the authority under which the appointment is made
  • the term of the appointment
  • termination procedures
  • legislation relevant to the board or office
  • training and development opportunities
  • how any potential conflicts of interests will be managed
  • the name of a contact person for further information
  • the fees and allowances relating to the appointment.

The appointee must accept in writing the terms of the appointment, including confirmation of any identified conflicts of interest, and mechanisms put in place to manage the conflicts. Appointees should be asked to enter into confidentiality agreements where appropriate.

Appointments made by a Minister or Shareholding Ministers

A letter of appointment should be sent from the Minister, along with any accompanying material (such as an appointing document signed by the Governor-General). If required by the relevant Act or body constitution, a Gazette notice should also be published.

Appointments made by Associate Ministers

Where an Associate Minister has delegated authority to make an appointment, the appointment letter (or the recommendation of the appointment to the Governor-General) must be in the name of the Minister with authority under the relevant Act. The Associate Minister can sign the documentation for the responsible Minister, writing “for” next to the responsible Minister’s title.

Eg:     Hon Jane Doe
          for Minister of Justice

For more information about the responsibilities allocated to Associate Ministers by primary Ministers, see the Schedule of Responsibilities Delegated to Associate Ministers.

Appointments made by the Governor-General

See Appointments made by the Governor-General.


Refer to the following pages for more information

Last updated: 
Tuesday, 17 January 2017

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