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).
Identifying candidates for appointments, remuneration and conflicts of interest
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, Maori 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 Maori Development, the Minister for Pacific Peoples, the Minister for Women, the Minister for Ethnic Communities, or any other colleagues with a particular area interest.
Te Puni Kokiri and the Ministry for Women keep databases of suitable candidates, and the Ministry for Pacific Peoples and the Office of Ethnic Communities 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 CO (02) 16, Government Appointments: Increasing Diversity of Board Membership, Getting the right Candidate – (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 CO (02) 5, Appointment of Public Servants to Statutory Boards.
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 to the Fees Framework.
The Fees Framework covers most Crown entities (including Crown agents, district health boards, 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 Appointment and Induction Guidelines - Chapter 3: Remuneration for members of Boards and other Bodies, and Cabinet Office Circular CO (19) 1, Fees Framework for Members Appointed to Bodies in which the Crown has an Interest.
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.
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 the majority of government appointments will be discussed with the government caucus.
Note that advice on the consultation arrangements for the Labour Government, with support from the Green Party, is being finalised and will shortly be published in a Cabinet Office circular.
For further information on this, see Cabinet Office circular CO (20) 8: Labour Government, with Support from the Green Party: Consultation and Operating Arrangements | Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC)
Making the appointment
Once APH and Cabinet has noted a Minister’s intention to make an appointment, 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.
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.
For further information on this, see PSC’s Making the appointment.
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
Appointments made by the Governor-General