Appointments

Introduction

This section sets out Cabinet's requirements and processes for considering appointments made by Ministers, by the Governor-General on the advice of a Minister, or by the Governor-General in Executive Council.  The information should be read in conjunction with guidance issued by the State Services Commission (SSC) in its Board Appointments and Induction Guidelines (the SSC Guidelines), available at: http://www.ssc.govt.nz/board-appointment-guidelines.  The SSC Guidelines are for everyone undertaking a government board appointment process.  They are designed to assist departments, other State Service agencies, Ministers and their offices with making effective appointments to the boards of a wide range of agencies and bodies.  The SSC Guidelines provide guidance on recruitment, appointment, removal from office, induction for appointees, and supporting board performance.  Papers to Cabinet on proposed appointments must include a certification from the Minister that an appropriate process has been followed in terms of the SSC Guidelines.

The Crown Ownership Monitoring Unit in the Treasury also has its own guidance with respect to appointments to the boards of State-owned enterprises and Crown-owned companies.  This information is available from http://www.comu.govt.nz/board-appointments.

The collective interest of the government is best served if the whole of Cabinet participates in the making of appointments.  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).

Below is a diagram summarising the standard appointment process.  A more detailed flowchart for the entire appointment process is set out in chapter 2 of the SSC Guidelines.

Summary of the APH process

This section of the CabGuide provides information about:

In addition to this advice, the following Cabinet Office circulars set out detailed Cabinet requirements with respect to:

Note that the information in this section applies to both appointments and reappointments, but the generic term "appointments" is used.

Identifying candidates for appointments

Balanced representation

The government wants its commitment to equitable treatment for all its citizens to be reflected in the appointments it makes.  Proposals for appointment should seek to achieve appropriate gender, age, geographical and ethnic balance. It is particularly important that where the body concerned is serving a particular community of interest, individuals representing that community should be considered for appointment.

The government wants to ensure balanced representation on government bodies reflective of wider New Zealand society.  It is particularly committed to appointing Maori, Pacific peoples and women to government bodies to improve balance in representation.  Cabinet has invited Ministers and chief executives to take personal responsibility for achieving balanced representation on the boards for which they are responsible.

Ministers preparing papers on appointments are invited to seek nominations for vacancies on boards from the Ministers of Maori Affairs, Pacific Island Affairs and Women's Affairs.  Te Puni Kokiri and the Ministry of Women's Affairs have databases of suitable candidates that should be consulted, and the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs is able to suggest suitable candidates.  Departments have been directed to explore alternative means of finding candidates where existing methods do not produce a suitable balance of candidates for APH to consider.

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs has issued guidelines for consumer representation on boards, advisory bodies, departmental working parties and companies. The guidelines apply to appointments where the mix of members includes lay or consumer representation but not to appointments to Crown companies constituted under the Companies Act 1993 or to district health boards.

Further information about the nomination services that are available is set out in Cabinet Office circular CO (02) 16, Government Appointments: Increasing Diversity of Board Membership.

Cabinet has agreed that papers proposing appointments are required to have a section headed "Representativeness of Appointment". This section should contain a statement from the Minister confirming that full consideration has been given to the need to achieve appropriate gender, age, geographical and ethnic balance.  See the CabGuide section on the content of APH papers for more information on the requirements for appointment papers.

Appointment of public servants to statutory boards

Cabinet has agreed that, 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.  For further information about this policy, see Cabinet Office circular CO (02) 5, Appointment of Public Servants to Statutory Boards.

Remuneration for appointees

The Cabinet Fees Framework recommends the process for setting or reviewing fees paid to appointees, recommends fees ranges, and sets Cabinet's processes for exceptions to the Framework (see Cabinet Office circular CO (12) 6, Fees Framework for Members Appointed to Bodies in Which the Crown has an Interest).

The Cabinet Fees Framework should be used for setting fees for all statutory bodies, non-statutory bodies and committees in which the Crown has an interest.  In particular, it should be used for bodies with responsible Ministers where the bodies are outside the jurisdiction of the Remuneration Authority or another fee setting body.  It therefore covers most Crown entities (including Crown agents, district health boards, autonomous Crown entities and tertiary education institutions), trust boards, advisory bodies and committees, Royal commissions, commissions of inquiry and Ministerial inquires, statutory tribunals, individuals appointed as statutory bodies that are not covered by the Remuneration Authority, and some subsidiary bodies.

Restraint on making appointments during the pre-election period

It has been the practice for governments to exercise restraint in making significant appointments in the period (usually about three months) leading up to a general election.  The question of which appointments are significant requires a case-by-case assessment of factors such as the role of the board or position, and the significance of the sector.  Appointments that are not considered to be significant may proceed in the usual way.  The Cabinet Office is available to provide guidance and advice on precedents: http://www.dpmc.govt.nz/dpmc/contact.html

Further information about appointments and the pre-election period is set out in this circular: Cabinet Office circular CO (14) 2, Government Decisions and Actions in the Pre-Election Period.

Ministerial and party 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 who would like to find out more about a board or an impending vacancy, or would like to make a nomination, should contact the office of the responsible Minister. In general, the deadline for submitting nominations is 2-3 months before the date the vacancy arises.  The relevant Minister's office will be able to advise exactly when nominations are due.

Ministers may also wish to solicit nominations from Ministerial and parliamentary colleagues.  Officials should discuss this with the portfolio Minister's office.  As indicated in the section above on balanced representation, nominations can be sought from the Ministers of Maori Affairs, Pacific Island Affairs and Women's Affairs and Consumer Affairs.

The Prime Minister must be consulted on major appointments before they are submitted to APH.

Guidance on consultation with the government caucus, support parties and other parliamentary parties is set out in Cabinet Office circular CO (12) 3, National-led Administration: Consultation and Operating Arrangements.  This provides advice on seeking nominations for appointments from the government caucus and support parties, consultation on potential candidates for appointment, and notes that it is expected that the majority of government appointments will be discussed with the government caucus after consideration by APH and Cabinet.  This discussion should be reflected in the CAB 100 consultation form that will be attached to the paper submitted to APH.

Officials must be familiar with the above requirements and ensure that they are complied with. Failure to do so can cause delay in the appointment process. Ministerial and party political consultation is an important part of the appointment process and plenty of time must be allowed for it.