Effective consumer representation contributes to better decision-making. Consumer representatives may be members of a board or committee, or they may be consulted on a specific issue.

Value of effective representation

Effective representatives can describe what their constituency does (not just what they themselves do), how they do it, when they do it and why. They can either see how their constituency’s knowledge and experience relates to that of the others at the table or they can work towards an understanding of those relativities and relationships. They can also predict accurately the consequences for their constituency of any decisions.

Together, representatives from the consumer, industry and professional sectors can bring the knowledge and experience that enables officials to develop a clear understanding of the elements of a successful solution and a clear understanding of the consequences of that decision, and any variations, for those groups represented.

Don’t get stuck on the terminology – the term consumer representative is a generic term for layperson, community representative, and consumer representative.

A consumer representative may be required as a member of a board or committee for a set term, or may be someone who is to be consulted in respect of a specific issue.

Appointments to Crown entity boards are made under the Crown Entities Act 2004 and each agency’s own legislation which state any specific requirements.

Appointments to the boards of statutory bodies or advisory bodies are made in accordance with their relevant legislation or establishment document.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment assists responsible Ministers in identifying candidates who have the required skills and experiences for a board role. As well as meeting key competencies that apply to their position, board members must have an appreciation of the Crown’s role as the key stakeholder.

Appointments are made by the responsible Minister, or the Governor-General on the recommendation of the responsible Minister.


Guidelines for officials

Cabinet has agreed to Guidelines for officials(external link). Note that as a general rule, Ministers should not appoint public servants to statutory boards. However, there may be special circumstances which justify appointing a public servant to a board.