Crown Entities Governance and Accountability Regime: Legislative Package

  • Simon Upton
State Services

The State Services Minister, Hon Simon Upton, today announced the Government's intention to introduce a Crown Entities Bill next year. The proposed Legislation is part of the Government's Crown Entities Initiative, announced in July.

Mr Upton said that much of the package has already been implemented. "Comprehensive guidelines have been issued, detailing the responsibilities of Ministers, Crown entities boards and Government departments, and covering such issues as Chief executive contracts, disclosure of board fees and higher staff salaries, and the appointment of board members.

"However, legislative change is also required. Many Crown entities have been created in an ad hoc fashion over many years. As a consequence there are a number of inconsistencies and gaps in the laws that govern them."

Mr Upton said that the proposed legislation will strike a balance between government direction and the autonomy of boards.

"At its core, this legislation will reinforce the fact that these are public bodies and there is a strong expectation of public accountability. The Bill will:

* require non-company Crown entity boards to consult the State Services Commissioner on chief executives' terms and conditions of employment. It will put an end to any confusion that might have existed about the processes to be applied;

* make it compulsory for all Crown entities to disclose board members' fees and other benefits, and the number of staff receiving total remuneration of greater than $100,000 in $10,000 bands. The public has a right to know; and

* clearly set out when Ministers may dismiss board members from office. The legislation will make it crystal clear that the Government can and will dismiss board members, where appropriate.

"There are still some areas where further analysis needs to be done in consultation with government departments and Crown entities. This work will be completed early next year and can be incorporated into the draft Bill."

School Boards of Trustees, Tertiary Education Institutions, Reserve Boards Trusts and other statutory bodies are not included in the Crown entity governance and accountability regime at this stage.