Key Electoral Commission appointments made

  • Amy Adams

Justice Minister Amy Adams has today announced two key appointments to the Electoral Commission.

Alicia Wright is to be appointed as the Chief Electoral Officer of the Commission and Kristy McDonald QC as the Deputy Chair. Both will be appointed for a term of five years.

Ms Adams says the Commission requires strong leadership in order to maintain New Zealand’s politically neutral and independent democratic processes.

“Both appointees possess the range of skills and attributes that will ensure that the Commission continues to administer the electoral system impartially, efficiently and effectively,” says Ms Adams.

“Ms Wright has held a number of leadership roles in the public sector and has a track-record demonstrating a clear commitment to neutrality and delivery in a complex political environment.

“Ms McDonald has extensive experience in governance roles and has good strategic planning skills, expertise in financial management and risk management, and unquestionable personal integrity and independence.

“Each of the appointees will provide very able leadership to the Commission, and will take up their positions in due course.”

Ms Adams also thanked outgoing Chief Electoral Officer Robert Peden, who had previously indicated he was not available for the reappointment and Deputy Chair Jane Huria for their dedicated service during their terms. 


Alicia Wright has held senior leadership roles in central government for the past 13 years.  She is currently the Deputy Secretary of Defence (Evaluation) at the Ministry of Defence. Previously she has held roles as the Group Manager (Regional and Access Services and Archives Management) at the Department of Internal Affairs and as the General Manager (Centre of Social Research and Evaluation) at the Ministry of Social Development.

Kristy McDonald is a Wellington-based Queens Counsel who has extensive experience as a litigation lawyer.  In 1992 she was appointed as Chairperson of the Mental Health Review Tribunal; and from 1993 to 1996 she was a member the Removal Review Authority. From 2008 to 2015 she chaired the Judicial Control Authority for Racing and from 2009 to 2013 she was the inaugural Chair of the Real Estate Agents Authority.  She is currently a member of the Accident Compensation Corporation Board and Chair of Kiwifruit New Zealand. Ms McDonald has also been involved in a number of Commissions of Inquiry and Ministerial Inquiries.

The Electoral Commission is responsible for the administration of parliamentary elections and referenda, the allocation of time and money for the broadcast of election programmes, conduct of the Māori Electoral Option, servicing the work of the Representation Commission, the provision of advice, reports and public education on electoral matters, and electoral enrolment services for both parliamentary and local elections.

The Commission has a board of three members comprising a part-time Chair, a part-time Deputy Chair and a full-time Chief Electoral Officer, who is also the Chief Executive.