New Board appointed at Stats NZ

  • Hon James Shaw

Ensuring that Stats NZ’s direction and strategy best supports government policy decisions will be a key focus for a new Governance Advisory Board announced today by the Minister for Statistics, James Shaw.

The new Governance Advisory Board will provide strategic advice to Stats NZ to ensure it is meeting New Zealand’s data needs now and in the future. It is modelled on, and will operate in a similar manner to, the Board that advises the Treasury.

“From public health to the impacts of the global pandemic on people’s lives to the greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change, good quality data is essential for decision making – not just by government, but also by organisations, businesses and individuals across New Zealand. The Board will play a crucial role in maintaining New Zealanders’ high level of trust and confidence in Stats NZ and the data it produces,” James Shaw said.

The Governance Advisory Board follows the announcement in last week’s Budget that there would be a significant boost in funding for the next Census, which will take place in 2023.

“We have now allocated a total of $210 million to run the next Census, a two thirds increase on what the previous government provided for the last Census. The additional funding will put thousands more staff in the field and boost engagement with NGOs, churches, Iwi and hapū, and other organisations with deep connections in their respective communities to drive up Census response rates,” James Shaw said.

The Governance Advisory Board’s principal role will be to advise and sometimes challenge Stats NZ’s CEO and Executive Leadership Team on matters of strategy, capability and performance.

“Stats NZ is vital to making sure the changes happening across New Zealand, whether in the economy or in people’s lives, are visible and understood in a way that means we can target policies at the right places. It also does a fantastic job at presenting data and sharing it with the public, which helps to open up the policymaking process. The new advisory board will help guide that work for years to come,” James Shaw said.

The six members of the new Governance Advisory Board are Vic Crone (Chair), Lillian Grace, Māui Hudson, John Martin, Nicki Crauford, and Te Rau Kupenga. The Stats NZ CE, Mark Sowden, and the Chair of the new Risk and Assurance Committee, Wendy Venter, will also sit on the Board.

The statutory responsibilities of the Chief Executive and Government Statistician remain unchanged.

Board Members

Vic Crone is the CEO of Callaghan Innovation, and was previously the Managing Director of Xero, NZ and New Markets, following executive roles at Chorus and Telecom New Zealand. Vic has significant executive and governance experience in technology and innovation.

Lillian Grace, previously Figure.NZ’s CEO, has been on the Data Futures Partnership Working Group, Open Government Partnership Expert Advisory Panel, and the boards of the Innovation Partnership and of Centre of Research Excellence Te Punaha Matatini. She brings a strong data innovation focus to the Board.

Associate Professor Māui Hudson is an Interdisciplinary researcher based at the Faculty of Maori and Indigenous Studies at the University of Waikato. He brings to the board related to his research focuses on the application of mātauranga Māori (indigenous knowledge) to governance and decision-making across a range of contemporary contexts from new technologies to health, the environment to innovation.

Rear Admiral John Martin, ONZM, was Chief of the Royal New Zealand Navy from 2015 to 2018. He held roles on the board of Sir Peter Blake Trust and the National Museum of the Royal New Zealand Navy, and brings strong leadership experience to the Board.

Nicki Crauford is currently Chair of GNS Science and Chair of Chorus and Visonstream – UFB Connect Joint Governance Board. She is a Director of Watercare Services, a Director of Orion New Zealand and a Director of Environmental Protection Authority. Nicky brings extensive governance expertise to the Board.

Te Rau Kupenga was previously Deputy Secretary at the Ministry for the Environment and a member of the Senior Leadership Team at the Ministry of Education. He is currently on the Board of Trustees for Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, and brings public sector leadership experience to the Board.

Wendy Venter is currently a Director at the New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Limited. She has previously been a partner at EY, a Deputy Chief Executive at the Ministry of Social Development, an assistant Auditor General. She has extensive experience on risk and assurance committees.