Issue date
28 May 2020

The Government is on the verge of reaching its target of state sector boards and committees made up of at least 50 percent women, say Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter and Minister for Ethnic Communities Jenny Salesa.

The results come from the annual gender stocktake of New Zealand’s state sector boards and committees undertaken by the Ministry for Women. This year is the the first time ever that the stocktake has also measured Māori representation and the ethnic background of board and committee members.  

Julie Anne Genter says the stocktake shows the highest ever percentage of women (49 percent, as at 31 December 2019) on state sector boards.

“We are on track for achieving the Government’s goal of 50 percent women’s representation on boards by 2021 with record levels of women on boards this year. 

“Good governance is crucial to New Zealand’s future decisions. Diverse boards are more likely to be effective, make better quality decisions, and be better able to understand the people they serve. 

“Women who are interested in serving on boards are invited to join the Ministry for Women nominations database. We are always looking for more women to proactively appoint to boards. 

“We remain committed to developing the diversity and inclusiveness of our boards and I would like to see more action from the private sector on achieving greater diversity on their boards,” says Julie Anne Genter. 

Jenny Salesa says most state sector board members provided ethnicity information as part of the stocktake.

“Diverse boards make better decisions. We encourage diverse representation on state sector boards and committees so that decision makers on these government boards have the relevant skills and expertise, as well as reflect the ethnic, cultural and religious vibrancy of our country.

“Building a thriving New Zealand means all of us having a seat the table. It’s about making sure all of our communities have a voice to the top. This stocktake is an important turning point in helping New Zealand achieve that.”

“Every year, the New Zealand Government makes appointments to over 430 state sector boards and committees, made up of thousands of members. I am very pleased that for the first time ever our Government is reporting on the ethnic makeup of our country’s state sector boards and committees. I acknowledge we still have improvements to make, but it is important to have this baseline information.”                       

“The stocktake shows that of all Government appointments, 21.2 percent of board members are Māori, 4.7 percent are people from Pacific communities, 3.4 percent describe themselves as Asian. Less than one percent of board members are Middle Eastern, Latin American, or of African descent. The most common background for appointees remains New Zealand European or European at 71.9 percent of all appointees. In an encouraging sign, the appointment rate for 2019 shows that our boards are becoming more diverse.”

“This is about so much more than the backgrounds of the individuals who sit on these boards – it is about including the communities they come from into a better, more inclusive democracy.” says Jenny Salesa.

You can read the full 2019 stocktake of Gender, Māori and Ethnic Diversity on State Sector Boards here.