People, culture and capability

The Commission is committed to being a good employer (as defined in section 118 of the Crown Entities Act 2004) and actively promotes the principles of equal employment opportunities (EEO).

The Commission has personnel policies which guide its practices. These policies are reviewed regularly to comply with legislation and to reflect the needs of staff.
The Commission manages a small team of employees and maintains a transparent environment, where people’s needs and concerns are managed openly.


As at 30 June 2019, the Commission had 9.21 full-time equivalent employees, compared to 11.51 in 2018. The age profile of the employees was wide, with an average age of 45 years. Of the total of thirteen staff, 81 per cent were NZ European and 19 per cent were of other ethnicities. There were no Māori or Pacific Island staff.

The Commission recognises the benefits of a diverse workforce. In 2018 the majority of staff (63 per cent) were female. As at 30 June 2019, three of the Commission’s managers are male, and one is female. Staff members were all able-bodied.

The Commission has six Board members – two male and four female – and a kaumātua who provides advice on and assists with Māori cultural matters, particularly at an operational level. Three of the Board members are Māori with significant experience in Crown/Māori issues. Twelve regional field advisors are employed by the Commission as independent contractors. Five of the regional field advisors are male and seven are female. EEO data is not held for them, due to their contractual relationship with the Commission.

Commitment to staff

The following sections follow the reporting framework used by the Human Rights Commission to assess the "good employer" performance of Crown entities.

Recruitment, selection and induction

The Commission demonstrates equal employment opportunity principles in its recruitment and selection practices. Vacancies are advertised and all individuals are employed on the basis of merit, according to skills, knowledge and relevant experience.

Employee development

The Commission has a positive, equitable approach to employee development. It encourages staff to identify development opportunities which reflect both work needs and their own longer-term professional and personal objectives. Managers identify learning and development opportunities for staff aimed at ensuring that organisational needs are met. There is an ongoing focus on developing and providing opportunities for staff. For example, during the year staff attended conferences and courses to develop technical and professional expertise on topics such as communications, and geographic information systems technology. Continued professional development is supported.

Remuneration and recognition

The Commission uses job evaluation to set job bands and reviews salaries annually as part of its performance management process. Remuneration is adjusted using Statistics New Zealand Labour Market Statistics data for the period ending June each year.

Flexible work environment

The Commission recognises the value of flexible work arrangements. It supports and encourages staff to develop and maintain a work-life balance. Arrangements include offering part-time work (23% of staff work part-time) and providing for employees to work from home, as appropriate. The Commission takes into account the age of its employees, and how this might impact on their personal caring duties, whether they are looking after young children or elderly parents.

Safe and healthy environment

The Commission promotes and actively invests in employee health, safety and wellbeing. All staff members are encouraged to attend first-aid courses. Winter influenza vaccinations are offered to all staff members. The Wellington City Council deems the Commission’s building not to be earthquake-prone. All staff members have "grab and go" earthquake and disaster preparedness kits.

Leadership, accountability and culture

The Commission has a conceptual framework which gives the organisation a clear sense of direction and outcomes. The Board and managers provide the supporting leadership at the governance and management levels. Managers have senior managerial and technical experience and provide informal coaching and mentoring for staff and regional field advisors. The Commission is a member of the public sector Leadership Development Centre.

The Commission’s work requires a high level of initiative, judgement and self-management which provide regular opportunities for staff to initiate and manage cases and projects. The Commission’s size requires people to multi-task, which places a high reliance on teamwork and operational skills. The nature of the Commission’s work presents few opportunities for highly-structured leadership roles. Weekly staff meetings provide opportunities to share information, seek advice and discuss the office, its organisation and culture. The ‘Capability’ section of the Commission’s National Strategy 2010-2035 aims for an organisational culture and environment that builds trust among stakeholders. This relies on an internal culture of transparency, objectivity, integrity and respect for others. The Commission actively seeks to be outward-focused and to build constructive and collaborative relationships with stakeholders.

Preventing bullying and harassment

The Commission outlines acceptable behaviour in its Code of Conduct and Unacceptable Performance, Misconduct or Serious Misconduct Policy. Staff members have access to the Employee Assistance Programme. The Commission is committed to managing any complaints of bullying or harassment appropriately and in a timely manner.

Organisational capability

The Commission has a Business Continuity Plan to manage the business in the event of a disaster (such as fire, water damage or earthquake).