Te Puni Kōkiri recruitment process findings

Chief Executive of Te Puni Kōkiri, Dave Samuels, accepts findings of the Public Service Commission Te Kawa Mataaho about shortcomings in a process to appoint a staff member at Te Puni Kōkiri.

Published: Friday, 24 May 2024 | Rāmere, 24 Haratua, 2024

In February 2024, Te Puni Kōkiri Chief Executive, Dave Samuels, asked the Public Service Commission to look into processes and decision-making relating to the fixed-term appointment of a Senior Advisor – Māori Capability role.

Te Puni Kōkiri has now received the findings from Pania Gray, of Kororā Consulting, the independent expert who led the work.

Te Puni Kōkiri is pleased to see that the findings show the recruitment process was conventional and largely sound. The staff involved were found to have done what they thought was procedurally correct and sought to act in a fair and unbiased manner. The independent expert also found that the Secretary for Māori Development did not have undue influence on the process or decision to appoint.

Nevertheless, there were shortcomings, both in Te Puni Kōkiri processes and in how staff followed those processes, including:

  • Te Puni Kōkiri did not explore the risks arising from the applicant’s professional serious misconduct at his interview.
  • The interview panel did not collectively consider the applicant’s professional serious misconduct in assessing the applicant’s suitability for appointment during the moderation process.
  • When asked by staff members, Te Puni Kōkiri should have carried out a review of the appointment. This would have ensured consistency with the Public Service Commission’s Workforce Guidance.
  • The Deputy Secretaries who approved the appointment also considered whether or not a review of the appointment should be undertaken, which was not appropriate.
  • Te Puni Kōkiri’s ‘Review of Appointment Policy’ was out of date and did not fully reflect public sector system wide guidance.

Te Puni Kōkiri Chief Executive, Dave Samuels said that he accepts the independent findings.

Mr Samuels has apologised to Te Puni Kōkiri staff. He has also personally contacted those staff who requested the appointment be reviewed to assure them Te Puni Kōkiri is working to address the shortcomings identified.

“The consistent application of appropriate recruitment processes is important to maintaining trust and confidence in Te Puni Kōkiri as a Public Service agency. Our work to address the shortcomings will ensure that something like this will not happen in the future.”

“While the independent reviewer found I had no undue influence over the appointment process or the decisions regarding the requests to review, I acknowledge that Te Puni Kōkiri could have handled this better. In future, I will ensure that we do.”