Terms of Reference for the Governance Review Committee 

Federated Farmers NZ, December 2021 – June 2022

Who are we? 

Federated Farmers NZ is an engaged and connected network of farmers making a positive impact to the businesses, communities, and environments of our members. We advocate for the best outcomes in policy, legislation, and other initiatives affecting the rural sector.

We're an independent, ground-up organisation with a uniquely pan-sector influence. Our members choose us - their commitment to us is voluntary which is highly valued by us. In return, we focus primarily on improving outcomes for our members.

What do we want to achieve?

We need to ensure that the organisation is fit for purpose, has a sound and enduring future, and can deliver tangible value to its members. There are a number of governance groups and functions within Federated Farmers, and it may not be the most efficient and effective way to lead the organisation forward. 

Managing the workloads of our volunteer executives is needed to avoid burnout and ensure succession from grassroots through to the Board is seamless and well contested. We are an organisation of farmers speaking for farmers and balancing that role with effective organisational governance has placed huge demands on our people. We need to have the right structures in place.

Across the decades farmers have risen to many challenges, and in most recent times we have seen unprecedented change. People tasked with governance are at their best when they are distinguished by diversity of thought and demonstrable capability. 
What are we looking to do?

We are looking to create an inclusive culture in all aspects of governance and management, removing unconscious bias, group think, and avoiding blind spots - to drive better outcomes and long-term success. We are seeking expressions of interest from independent candidates with a diverse background that includes ethnicity, culture, sectorial experience, capability, networks, Māori whakapapa and inclusiveness. Appointments will be based on merit and diversity.

What are the key focus areas to determine?
  • Define the role of National Council (is this to remain our supreme body)
    o Frequency of meetings
    o What is the makeup of National Council
    o What is delegated to Board (ie budgets)
    o Is the Board a subcommittee of the National Council
    o Should there be a schedule of reviews for National Policy positions approved by Council
  • Should the Board function as a Board – ie Governance concentrating on risk and strategy
    o Should the Board be elected from within National Council
    o Should the Board have independent members 
    o Should the wider membership vote for board members – like the Levy orgs do?
  • Spokespersonship/Advocacy
    o Where should this role sit – does it have to sit with Board members
    o Should we look to group Portfolios together and have a team approach to each grouping – If so what would be the ideal groupings of Portfolios and how many people involved. 
    o What is the role of board subcommittees
    o Should this be widened to include policy subcommittee – Who would be on it what would it look like.
    o Are the two current Board sub committees optimal, should changes happen to them.
  • What is the role of Industry Groups?
    o Where should the Industry Groups Chair fit in with our Governance and Advocacy roles.
    o How could we, or should we, encourage special interest groups to form under the Feds umbrella rather than do their own thing.
  • Provincial Structure
    o If changes are to be made at a board level, what changes should happen at the Provincial level to ensure we don’t develop a disconnect.
  • Board representation
    o Should it reflect geography, industry sector, size of province, Governance talent and focus?
    o Length of board term needs to be determined
    o Role of Maori interests
    o Associate Board members for succession planning 

What we need from you?

A commitment to:
  • Ensure we are following the mission of the governance review
  • Being part of a team to deliver insight and solutions to the governance challenges
  • Supporting diversity of thought around the table
  • Understanding where Federated Farmers has come from and where its strategy is going
  • Delivering solid recommendations within the timelines of delivery
There will be an expectation to work between meetings on reading and evaluating feedback and submissions from stakeholders.

Make-up of the Governance Review Committee

The committee is made up of seven full voting members comprising:
  • Two current Board Members
  • Two current Provincial Presidents representing National Council
  • Three independent members (selected by the Board) including the Chair of this committee
In addition, the committee will be supported by:
  • The CEO will be a non-voting participant to provide information and context
  • There will be a secretariat to support this committee made up of the EA to the CEO and President, and the GM Strategy to assist in logistics and process
  • The final report will be written by a contractor engaged solely for this purpose

What will we offer in return?

The opportunity to be part of setting the future of how governance is embedded and delivered within Federated Farmers for the years ahead. The Committee will enjoy being part of a supportive and inclusive culture led by the National President and CEO.

All costs will be met by the organisation for members to attend meetings, and a small honorarium will be paid to the seven participants ($1500 per member and $2500 for the chair).

When are the meetings?

An initial meeting will be booked in during December 2021 for the Committee to meet each other and understand the mission.  Following that there will be monthly meetings commencing February through to June 2022 (in person, if Covid restrictions allow). Calendar confirmations to be confirmed by 1 December 2021.

What documents can I access to review before I decide?

We can provide upon request:
  • The Constitution
  • Code of Conduct
  • Strategy Documents
  • 2020 General Election Platform (Policy Report)

Process for “sounding the alarm”?

If you are unhappy with the committee process, behaviour from committee members, conflict of interest, or interference; the contact is Andrew Hoggard, National President, Federated Farmers who is the project owner sitting outside of the Governance Review Committee.