The Electoral Commission consists of:
Hon Sir Hugh Williams, KNZM, QC, LLM
Hon Sir Hugh Williams was appointed a Judge of the High Court in 1995 and retired from the Bench in 2011. He previously served as a Master of the High Court for four years. He was elected as a Palmerston North City Councillor for two terms in the late 1980s and for seven years in the mid-1990s he was the Chancellor of Massey University. Sir Hugh was appointed as the President of the former Electoral Commission in 2009 and Chair of the new Electoral Commission in 2010.
Hon Sir Hugh Williams offers the Commission strong legal leadership. He has a long-standing involvement in the administration of justice and significant governance experience as a highly engaged University Chancellor. He is well informed on the issues and complexities of electoral law, especially those associated with preparations for General Elections and other electoral events.
Kristy P McDonald QC, BA/LLM (HONS)
Kristy McDonald QC is a Wellington barrister with extensive experience as a court lawyer.
She has provided advice and representation in a wide range of matters including criminal, civil and administrative matters over her 36 years in practice. Kristy began her career as a Crown prosecutor in Christchurch, was later appointed a Crown Counsel in Wellington and commenced practice at the independent bar in 1989. Kristy was made a Queens Counsel in 1999.
Kristy has acted for the Crown in numerous and varied matters over her career. She has undertaken and assisted with a number of independent Ministerial and other public inquiries including the Pike River inquiry and has chaired and advised a number of statutory bodies and Tribunals.
As well as being in active practice as a barrister Kristy has held a number of governance positions. She is currently a Director of ACC, the Chair of the Kiwifuit NZ – the Kiwifruit regulatory body and a Director of a building society. Kristy is also a member of a number of government Audit, Risk and Assurance committees.
Chief Electoral Officer
Alicia Wright, MSc
Alicia’s 5 year term as Chief Electoral Officer and Chief Executive of the Electoral Commission began in January 2017.
Prior to joining the Commission, Alicia was Deputy Secretary Evaluation at the Ministry of Defence, having held that role since 2012. The Evaluation Division is responsible for auditing and assessing the New Zealand Defence Force and the Ministry of Defence’s equipment procurement/capability acquisition activities.
Alicia has been a public servant both in New Zealand and overseas. She began her public service in Washington DC and came to New Zealand in 1996 to work within the Department of Labour’s Labour Market Policy Group. She has had senior roles across the public service including Ministry of Social Development, Department of Internal Affairs and Ministry of Defence. She has also been a principal at Deloittes and was Director of Amherst Group.
Alicia has a Masters of Science from Syracuse University.
Formation of the Electoral Commission
A programme to establish a single electoral agency responsible for all aspects of parliamentary electoral administration was begun after the 2008 general election and was completed on 1 July 2012.
The amalgamation of the three former electoral agencies was implemented in two phases to minimise disruption to the delivery of electoral services to New Zealanders, including delivery of the 2011 General Election and Referendum.
Phase 1 consisted of amalgamating the former Electoral Commission and the Chief Electoral Office into the new Electoral Commission on 1 October 2010, in accordance with the Electoral (Administration) Amendment Act 2010.
Phase 2 involved transferring statutory responsibility for enrolment functions (governed by Part 5 of the Electoral Act 1993) from the Electoral Enrolment Centre of NZ Post Ltd to the Electoral Commission on 1 July 2012 in accordance with the Electoral (Administration) Amendment Act 2011.