PFR – Director

About Plant and Food Research (PFR)

PFR’s purpose is to enhance the value and productivity of New Zealand’s horticultural, arable, seafood and food and beverage industries. Further information on PFR can be found at its website(external link).

PFR is a Crown entity company

PFR is a Crown Research Institute (CRI). CRIs are Crown-owned companies that carry out scientific research for the benefit of New Zealand. CRIs play a unique and important role supporting their sectors to innovate and grow. CRIs strive to address New Zealand’s most pressing issues and achieve economic growth by improving sectors’ productivity and sustainable use of natural resources.

The Companies Act 1993, Crown Research Institutes Act 1992 (the CRI Act) and the Crown Entities Act 2004 provide a framework for governance and accountability, including responsibilities of directors, disclosure of interests, and the roles of Ministers. These acts are available at link).

CRIs have two shareholding Ministers who act to protect the Crown’s investment: the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Science, Innovation and Technology. Ministers have powers with regard to all entities on matters of strategic direction, targets, funding, performance, reporting and reviews. MBIE is the primary monitoring agency for all CRIs.

Director responsibilities

Role of Directors

The Public Service Commission’s guidance sets out that a Crown entity director should:

  • Comply with the Crown Entities Act, Companies Act, CRI Act and other relevant legislation.
  • Act with honesty, integrity, in good faith and not at the expense of the entity’s interests.
  • Act with reasonable care, diligence and skill (as a ‘reasonable person’ would in the same circumstances).
  • Avoid disclosing information obtained in their capacity as a member, unless in specified circumstances.
  • Provide effective leadership to the entity, consistent with the purpose of the entity and Ministers’ expectations.
  • Provide guidance and support to the Chief Executive to ensure the entity is managed effectively. This includes establishing an effective working relationship with the Chief Executive while also taking an independent view to challenge and test management thinking.
  • Manage risk and ensure compliance of the entity.
  • Attend board meetings and ensure appropriate policies and structures are in place to support the entity.
  • Provide guidance and support to other board members to ensure they contribute effectively to the governance of the entity.

Collective and individual duties

The collective duties of directors are to ensure that PFR acts consistently with its objectives, its Statement of Corporate Intent and Statement of Performance Expectations, and that PFR functions are performed efficiently, effectively and in a manner consistent with the spirit of service to the public, and in a financially responsible manner. Directors are responsible for:

  • Setting and monitoring the strategic direction of PFR.
  • Fostering a diverse and inclusive environment, and setting the culture and tone of PFR.
  • Taking decisions that it has reserved for itself under the delegations policy.
  • Appointing the Chief Executive.

The duties of individual directors are described in the Companies Act, CRI Act and the Crown Entities Act. In addition, directors should demonstrate strong personal integrity and ethics that will enable them to meet their obligations as a director.

Directors are expected to adhere to the Public Service Commission code of conduct(external link).

Further information on the relationships between Crown entities, Ministers, and departments can be found at It Takes Three: Operating Expectations Framework for Statutory Crown Entities(external link).

Membership of the Board

Directors are appointed for terms of up to three years and may be reappointed on the expiry of their term. Directors of the board may resign by written notice to the shareholding Ministers. Directors may be removed from office at any time, and for any reason, by written notice from the shareholding Ministers to the company.

Time commitment and remuneration

Directors are paid a fee of $45,021 per annum.

The Board meets approximately 12 times each year with 6 of those meetings online and the others at any one of PFR’s fourteen locations in New Zealand. In addition to preparing for those meetings, PFR Board directors will also contribute to a board sub-committee (Audit & Risk or Remuneration) and may also participate in ad hoc decision-making during the year.

Person specifications – Director

Specific skills required

At this time, the Minister of Science, Innovation and Technology is seeking two directors:

Role one:

  • Proven governance experience.
  • A genuine interest in PFR’s purpose and the contextual environment in which it operates.
  • A background in science and innovation, ideally with experience in the commercialisation of science.
  • Credibility and experience within the science system and connections to end users.

Role two:

  • Proven governance experience.
  • A genuine interest in PFR’s purpose and the contextual environment in which it operates.
  • Extensive financial capabilities, including audit and risk experience.
  • Preferably a Chartered Accountant.

Additional skills, experience and attributes

  • Business and commercial acumen, including industry connections.
  • Commercialisation and innovation experience.
  • Financial acumen, including audit and risk management expertise.
  • Stakeholder management experience.
  • An understanding of the science and research system.
  • Media and public relations experience.
  • Expertise in change management and human resources.

Applicants must have the legal right to work in New Zealand.

Disclosure of interest

Before a person is appointed as a director of a Crown entity, the person must complete a disclosure form informing the shareholding Ministers the nature and extent (including monetary value, if quantifiable) of all interests that the person has at that time, or is likely to have, in matters relating to the Crown entity company.

Additional information

For further enquiries about the position, email: