A former professional soldier, Lieutenant-Colonel (Rtd) Sir Wira Gardiner has a long and distinguished public service career, including extensive governance experience.
He was the founding director of the Waitangi Tribunal and founding chief executive of the Ministry of Maori Development (Te Puni Kokiri). He has been National Director of Civil Defence, Chair of Te Mangai Paho and deputy chair of Te Ohu Kaimoana. He was Chair of the Tertiary Education Commission between 2010 and 2012, and Chair of the Board of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa between 2010 and 2013.
Sir Wira was made a Knight of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2008 for services to Maori. Sir Wira has published a number of books and is currently working on the history of B Company 28 Maori Battalion.
Current Commissioner Janie Annear, who has been a member of the Commission since 1 July 2014 and served three terms as the Mayor of Timaru from 2004 to 2013, has been reappointed.
In 2014 Janie was appointed as an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to local government.
In April 2014 she was appointed by the Minister of Local Government as Temporary Member of the Local Government Commission and was made a permanent member in July 2014.
Janie has experience across a wide range of private sector, local government and central government roles. She serves on the Boards of the Lottery Community Facilities and Significant Projects Funds. She also chairs Aoraki Polytechnic Council.
Leigh Auton has extensive local government experience with a particular background in planning, infrastructure and transport, and is former Chief Executive of Manukau City Council and former interim Chief Executive of Tauranga City Council.
Leigh is a Chartered Member of the Institute of Directors, and a Director/Trustee/Chair for a number of public and private sector entities. He was a member of the Board of Inquiry for the Men’s prison at Wiri in 2011, and a member of the Review Panel for the Kaipara District Council in 2012.
He is a former President and Inaugural Fellow of the NZ Planning Institute and, in November 2009, he received a Distinguished Service Award for his contribution to the image and practice of planning.
Geoff Dangerfield has worked in Chief Executive roles across the public sector for the last 15 years. As CEO of the NZ Transport Agency from its inception through to late 2015, he worked closely with local government on improving the land transport planning, investment and delivery system.
He was CEO of the Ministry of Economic Development from 2001 to 2008, and prior to that Deputy Secretary to the Treasury.
Since the beginning of 2016, Geoff has been working as director and consultant to a range of private and public sector organisations.
Geoff holds an MSc in Resource Management, is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, a Chartered Member of the Institute of Directors, and a Companion of the Institution of Professional Engineers of New Zealand.
Brendan has had 21 years as an elected member of the Horowhenua District Council and 12 of these as Mayor.
He has chaired the Provincial Sector of Local Government NZ for 6 years and has been Zone 3 chair for 9 years.
He held the position of Vice President of LGNZ for 3 years. His governance experience is well respected by elected members across New Zealand. Brendan is a Director on the Board of MITO, he was appointed by the
Minister of Health as Deputy Chair of Mid Central District Health Board and has recently received a second
Ministerial appointment as a Commissioner on the Local Government Commission for a 12-month term.
Suzanne Doig brings an in-depth knowledge of local and central government to the role of Chief Executive Officer of the Commission, developed over a 15 year career in the public service.
Most recently, she was General Manager of Strategy and Policy at Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority from 2014 to 2016, working across central and local government on post-2016 arrangements to support regeneration. Before that she held various management and intellectual leadership roles at the Ministry for the Environment, working on major initiatives such as water reform.
Early in her career, Suzanne also worked in local government in New Zealand and overseas. She holds a PhD in New Zealand history.