Regional Skills Leadership
Terms of Reference
1. Background and Purpose
On 24 July 2019 the Government agreed to establish 15 Regional Skills Leadership Groups (RSLGs) to
facilitate dialogue about regional labour market needs. The Cabinet Paper and Cabinet Minute are
available here: https://www.mbie.govt.nz/business-and-employment/employment-and-
In April 2020, the Labour Market Ministers Group (LMMG) agreed to establish interim RSLGs to
support regional labour market responses to COVID-19. Through the provision of labour market
intelligence and data, interim RSLGs will inform New Zealand’s skills, training and immigration
programmes and settings.
The purpose of the RSLGs is to identify the workforce and skills needs and priorities in their region,
both now and in the future, and advise government on actions to cultivate these.
Our education, welfare and immigration systems will act on this advice to make sure these skills are
developed and available and to reduce reliance on migrant workers where New Zealanders are
available and able to be trained. Employers can act on this advice to tackle barriers to employment
and productivity growth, by pooling resources and offering attractive job opportunities and by
working to grow and train the labour force they need. For Government, this advice will help inform
the design of employment initiatives; skills and training programmes and investments; and sector,
occupation or geographic immigration settings.
RSLGs will be regionally based and regionally led. They will feature regional industry leaders,
economic development agencies, worker representatives, iwi, and a senior government
representative (usually the Regional Public Service Lead), who will contribute their knowledge and
local expertise. The groups will be supported by a Secretariat based in the Ministry of Business,
Innovation and Employment (the Ministry) that will provide analytical support, data and labour
market expertise, and a view across central government programmes related to skills and
RSLGs will also play a vital coordination role in ensuring local, district and regional labour market
initiatives are joined up, complementary and aligned to addressing a region’s labour market needs
and priorities (as identified in the annual Regional Workforce Plan). This coordination role will be
reinforced by the inclusion of the Regional Public Service Lead, who will support the group to work
with other government initiatives in the region.
In developing RSLGs, Cabinet was mindful of the need for them to reflect their region and work for
their region. What works in one region will not necessarily work in another region. To this end, the
Ministry is working to ensure that membership and structure is reflective of the uniqueness of the
The arrival of COVID-19 and its far reaching impacts on regional economies, labour markets and
people has expedited the establishment of RSLGs in order to support a coordinated regional and
central government response. These interim groups will provide a focus for drawing together labour
market information, and offer valuable labour market intelligence to central government and
regions to support the COVID-19 response. The interim groups will also be expected to work
collaboratively across the region, and with neighbouring regions where relevant, to coordinate and
strengthen other local and government labour market initiatives that are supporting New Zealand’s
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economic recovery from COVID-19. Broad engagement across the region and with particular
communities will help the groups frame short and long-term labour market challenges and priorities.
In the near-term, the RSLGs will be denoted as ‘interim RSLGs’ reflecting that they will not be
expected to fulfil all the requirements laid out in the Cabinet decision around their setup (notably
completion of an annual Workforce Plan) and the focus will be to support the immediate response
to the regional labour market impacts and disruption arising from COVID-19.
It is expected that within a year the interim RSLGs will become full RSLGs, with two year terms for
members, the Chair appointed by Cabinet, and producing an annual Regional Workforce Plan.
These Terms of Reference describe the purpose, role, functions, membership and processes of the
Regional Skills Leadership Group. Annex One outlines the differences between the interim RSLG and
full RSLG. Unless otherwise highlighted, the Terms of Reference covers both interim RSLGs and full
2. Role and function of the RSLGs
2.1. Interim RSLG
A priority for the interim RSLGs is to provide coordinated, strategic, qualitative information about
regional labour market disruption resulting from COVID-19 and advice to central government on
how to support the recovery. This information will be critical in supporting central government
initiatives to support local employers and job seekers. Interim RSLGs will also take a leading role in
providing a regional view on:
Workforce trends and risks
- Unemployment: insight into current unemployment (and under-employment) in the
region and risks of potential layoffs, including sector, location etc.
- Employment: opportunities including timing, sector, location, skills, experience
required and potential participation barriers.
Labour market response to COVID-19
- Provide advice for transition into sustainable employment or skills development and
training and how to best coordinate this.
- A regional view on the role of immigration and tertiary education in specific sectors
The interim RSLG will also:
be the regional point of contact for central government in terms of regional labour market
and skills information and advice
engage with key stakeholders and iwi in the region to identify patterns, trends and urgent
needs relating to business continuity and labour market attachment in the region
where relevant, ensure regional activity by the interim RSLG is shared with, and aligned to,
consider any specific issues that the Minister of Employment or the Ministry directs the RSLG
The group will develop and implement an engagement plan that ensures ongoing consultation with
regional stakeholders including iwi and, where possible hapū. The plan will also outline how the
group will provide support to enable iwi, hapū and under-represented groups to engage with the
work of the RSLG.
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Interim RSLGs will transition over 12 months to ‘full RSLG’ status. Building on the work of the interim
group, RSLGs will provide a forward view of the skills and labour that will need to be attracted to the
region from across New Zealand (and internationally), and local initiatives that can be taken to close
the gap of any predictable skills and labour shortages. A key output of an RSLG will be an annual
Regional Workforce Plan (Plan).
A region’s Plan will set out the aspiration for the region and how the desired future state will be
achieved. The plan will include commitments for actions from the parties represented on the RSLG
and will highlight labour supply and demand trends, and identify where change is needed to achieve
a high-skill regional labour market. In order to represent the views of iwi, business and workers,
there will be a need for different community groups and sub-regional perspectives to be reflected,
as appropriate, within the Plan. These perspectives may be developed through formal advisory
groups of the RSLG or in another manner that the RSLG determines is appropriate.
The RSLG is responsible for overseeing, facilitating and encouraging the implementation of its
region’s Plan through its network of relationships with central and local actors. As part of this role
the Plan will be provided to central government to input into planning and decision making across
the education, skills and training, immigration and employment support areas (refer Annex Two –
RSLG System Diagram). For example, an RSLG is expected to use this plan to advise the Tertiary
Education Commission (TEC) on purchasing and funding decisions, advocating on behalf of the
region for the investment needed to give effect to the region’s skills plan, and TEC is required to take
this advice into account.
In addition to producing a Plan, the RSLGs will continue to be responsible for informing and joining
up local initiatives that impact on the region’s workforce supply, including initiatives designed to
establish connections between schools and employers; for retraining mid-career or older workers;
and local and regional initiatives to attract and retain workers. This will require members of the RSLG
to work through their existing networks and with the Regional Public Service Lead or regionally-
based government member appointed to their group.
As with the interim RSLG, the full RSLGs will provide advice and labour market data and intelligence
to government and help inform central government activities and decisions that support skill
development and workforce supply.
3. Interim and full RSLG operational accountabilities1
The RSLG will provide independent intelligence and advice and is accountable to the Ministry. In
carrying out its role, the RSLG will:
act in accordance with procedures agreed or mandated by the Ministry or the Minister of
maintain the confidentiality of material submitted to it or obtained in carrying out, or
incidental to, its functions
comply with legal requirements
maintain a conflict of interest register for all members that is kept updated.
In considering and providing advice to regional participants or central government, the RSLG will:
1 A reference to ‘RSLG’ in the Terms of Reference includes both an interim and ‘full’ RSLG unless otherwise
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engage and confer with their community, including iwi across the region, and hapū where
seek information relating to labour market priorities, activities and projects both in the
region and where appropriate neighbouring regions, and provide advice on prioritisation and
coordination where applicable
consider establishing sub-group(s) to represent the regional labour market diversity.
The RSLG will agree with the RSLG Secretariat how the group will document the systems and
processes it uses to operate, including
the procedures for providing advice to regional stakeholders and/or central government
how its meetings are conducted, including a quorum, the procedures for when the Chair is
absent, and voting
the working relationship with the Ministry and other government agencies.
All advice / outputs from the RSLG should be collectively agreed by members. In the event that a
consensus view cannot be obtained, minority opinions must be represented in the minutes of the
4. RSLG Secretariat support
To support the RSLGs, the RSLG Secretariat will provide support through both regionally and
Wellington based staff. The support will include:
presenting central government compiled data and provide this to each RSLG. This will
include information from the Ministry, the Ministry of Social Development, Tertiary
Education Commission, Statistics New Zealand, and others as appropriate, eg Te Puni Kōkori,
Ministry of Primary Industries, Ministry for Women
collating and analysing the labour market intelligence and insights provided by RSLGs
drafting and analytical support required to develop, collate, and present the RSLG’s
perspectives. As the interim groups transition to full RSLG status, this will include providing a
template for the annual Regional Workforce Plan and assisting with the drafting of the Plan
providing a direct link between RSLGs and central government
some financial support for RSLGs to fund research
overseeing the governance of RSLGs and providing general guidance where necessary
providing logistical support for RSLGs, including arranging meetings, recording minutes,
liaising with invited guests, collating research and arranging the payment of members’ fees
The interim RSLG will meet at least fortnightly during the immediate COVID-19 response, unless
otherwise agreed with the Ministry. After the COVID-19 immediate response, and on mutual
agreement with the Ministry, the group will meet at least monthly.
The interim RSLG may be required to meet on a ‘virtual’ basis in certain COVID-19 status levels. All
meetings will be coordinated by the RSLG Secretariat, whether in-situ or virtual.
Additional meetings may be called when required and with agreement of the Chair and the RSLG
Secretariat, on particularly urgent or important areas of labour market insight or advice. Where
issues arise between scheduled meetings, the RSLG Secretariat may contact the group by email or
teleconference to seek their views.
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Full RSLGs will meet between six to ten times over a twelve month period, to be decided by the
Where members cannot attend a meeting, they should provide written or verbal information and
feedback to the Chair. No alternates are permitted, unless otherwise agreed with the Ministry.
6. Role and term of the Chair
The Chair of the interim RSLG will be appointed by the Chief Executive of the Ministry for the term to
June 2021 or until the appointment of the full RSLG, whichever is earlier. This term may be extended
by the Chief Executive of the Ministry.
Once the interim RSLG transitions to a full RSLG, the Chair’s term becomes two years and will be
approved by Cabinet’s Appointment and Honours Committee.
The RSLG may appoint an alternative Chair in the event of illness or unavailability of the appointed
The Chair is responsible for:
setting the agenda in consultation with members and the RSLG Secretariat
ensuring the RSLG operates in a manner that enables it to undertake its role and functions
managing any conflict of interest or lobbying that may arise
liaising with the RSLG Secretariat on behalf of the RSLG
acting as the spokesperson for the RSLG
establishing an agreed mechanism through which information relating to the region’s RSLG
activity is strategically aligned and shared with neighbouring regions where appropriate.
7. Membership and Term
The RSLG will consist of no more than 15 members, including the Chair.
Members are appointed in their personal capacity and cannot nominate alternates to attend on
The interim RSLG members will be appointed for the term to June 2021 or until appointment of the
full RSLG, whichever is earlier. This term may be extended by the Chief Executive of the Ministry.
Members of the interim RSLG are eligible for appointment to the full RSLG. Once the interim RSLG
transitions to a full RSLG, members will be appointed for an initial two year term and are eligible for
reappointment, at the discretion of MBIE to allow for Group continuity and representativeness.
7.2. Attributes of Members
Members will be appointed based on ensuring the RSLG as a whole has the following competencies:
the ability to take a region-wide view, and have a good understanding of regional labour
market and skills needs
the ability to operate at a strategic level and in a collaborative manner
strong regional connections across economic and social sectors
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an understanding of the Māori and iwi context in the region
the ability to think about inter-regional relationships where appropriate
the ability to take a broad perspective on issues
effective stakeholder engagement, including relationships with employers, unions,
community, iwi, and local authorities
in-depth knowledge of some aspects of the regional labour market.
7.3. Appointment process
The Ministry may, by written notice, appoint any person as a member. Initial appointments will be
consistent with the proposed RSLG compositional structures. Any such appointment shall be
effective from the time and date specified in the notice.
Members are appointed to the RSLG in a personal capacity and for their particular skillset.
The Ministry may, at any time and at its discretion, terminate an appointment by written notice sent
to the member, copied to the Secretariat. A member may, at any time, resign membership of the
RSLG by providing written notice to the Ministry.
7.4. Government officials may attend in an advisory capacity rather than Members
In addition to the appointed members (including the government representative), other government
officials may act as advisers to the RSLG, at the invitation of the Chair. These officials will contribute
to discussions but will not take part in decision-making and provision of advice to the Ministry. This
will ensure that they can provide expert advice to the RSLG while maintaining their primary function
of serving their Minister and agency.
The RSLG is classified as a Group 4 Level 3 body under the Cabinet Fees Framework (All Other
Committees and Other Bodies). All members are responsible for paying Inland Revenue payments,
other taxes and Accident Compensation Corporation levies in respect of remuneration and
These rates as at 03 June 2020 are $575 per day (plus GST if applicable) for the Chair and $395 per
day (plus GST if applicable) for members. Hourly pro-rata rates based on a standard 8 hour day will
be calculated, to apply when hours worked differ from a standard day.
Members representing government agencies, crown entities or local government employees are
appointed in their capacity as representatives and are not entitled to any additional remuneration
(refer clauses 69 and 70 of the Cabinet Fees Framework).
The daily remuneration for all others will be claimed in accordance with Cabinet Office instructions.
All travel, accommodation and meals will be organised and paid by the Ministry where practicable.
Any disbursements will be agreed with the Ministry. Where travel, accommodation and meals
cannot be organised by the Ministry, then actual and reasonable costs will be reimbursed in
accordance with relevant Ministry policies.
There will be a quorum if a simple majority of members, including the Chair(s), are available for
attendance at meetings. Any absent members will receive the opportunity to provide their opinion
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through written or verbal advice, information and feedback either directly to the Chair, or by written
advice through the RSLG Secretariat.
The RSLG members will:
act in good faith, demonstrating honesty, integrity, openness and accountability in their
dealings with each other
act consistently with the State Sector Standards of Integrity and Conduct
provide free and frank advice in relation to matters before the RSLG, while maintaining
discretion about that advice and their conduct in the business community
take collective responsibility for the actions and decisions of the RSLG
follow agreed communication protocols as established by the Ministry, before making public
statements on any aspect of the interim RSLG.
11. Invited Experts
The Chair of the RSLG may invite additional ad hoc attendees. This could be any person or persons
whose qualifications or experience would be of assistance to the RSLG in dealing with a particular
matter. Every person invited in this way will be entitled to take part in the proceedings of the
meeting in relation to that matter, but will not take part in decision-making or provision of advice to
the Ministry. Invited experts are not eligible for sitting fees but, with the prior approval of the RSLG
Secretariat, may have travel expenses reimbursed.
12. Official Information Act 1982
The Official Information Act applies to the records of the RSLG.
13. Confidentiality Clause
The RSLG may from time to time report its findings on any matter to the Ministry. Any such report
will be provided in draft format initially to allow input from the Ministry. Finalised reports may be
published with the agreement of the Ministry and the RSLG. Published reports will not contain
information supplied to the RSLG that have a confidential status.
The RSLG will not publish or disseminate the advice it provides to the government without prior
approval from the Ministry. However, the government may, from time to time, agree to publish
papers produced by the RSLG.
The RSLG members will offer free and frank advice to the government while maintaining discretion
about that advice in wider circles.
The RSLG and the Ministry will operate on a ‘no surprises’ basis. The RSLG must maintain the
confidence of the Minister of Employment and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
at all times.
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Annex One: Differences between interim RSLG and full RSLG
To provide coordinated, strategic,
To identify workforce and skills needs in
qualitative information to
their region, both now and in the future,
government about regional labour
and provide advice to government on
market disruption resulting from
actions to cultivate these.
COVID-19 and advice to central
government on how to support the
To provide advice that will help inform
central government activities and
decisions that support skill development
To inform and join up local
and workforce supply.
initiatives to respond to the labour
market impacts of COVID-19.
To inform and join up local initiatives to
respond to labour market challenges
and barriers to employment.
Provide qualitative labour market
Regional Workforce Plan annually (refer
intelligence including patterns,
2.2 in ToR)
trends and urgent needs (refer 2.1
Appointment of Chair
Appointment by MBIE
Appointment by Cabinet’s Appointment
and Honours Committee (APH)
Term of Chair
To June 2021 or until the full RSLG is 2 years with option of further term of up
appointed (whichever is the earlier) to two years at the discretion of APH
No more than 15 members (incl
No more than 15 members (incl Chair)
appointment of Members
Appointment by MBIE, except the Chair
Appointment by MBIE
Term of members
To June 2021 or until the full RSLG is 2 years with option of further term of up
appointed (whichever is the earlier) to two years at the discretion of MBIE
Frequency of meetings
Fortnightly (during immediate
6 – 10 times over 12 month period
COVID-19 response), then monthly
Approx. 6 hours per fortnight
One day per month
initially (including preparation),
reducing over time
Payment pro-rata for hours spent
Payment pro-rata for hours spent
$395 per day - members
$395 per day – members
$575 per day – Chair
$575 per day - Chair
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Annex Two: System Diagram
Regional Skills Leadership Groups
Full Regional Skills Leadership Groups
System Diagram – refer attachment
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