The secretive team that'll choose the next Government

NZ First board members.
NZ First board members. Photo credit: Newshub.

Winston Peters prides himself on New Zealand First being the most democratic and transparent party in the country.

He's said it time and time again, most recently saying it yesterday in the Bowen House foyer after another round of negotiations with Labour and National.

Which makes it strange that the party’s board of directors is so secretive. Its members are not listed on the party's website, nor on the party’s constitution.

Its MPs refuse to say who makes up the party’s board as well.

The lack of transparency is concerning given the board of directors will make the final decision over New Zealand First forming a government with National, or with Labour.

Mr Peters says the board will meet by Monday, and rather than voting on the options, they will discuss it until there is a unanimous consensus.

So, who is on this secretive board? Newshub has been digging and has found out.

The NZ First board.
The NZ First board. Photo credit: Newshub.

Party leader: Winston Peters

Winston Peters needs no introduction. He's been the leader since forming the party in 1993. He held the balance of power in 1996 (siding with National) and in 2005 (siding with Labour). He's 72 years old and lives in St Mary's Bay, Auckland.

NZ First leader Winston Peters.
NZ First leader Winston Peters. Photo credit: Facebook

Party deputy leader: Ron Mark

A former soldier in the Army and a former Labour Party candidate from the '90s, Ron Mark joined NZ First in 1996 and was an MP until 2008. He re-joined the party in 2014 and rolled Tracey Martin as deputy leader not long after. He lives in Wairarapa.

NZ First deputy leader Ron Mark.
NZ First deputy leader Ron Mark. Photo credit: Simon Wong/Newshub.

President: Brent Catchpole

Brent is a former NZ First MP, serving just a single term between 2002 - 2005. He lives in Auckland, and he's held numerous position in local government, his most recent being a seat on the Papakura Local Board in Auckland.

Brent Catchpole, President.
Brent Catchpole, President. Photo credit: Facebook

North Island Vice President: Julian Paul

Julian Paul was selected as the North Island VP in July 2016. Before that, he held a role as a director on the party's board. He's worked in the sales sector for the last 7 years, including Appco Group, AA Insurance and Co-Op Insurance. Julian has a BA in politics and Chinese from Massey University.

Julian Paul, North Island vice president of NZ First's board.
Julian Paul, North Island vice president of NZ First's board. Photo credit: Facebook

South Island Vice President John Thorn

John Thorn is the most mysterious of all the board members. There's nothing about him online at all. All we know is that he lives in the South Island.

Party Secretary: Anne Martin

Anne Martin is a party stalwart, former president and is one of the reasons the party didn't disappear after its 2008 loss; she fought to rebuild it.  She is the mother of the party's MP and former deputy leader Tracey Martin. Anne's other daughter is in the negotiating team. Anne is arguably Winston's longest-serving and most trusted party official.

Anne Martin, secretary.
Anne Martin, secretary. Photo credit: Facebook

Treasurer: Holly Ellen

Holly Ellen's Facebook page listed Parliamentary Services as her place of work, but it was later deleted after Newshub enquired about her to the party's press secretary. She has chaired numerous meetings for the party, including in Carterton and Whanganui.

Holly Ellen, treasurer.
Holly Ellen, treasurer. Photo credit: Facebook

Ex-officio director-general: Kristin Campbell-Smith

She lives in Rotorua and works as a director of East-West Apartments. Kristen has a BA in history and sociology from Massey University, and during the election she was on holiday in the United States.

Kristen Campbell-Smith.
Kristen Campbell-Smith. Photo credit: Facebook

Elected director 1: Robert Monds

It's not clear what Robert Monds does to pass his time. His Facebook page lists his past employer as NZ First itself. He may still be a student at the University of Auckland.

Robert Monds.
Robert Monds. Photo credit: Facebook

Elected director 2: Kevin Gardner 

Kevin Gardner was the party's president between 2010 and 2013 before being replaced by Anne Martin. He doesn't have a Facebook page, Twitter page or LinkedIn page.

Elected director 3: Claire Ashley

Claire Ashley is the second most mysterious member of the board. There's no information on her anywhere. Not even a photo.

Elected director 4: Toa Greening

Toa Greening stood for the party in the Papakura seat at the election. The 45-year old grew up in Hastings before moving to Auckland, and he now lives in Papakura suburb The Gardens. He has an engineering degree and enjoys mountain biking.

Toa Greening.
Toa Greening. Photo credit: Facebook

Elected director 5: Anne-Marie Andrews

Anne-Marie stood for New Zealand First in the Coromandel electorate at the election. She jointly owns an investment and import company and also works as a mentor and counsellor. Previously, she was a regional manager of Parents Inc.

Anne Marie Andrews.
Anne Marie Andrews. Photo credit: Facebook

Elected director 6: Sue Sara

Sue Sara stood for the party in the Nelson electorate. She previously worked as the office manager for former New Zealand First MP Richard Prosser. She's a Nelson native and was educated at Nelson College. Banning the use of 1080 is one of her core values.

Sue Sara.
Sue Sara. Photo credit: Facebook