Vote for your Consumer Board

Your membership means a lot to us. Now we want you to vote for the Board that best represents your views.

Voting paper placed into a ballot box.

If you’re a Consumer member you’re entitled to vote in our board election. Learn about each candidate below and how to cast your vote.

This year there are three vacancies on Consumer NZ's seven-person Board. The successful candidates will be appointed for a three-year term starting in June 2020.

How to vote

  • If you're a paying Consumer NZ member, you will receive an email that you can use to cast your vote.
  • Paying Consumer NZ members who we do not have an email address for will receive a ballot paper via post.
  • You can vote once for up to three candidates.
  • Voting closes at 5pm Tuesday, 2 June, 2020.

Anyone who hasn’t received an email or ballot form can contact us or download the ballot form here (239 KB).

Announcing the results

The results of the election will be announced at Consumer NZ's Annual General Meeting. The AGM will be held at 12.30pm on Friday, 26 June, 2020 at Consumer NZ, Level 5, 17 Whitmore St, Wellington. All current financial members are invited to attend. We will provide advice closer to the date on how the meeting will be run to comply with potential Covid-19 restrictions.

Candidates for election

An independent nominations consultant has selected nine candidates. Two are current members seeking re-election. Information about each candidate is listed on the back of this sheet

Edward Benson-Cooper


“I own a successful practice and have Board experience within the healthcare sector. I now hope to bring my enthusiasm and fresh perspective to advocate for consumers. My key interests include sustainable business practices, privacy, medical/health services and inequity gains.”

Edward serves on the Waitemata District Health Board and associated committees and trusts. He has governmental and policy experience, and has been involved in consumer issues including the quality of aged care and antibiotic resistance. He has also served as a member of the Community and Public Health Advisory Committee, Disability Support Advisory Committee and Health Link North Board.


Niki Bezzant


“I am an award-winning writer, speaker and journalist who has worked in media for 20 years. I was founding editor of the evidence-based nutrition magazine Healthy Food Guide. I am currently a freelance writer, newspaper columnist and contributor to broadcast media. I have extensive knowledge of modern media and consumer trends and attitudes.”

Niki is currently on the Board of the NZ Nutrition Foundation and Treasurer of Food Writers New Zealand. She is an Ambassador for Garden to Table NZ, a charity dedicated to teaching Kiwi kids to grow, cook and share food, and a member of the Council of Directors for the True Health Initiative.


Heather Browning


“I have worked in the health and disability sector most of my professional life. As a manager, and now in a number of governance roles, I have always advocated to ensure services/suppliers deliver a high level of accountability and transparency in all their operations.”

Heather is self-employed in her own contracting/consulting business. She has worked for many years in the health and disability sector and, more recently, with former refugees supporting settlement in New Zealand. She has significant senior management and governance experience and is a current Board member of MidCentral District Health Board.


Filipo Katavake-McGrath


“I have a broad range of experience in both the public and private sectors. I enjoy helping organisations map, articulate and activate strategies and utilise a multifaceted approach to problem solving. I leverage a range of perspectives including my specific cultural expertise.”

Filipo currently works for Treasury as the lead analyst responsible for Crown Capital Investments in the health sector. His professional background includes broad private and public sector roles including communications and marketing management, broadcast journalism, product ownership, policy analysis and health planning.


Wendyl Nissen


“I’ve been a consumer champion for 20 years, advocating for safer and more sustainable food and household products. A former magazine editor and author, I’ve run a successful business in sustainable living and have excellent business, management and digital skills. I want to help Consumer NZ use the purchasing power of consumers to bring about changes in the marketplace and encourage more sustainable production.”

Wendyl is a journalist, broadcaster and former magazine editor and the author of 10 books, mostly about living a sustainable life. She has edited Woman’s Day and NZ Woman’s Weekly and lives in the Hokianga.


Penny Prescott


“I have extensive experience in community development, particularly in youth development and participation. My interests are primarily in equitable opportunities and participation by our communities in our communities. I also have significant experience in governance, non-profit management and small business management.”

Penny is the manager of the Canterbury Youth Workers Collective and a restorative justice facilitator, facilitating conferences between offenders and victims of crime. She sits on the Boards of Scope Aotearoa Charitable Trust Board and North Beach Community Preschool. She is also one of the directors and owners of a small brewing company in Christchurch.


Marie Shroff (sitting member)


“I will work to increase Consumer NZ member involvement, and to move ahead on protecting consumers on the internet. I’m an experienced promoter of consumer rights in a fast changing commercial and digital environment. I have a successful record as a strategic leader and change manager.”

Marie is a current member of the Consumer NZ Board and of the Consumer Foundation, Chair of New Zealand Electoral Commission and member of NZ Media Council and Privacy Foundation NZ. She held the independent position of Privacy Commissioner from 2003 to 2014. Prior to that she was head of the Cabinet office for 16 years.


Melanie Thornton


“With my experience as executive director of a large membership organisation, I can add value in the areas of strategic planning, management, communications and developing online communities, to help Consumer NZ deliver value to its members and stakeholders.”

Melanie is currently the executive director of the NZ Institute of International Affairs. She has previously held managerial positions at Greater Wellington Regional Council. She worked at Radio NZ for many years and is a member of the Institute of Directors. She has a background in radio, journalism, science, arts, regional economic development and international affairs.


Kate Tokely (sitting member)


“My Board experience has given me a good understanding of the issues and challenges ahead. I believe I can continue to make a valuable contribution. I bring to the table my Board experience, my legal expertise, my analytical thinking skills and my passion for consumer welfare.”

Kate is an Associate Professor at Victoria University, specialising in consumer law. She has been on the Consumer NZ Board for three years and was Acting Chair throughout the recent CEO recruitment process. She is on the Telecommunications Dispute Resolution Council and is the co-author of the book Consumer Law in New Zealand.