7 October 2021

Letter from the Board

2021 RNZFB Board Elections

Dear Member

I am writing on behalf of the RNZFB Board to ask you to take up your right as a RNZFB member to vote for Directors on the RNZFB (Blind Low Vision NZ) Board in 2021. 

As a member of our organisation you have the right to elect those people who you think will govern with our best interests in mind.  By voting you will be helping us to determine our direction for the future.  To assist you, I have enclosed a short overview of the expectations we have of a Director on the Board.

Thank you for giving this your consideration and please do vote in the 2021 election.

Yours faithfully

Jane Moore
Board Secretary
Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind Inc

Expectations of Directors

2021 Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind Board Elections

This introduction outlines what is expected of Directors of the RNZFB (Blind Low Vision NZ) Board.  It is your choice to decide who you wish to vote for. It is important that the people you choose to elect have the ability to govern the RNZFB in the best interests of clients, members, staff, volunteers and others who have a stake in the organisation.

To assist you, essential skills, abilities and qualities required of those who govern the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind are as follows:

  1. An understanding of the trusteeship duties that apply to boards in general. These include:
  • Compliance with the law and the RNZFB constitution.
  • Loyalty to the organisation that goes beyond personal and other interests.
  • Thoroughness and discretion when carrying out work on behalf of the Board.

Individual Directors become equally responsible and accountable for the decisions and actions of the Board as a whole.

  1. An ability to concentrate on future plans rather than immediate operational issues:
  • Able to think strategically, see the big picture and imagine the future.
  • Able to provide creative and constructive input into future plans without dabbling in management or delving into operational issues.
  1. The ability to provide leadership to the organisation.

Blind Low Vision NZ is a complex and professionally-driven organisation. Management and staff adhere to a culture of continuous improvement.  To lead such a progressive and highly-motivated organisation, Board Directors must be equal to the task when carrying out their work on the Board. 

  1. Knowledge of Blind Low Vision NZ:
  • The political, economic and social environment in which the business operates.
  • Directors are able to distinguish between those factors, issues and trends that are important and those that are less important.
  1. A passion for the work in serving our clients and members and a respect for the values of Blind Low Vision NZ:
  • An understanding of the needs, expectations and aspirations of members and clients and a desire to engage with them on issues that affect them.
  • While Directors are elected by the current membership to represent their interests, they understand their obligation to future potential members. They are prepared to govern the organisation with this in mind.
  1. A working knowledge of financial matters:
  • Directors must be able to understand the RNZFB’s financial position and the implications this carries for current and future functions and opportunities.
  • A basic understanding of the ways in which financial data is reported to the Board will be an advantage.

Directors with substantial skills and experience in financial and risk management are critical to the Board’s Audit and Risk Committee. 

  1. The Director must be an independent and impartial thinker:
  • Directors must be objective, creative, innovative and sincere in the views they express.
  • They must not allow prejudice or bias, conflict of interest or influence of others to override their objectivity.
  • They are prepared to assess a broad range of views while acting independently with confidence and courage.
  1. Be able to add value to Board discussion and decision-making:
  • Have the ability to probe the facts, challenge assumptions and identify the advantages or drawbacks of proposals.
  • Provide counter-arguments and ensure discussions are penetrating and constructive.
  • Ask questions that go beyond the immediate and the seemingly obvious.
  • Be able to listen carefully to all arguments and contributions.
  • Be able to suspend judgement before offering critical assessment of the contribution of others.
  • Evaluate the merits of the various viewpoints before reaching a final position.
  1. A commitment to being well-prepared for Board meetings:
  • Reading and digesting often extensive Board papers.
  • Having clarity about issues of concern and forming initial opinions and questions.
  • Participation in Board discussion and decision-making is based on full knowledge and sound reasoning.
  1. Appreciation that the Board’s effectiveness is based on teamwork and sharing the workload:

Directors must be willing and able to share Board duties and obligations by:

  • Serving on Board committees.
  • Representing the Board externally.
  • Attending special Board and Blind Low Vision NZ activities and functions.
  • Interacting regularly with members and other stakeholders.