Justice Minister Judith Collins has appointed former Cabinet colleague Wayne Mapp to the Law Commission, ignoring recommendations and without consulting her ministry or other interest groups.
But commission president Sir Grant Hammond said he was delighted with the decision, even though Dr Mapp was not on his radar when he recommended six candidates last year.
Prime Minister John Key said he was happy with the process and the quality of the candidate.
"[Dr Mapp] has a PhD in international law ... He's had a distinguished career as a lawyer and I think he fits all the criteria."
Documents released to NewstalkZB under the Official Information Act show that last September, Sir Grant recommended six names to the then-Justice Minister Simon Power.
Mr Power retired from politics in November, and Ms Collins discussed the commission vacancy with Dr Mapp some time before December 20, when Dr Mapp emailed Ms Collins his CV.
In January, Ms Collins decided on Dr Mapp and declined to check the availability of the people that Sir Grant had put forward.
The released documents do not reveal the names of the six people, citing privacy reasons.
A cabinet paper in February showed that Ms Collins did not consult or inform any departments, agencies or interest groups.
She consulted Attorney-General Chris Finlayson, the Government caucus and Act, Maori and United Future parties.
Labour leader David Shearer said the appointment needed scrutiny.
"The perception is that there have been a number of appointments made that have been close to National.
"These types of appointments might just fuel that perception - that National is looking after their own."