Papers on the appointment of Christine Rankin to the Families Commission show she was not one of the four applicants for the job whom officials had recommended most highly.

Minister of Social Development Paula Bennett released Cabinet papers and correspondence relating to Ms Rankin's appointment yesterday after Labour further challenged her in Parliament.

The papers showed the Ministry of Social Development ranked the 46 people who expressed interest in the role. All the names other than Ms Rankin had been blanked out, but four were "recommended" and a further eight were listed as "may be suitable".

Ms Rankin was in the second grouping and was selected by Ms Bennett along with Bruce Pilbrow. There were no reasons given for the choice.

The papers also showed that National's caucus signed off on the appointment before it was finalised.

Ms Bennett had initially advised the appointments Cabinet committee she did not believe the caucus needed to be consulted but that changed in the committee's minute on the appointment.

The papers also showed the only consultation Ms Bennett undertook was with the State Services Commission.

The appointment was criticised by United Future leader Peter Dunne, who said that when Ms Bennett had told him Ms Rankin was a contender he had expressed his concern and believed it would be reconsidered.

He was not consulted again or told of the final decision.

The papers set out the process which was followed in Ms Rankin's appointment.

They showed ministers and Government caucus members were offered the chance to recommend people and the call for expressions of interest was placed on the Ministry of Social Development and Families Commission websites but not advertised more widely.

It was not clear whether Ms Rankin was recommended by one of the ministers, or applied of her own accord.

Pre-appointment checks were done and a potential conflict of interest was identified by Ms Rankin in her role with Families and Child Trust.

The papers said such a conflict was not unusual for part-time commissioners and could be managed.