John Barilaro
John Barilaro (Image: AAP/Joel Carrett)

The latest batch of documents relating to John Barilaro's appointment as trade commissioner in New York show Trade Minister Stuart Ayres was identified as the main decision-maker for the role, and the former deputy premier initially came second in the recruitment process. But two months later the final report had been changed to elevate Barilaro to first position over the top candidate.

Ayres has insisted the appointment of Barilaro was conducted at arm's length from the government. However, an email released today from Investment NSW executive Kylie Bell from February 13 says "Amy [Brown, secretary of Investment NSW] and the Minister have confirmed the shortlist for the interviews for the STIC New York and Shanghai roles" and then proposes interview panel arrangements for those roles. In relation to the New York role, Bell writes that the panel will "make recommendations for the Minister. 2 candidates will then be submitted for his consideration".

If those arrangements proceeded, Ayres would have been the effective decision-maker in the selection process that resulted in Barilaro's selection.