Chris Hipkins

Christopher John Hipkins (born 5 September 1978) is a New Zealand Labour Party politician and a member of the Sixth Labour Government's Cabinet as Minister of Education, Minister for COVID-19 Response, Minister for the Public Service and Leader of the House. He has served as the Member of Parliament for Remutaka (formerly named Rimutaka) since the 2008 election.


Chris Hipkins

Hon Chris Hipkins.jpg
Hipkins in 2020
47th Minister of Education
Assumed office
26 October 2017
Prime MinisterJacinda Ardern
Preceded byNikki Kaye
19th Minister for the Public Service
Assumed office
26 October 2017
Prime MinisterJacinda Ardern
Preceded byPaula Bennett
1st Minister for COVID-19 Response
Assumed office
6 November 2020
Prime MinisterJacinda Ardern
41st Minister of Health
In office
2 July 2020 – 6 November 2020
Prime MinisterJacinda Ardern
Preceded byDavid Clark
Succeeded byAndrew Little
11th Leader of the House
Assumed office
26 October 2017
Prime MinisterJacinda Ardern
Preceded bySimon Bridges
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Remutaka
Rimutaka (2008-2020)
Assumed office
8 November 2008
Preceded byPaul Swain
Majority20,497
Personal details
Born (1978-09-05) 5 September 1978 (age 43)
Wellington, New Zealand
Political partyLabour (since 1996)
ResidenceUpper Hutt, New Zealand
Alma materVictoria University of Wellington
WebsiteHipkins' Facebook page

Early lifeEdit

Hipkins was born in the Hutt Valley. He attended Waterloo Primary School and Hutt Intermediate. He was Head Boy at Hutt Valley Memorial College (later known as Petone College) in 1996. He joined the Labour Party in the same year. Hipkins went on to complete a bachelor of arts degree majoring in politics and criminology at Victoria University of Wellington, where he was student president in 2000 and 2001.

Before politicsEdit

After graduating, Hipkins held a number of jobs, including working as a policy advisor for the Industry Training Federation, and as a training manager for Todd Energy in Taranaki. Hipkins also worked in Parliament as an advisor to Trevor Mallard and Helen Clark.[1]

Member of ParliamentEdit

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate List Party
2008–2011 49th Rimutaka 47 Labour
2011–2014 50th Rimutaka 30 Labour
2014–2017 51st Rimutaka 9 Labour
2017–2020 52nd Rimutaka 7 Labour
2020–present 53rd Remutaka 6 Labour

Fifth National Government, 2008–2017Edit

Hipkins was selected to stand in the Labour-held seat of Rimutaka (renamed Remutaka in 2020) in the 2008 general election, following the retirement of sitting MP Paul Swain. Hipkins won the seat with a majority of 753.[2] Following the election, he was appointed the Labour spokesperson for Internal Affairs.[3] In May 2010, his Electricity (Renewable Preference) Amendment Bill was drawn from the member's ballot.[4] It was defeated at its first reading in June.[4]

The 2011 general election saw Hipkins increase his winning margin in Rimutaka to 3,286.[5] He became the Labour Party's Chief Whip. He also held the State Services and Associate Education spokesperson roles.[6]

In the 2014 general election he increased his majority again to 6,664.[7] In late 2015, Hipkins received veiled threats, including a death threat, for voicing his concerns about a billboard advertising guns.[8] In April 2016, his Education (Charter Schools Abolition) Amendment Bill was drawn from the members' ballot. It was defeated at its first reading in November.[9]

Sixth Labour Government, 2017–presentEdit

First term, 2017–2020Edit

 
Hipkins at the NZEI strike rally outside Parliament, 15 August 2018

Hipkins was elected as a Cabinet minister by the Labour Party caucus following the formation of a Labour – New Zealand First coalition government supported by the Greens.[10] It was later announced that he would serve as Minister for Education.[11]

As Education Minister, Hipkins has supported the abolition of National Standards and charter schools in New Zealand, which were supported by the previous National Government. He has also signaled a review of the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) high school certificate system. However, Hipkins has clarified that the Ministry of Education would continue to fund the University of Otago's National Monitoring Study of Student Achievement and the Progress and Consistency Tool (PaCT). The Government's announcement that it would close charter schools drew criticism from the opposition National and ACT parties.[12][13] In early 2018, Hipkins introduced legislation preventing the creation of new charter schools, while enabling existing charter schools to be converted into special character schools.[14] By September 2018, all twelve charter schools had successfully transitioned to become state-integrated and special character schools.[15][16]

In December 2018, Hipkins rejected a recommendation by Victoria University of Wellington's Council to rename the university "University of Wellington", citing the strong opposition to the name change from staff, students, and alumni. In justifying his decision, Hipkins stated "that he was not convinced the university had sufficiently engaged with stakeholders, who should have their views considered."[17][18]

In February 2019, Hipkins proposed merging the country's sixteen polytechnics into a New Zealand Institute of Skills & Technology to counter deficits and declining domestic enrollments. This proposed Institute of Skills and Technology will also take over the country's vocational and apprenticeship programmes. While the Tertiary Education Union, Employers and Manufacturers Union, and the Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce have expressed support for the Government's proposal, this has been criticised by the opposition National Party, Southern Institute of Technology CEO Penny Simmonds, and Mayor of Invercargill Tim Shadbolt.[19][20][21][22] In response to the Christchurch mosque shootings, Hipkins extended the polytechnic submission timeframe to 5 April 2019.[23]

In early May 2019, Hipkins announced that the Government would be investing NZ$95 million to train 2,400 new teacher trainees through increased scholarships and placements, new employment-based teacher education programmes, and iwi-based scholarships over the next four years to address the teaching shortage. These measures were criticised as inadequate by the Post Primary Teachers' Association and National Party education spokesperson Nikki Kaye.[24][25][26]

On 1 August 2019, Hipkins reaffirmed the Government's plan merge all polytechnics into a single entity in April 2020.[27] In addition, he announced that the Government would replace all 11 industrial training organisations (ITOs) with between four and seven workforce development councils that would be set up by 2022 to influence vocational education and training. While polytechnics have been cautiously optimistic about the changes despite concerns about losing their autonomy, ITOs and National's tertiary education spokesperson Shane Reti have opposed these changes, claiming they would damage the vocational training system and cause job losses.[28][29][30]

Following the resignation of David Clark as Minister of Health on 2 July 2020, Prime Minister Ardern appointed Hipkins as interim Health Minister until the 2020 New Zealand general election scheduled for October 2020.[31][32]

Second term, 2020–presentEdit

Hipkins was re-elected to the seat of Remutaka during the 2020 New Zealand general election. He defeated National candidate Mark Crofskey by a final margin of 20,497 votes.[33]

In early November 2020, Hipkins retained his portfolio as Minister of Education. He was also designated as Minister for COVID-19 Response and Minister for the Public Service.[34]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Chris Hipkins – Profile". 12 December 2007. Retrieved 6 May 2010.
  2. ^ "Official Count Results – Rimutaka". ElectionsNZ. 22 November 2008. Archived from the original on 12 August 2020. Retrieved 6 May 2010.
  3. ^ "New Zealand Parliament – Hipkins, Chris". New Zealand Parliament. Retrieved 6 May 2010.
  4. ^ a b "Electricity (Renewable Preference) Amendment Bill". New Zealand Parliament. Retrieved 6 May 2010.
  5. ^ Commission, New Zealand Electoral. "Official Count Results – Rimutaka". www.electionresults.govt.nz. Retrieved 26 September 2017.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 February 2012. Retrieved 30 November 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Election Results – Rimutaka". Electoral Commission.
  8. ^ "MP Chris Hipkins defiant over Gun City billboard in Taita, despite death threat". The Dominion Post. 3 December 2015.
  9. ^ "Education (Charter Schools Abolition) Amendment Bill". New Zealand Parliament. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  10. ^ "Who's in? Who's out?". Radio NZ. 20 October 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  11. ^ "Jacinda Ardern releases Cabinet lineup". Stuff. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
  12. ^ Collins, Simon (30 October 2017). "Labour's education plans revealed: Primary school league tables axed, big NCEA shakeup". The New Zealand Herald. Archived from the original on 16 August 2018. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  13. ^ Moir, Jo (6 November 2017). "Education minister to review all charter schools after threatening some with closure". Stuff. Archived from the original on 20 January 2019. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  14. ^ "Charter schools: Minister has a fight on his hands". Radio New Zealand. 12 February 2018. Archived from the original on 13 August 2018. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
  15. ^ Bracewell-Worrall, Anna (17 September 2018). "All NZ charter schools now approved to become state integrated". Newshub. Archived from the original on 7 December 2018. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  16. ^ Collins, Simon (28 August 2018). "Charter school hold-outs approved as state schools". The New Zealand Herald. Archived from the original on 4 January 2019. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  17. ^ Long, Jessica; Williams, Katarina (19 December 2018). "Victoria University of Wellington name change rejected by Minister". Stuff. Archived from the original on 5 March 2019. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  18. ^ "Victoria University of Wellington name change declined by education minister". Radio New Zealand. 18 December 2018. Archived from the original on 31 January 2019. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  19. ^ Collins, Simon (13 February 2019). "Polytechnic mega-merger will take over apprentices and industry trainees". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  20. ^ Hunt, Tom; Richmond, Adele (14 February 2019). "Government proposes merging 16 polytechnics and technology institutes into single entity". Stuff. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  21. ^ Stolley, Giordano (2 March 2019). "Hostile southern reception for Hipkins". Otago Daily Times. Archived from the original on 21 March 2019. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  22. ^ Savory, Logan (1 March 2019). "Education Minister Chris Hipkins grilled by concerned Southern Institute of Technology backers". Stuff. Archived from the original on 1 March 2019. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  23. ^ "Education Minister Chris Hipkins extends polytechnic submission timeframe". Stuff. 20 March 2019. Archived from the original on 21 March 2019. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  24. ^ Kirk, Stacey; Cooke, Henry (2 May 2019). "Budget 2019: Government pours $95 million over four years into teaching resources". Stuff. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  25. ^ Cheng, Derek (2 May 2019). "$95 million in Budget package for thousands of new teachers". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  26. ^ Small, Zane (2 May 2019). "Budget 2019: Government sets aside $95 million to hire more teachers". Newshub. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  27. ^ "Government confirms polytechnics will merge as single entity in 2020". 1 August 2019. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  28. ^ Gerritsen, John (1 August 2019). "Government confirms major overhaul of polytechnics, apprenticeships". Radio New Zealand. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  29. ^ Small, Zane; Macdonald, Laura (1 August 2019). "Government confirms polytechnics will merge as single entity in 2020". Newshub. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  30. ^ Devlin, Collette (1 August 2019). "16 institutes of technology and polytechnics being replaced by one mega polytech". Stuff. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  31. ^ Manch, Thomas (2 July 2020). "Education Minister Chris Hipkins shunted into health job as David Clark resigns". Stuff. Archived from the original on 2 July 2020. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  32. ^ Molyneux, Vita (2 July 2020). "Why Jacinda Ardern chose Chris Hipkins as temporary Health Minister". Newshub. Archived from the original on 2 July 2020. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  33. ^ "Remutaka - Official Result". Electoral Commission. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  34. ^ "Ministerial List for Announcement on Monday" (PDF). Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 2 November 2020. Archived (PDF) from the original on 3 November 2020. Retrieved 4 November 2020.

External linksEdit

New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Paul Swain
Member of Parliament for Remutaka
2008–present
Incumbent
Preceded by
Simon Bridges
Leader of the House
2017–present
Party political offices
Preceded by
Rick Barker
Senior Whip of the Labour Party
2011–2013
2014–2016
Succeeded by
Sue Moroney
Preceded by
Sue Moroney
Succeeded by
Kris Faafoi
Political offices
Preceded by
Nikki Kaye
Minister of Education
2017–present
Incumbent
Preceded by
Paula Bennett
Minister for the Public Service
2017–present
New ministerial post Minister for COVID-19 Response
2020–present
Preceded by
David Clark
Minister of Health
2020
Succeeded by
Andrew Little