David Butcher

David John Butcher (born 19 September 1948) is a former New Zealand politician of the Labour Party. He was a Cabinet minister in the Fourth Labour Government.

David Butcher
52nd Postmaster-General
In office
5 November 1988 – 14 August 1989
Prime MinisterDavid Lange
Geoffrey Palmer
Preceded byRichard Prebble
Succeeded byPosition abolished
1st Minister of Commerce
In office
24 August 1987 – 2 November 1990
Prime MinisterDavid Lange
Geoffrey Palmer
Mike Moore
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byPhilip Burdon
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Hastings
In office
25 November 1978 – 27 October 1990
Preceded byBob Fenton
Succeeded byJeff Whittaker
Personal details
David John Butcher

(1948-09-19) 19 September 1948 (age 74)
Brighton, England
NationalityNew Zealander
Political partyLabour
Mary Georgina Hall
(m. 1980)
Alma materVictoria University of Wellington

Early life and familyEdit

Butcher was born in Brighton, England, on 19 September 1948, the son of Dorothy May Butcher (née Guppy) and Frank George Butcher.[1] The family migrated to New Zealand in 1963, and he attended Karamu High School in Hastings with broadcaster Paul Holmes, and Victoria University of Wellington.[2] While at Victoria, he was president of the Victoria University Labour Club.[3] He graduated with an economics degree and became a member of the New Zealand Association of Economists.[4] From 1972 to 1974, he worked as an economist in the Labour Department, Wellington. During 1974–75 he travelled overseas in Asia and Europe. From 1976 until 1978, he was a field officer for the Wellington Clerical Workers' Union and the New Zealand Labourers' Union in Hawke's Bay. He was a member of the Hawkes Bay Trade Council and its nominee on the council of the Hawkes Bay Community College.[5]

Butcher became a naturalised New Zealand citizen in 1975,[6] and in 1980, Butcher married Mary Georgina Hall.[1]

Political careerEdit

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1978–1981 39th Hastings Labour
1981–1984 40th Hastings Labour
1984–1987 41st Hastings Labour
1987–1990 42nd Hastings Labour

Butcher stood unsuccessfully for the seat of Hawkes Bay three times, in the 1969 election, 1972 election and 1975 election, before becoming an MP for the seat of Hastings in the 1978 election.[7] Prior to entering parliament he was a member of the New Zealand Council of Labour Party.[4] In 1983 he was appointed as Labour's spokesperson for State Insurance and the Government Life Office by Labour leader David Lange.[8] In 1986 he represented the New Zealand government at an agricultural ministers conference in Hobart.[5]

During the Fourth Labour Government, Butcher served as a Cabinet minister, with posts including Minister of Commerce, Minister of Energy, Minister of Trade and Industry and Postmaster-General. As Minister of Energy, Butcher had responsibility for ensuring that privatised utilities operated in a competitive environment, or were subjected to appropriate regulation. He was also associate Minister of Finance and mostly a supporter of the Rogernomics agenda of finance minister Roger Douglas.[9] As Minister of Energy he sold the government-owned Petrocorp for $801 million to Rossport Investments Ltd on 31 March 1988.[10]

He represented the Hastings electorate in Parliament until 1990, when he was defeated by National's Jeff Whittaker, one of a number of losses contributing to the fall of the Fourth Labour Government. His defeat was not expected with most expecting him to be re-elected with a reduced majority.[11]

In 1990, Butcher was awarded the New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal.[1]

Life after politicsEdit

Since 1990, Butcher has been the manager of David Butcher and Associates (DBA), and has worked on assignments in several countries.[12] He worked in a business consultancy deal with the Asian Development Bank.[13] In 2000, he was fined $10,000 plus reparations, for fraudulently claiming expenses on airline tickets under a travel rebate scheme for former MPs.[14][15]


  1. ^ a b c Taylor, Alister; Coddington, Deborah (1994). Honoured by the Queen – New Zealand. Auckland: New Zealand Who's Who Aotearoa. p. 86. ISBN 0-908578-34-2.
  2. ^ Lambert, Max (1991). Who's Who in New Zealand, 1991 (12th ed.). Auckland: Octopus. p. 96. ISBN 9780790001302.
  3. ^ "Labour Club Has Young H.B. Candidate". Salient. 32 (24). 2 October 1969. Retrieved 21 May 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Twenty-three new members on election-night figures". The Press. 27 November 1978. p. 3.
  5. ^ a b Who's Who 1987, p. 40.
  6. ^ "New Zealand, naturalisations, 1843–1981". Ancestry.com Operations. 2010. Retrieved 22 June 2019.
  7. ^ Norton, Clifford (1988). New Zealand Parliamentary Election Results 1946–1987: Occasional Publications No 1, Department of Political Science. Wellington: Victoria University of Wellington. pp. 240–1. ISBN 0-475-11200-8.
  8. ^ "Labour leader allocates responsibilities". The Press. 17 March 1983. p. 3.
  9. ^ Cullen 2021, p. 94.
  10. ^ "Income from State Asset Sales as at May 2014". New Zealand Treasury. 14 May 2014. Retrieved 6 October 2022.
  11. ^ Kitchin, Philip (2 October 1990). "Trimming of Butcher's lead expected". The Dominion. p. 5.
  12. ^ "DBA: David Butcher and Associates". DBA. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  13. ^ Bassett 2008, p. 540.
  14. ^ New Zealand Press Association (30 June 2000). "Former MP loses fraud appeal". The New Zealand Herald.
  15. ^ Newbold, Greg (2012). Crime, Law and Justice in New Zealand. Routledge. p. 26. ISBN 9781317275619.


Political offices
Preceded by Minister of Trade and Industry
Position abolished
Preceded by Postmaster-General
New title Minister of Commerce
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Energy
Succeeded by
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Hastings
Succeeded by