The deputy prime minister of New Zealand (Māori: Te Pirimia Tuarua o Aotearoa) is the second most senior member of the Cabinet of New Zealand. The officeholder usually deputises for the prime minister at official functions. The current deputy prime minister is Grant Robertson.
|Deputy Prime Minister of |
|Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet|
|Style||Mr Deputy Prime Minister|
|Reports to||Prime Minister of New Zealand|
|Appointer||Governor-General of New Zealand|
|Term length||No term limit|
|Formation||13 December 1949|
|First holder||Keith Holyoake|
The role existed on an informal basis for as long as the office of prime minister/premier has existed, but the office of "deputy prime minister" was formally established as a ministerial portfolio in 1949. This means that Keith Holyoake is considered as the first deputy prime minister. It was formally designated as a full cabinet level position in 1954.
Appointment and dutiesEdit
Generally, the position is held by the deputy leader of the largest party, but now that the MMP electoral system makes coalitions more likely, the role may instead go to the leader of a junior party. This occurred with Winston Peters, leader of New Zealand First, and Jim Anderton, leader of the Alliance. The current deputy prime minister, Grant Robertson of the Labour Party, has the role even though his party's deputy leader is Kelvin Davis. After the 2020 election, Davis turned down the position, and Robertson was appointed instead.
The post of deputy prime minister was formally established in 1949.[N 1] Eighteen individuals have held the position (two of them doing so twice) and of those people: Holyoake, Marshall, Watt, Muldoon, Palmer, Clark and English have eventually served as prime minister.[N 2] The deputy prime minister has always been a member of the Cabinet, and has always held at least one substantive portfolio.
The Deputy Prime Minister "...can, if necessary" exercise the statutory and constitutional functions and powers of the prime ministership if the Prime Minister is unavailable or unable. They can also do the same as Acting Prime Minister, in consultation with the Prime Minister if it is appropriate and practicable. The Deputy Prime Minister can also temporarily act as Prime Minister until the leadership of the government is determined in some cases, like the death or incapacity of the Prime Minister.
Little scholarly attention has focused on deputy prime ministers in New Zealand or elsewhere. In 2009, an article by Steven Barnes appeared in Political Science where nine 'qualities' of deputy prime ministership were identified: temperament; relationships with their Cabinet and caucus; relationships with their party; popularity with the public; media skills; achievements as Deputy Prime Minister; relationship with the Prime Minister; leadership ambition; and method of succession. Barnes conducted a survey of journalists, academics, and former members of parliament to rank New Zealand's deputy prime ministers since 1960. Across the nine deputy prime minister 'qualities', Don McKinnon achieved the number one ranking, followed by Brian Talboys, Michael Cullen, and John Marshall. In a second 'overall' ranking, Cullen was ranked number one, followed by Talboys, McKinnon, and Marshall. Jim Anderton, Winston Peters, and Bob Tizard were ranked lowest in both sections of the survey.
List of deputy prime ministers of New ZealandEdit
Living former deputy prime ministersEdit
As of May 2022, there are eight living former New Zealand deputy prime ministers, as seen below. The most recent deputy prime minister to die was Michael Cullen (served 2002-2008), on 19 August 2021, aged 76.
Sir Jim McLay
born 1945 (age 77)
Sir Geoffrey Palmer
born 1942 (age 80)
born 1950 (age 72)
Sir Don McKinnon
born 1939 (age 83)
born 1945 (age 77)
born 1946 (age 75)
Sir Bill English
born 1961 (age 60)
born 1969 (age 53)
- A few ministers were referred to as "deputy prime minister" before 1949, such as Peter Fraser and Walter Nash. However, this was a descriptive title and not a formal ministerial portfolio.
- Some lists consider Hugh Watt as a New Zealand Prime Minister. Watt served as acting Prime Minister for seven days from 31 August to 6 September 1972 following the death of Norman Kirk. He is not normally counted in the official numbering of New Zealand Prime Ministers.
- "Parliamentary Salaries and Allowances Determination 2017" (PDF). New Zealand Parliament. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
- Wilson 1985, p. 118.
- Wood, G. A. "Holyoake, Keith Jacka". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
- "Rt Hon Winston Peters". New Zealand First. Archived from the original on 22 June 2017. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
- Vernon Small (7 December 2012). "Labour leader looks to outsiders for deputy". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
- Whyte, Anna (2 November 2020). "Kelvin Davis says he won't seek Deputy Prime Minister role". TVNZ. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
- "Robertson confirmed as Deputy PM". Otago Daily Times. 2 November 2020. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
- "Cabinet Manual 2017" (PDF). New Zealand Government. 2017. 2.13. Archived (PDF) from the original on 28 January 2018. Retrieved 3 June 2021.
- "Cabinet Manual 2017" (PDF). New Zealand Government. 2017. 2.14. Archived (PDF) from the original on 28 January 2018. Retrieved 3 June 2021.
- "Cabinet Manual 2017" (PDF). New Zealand Government. 2017. 6.57. Archived (PDF) from the original on 28 January 2018. Retrieved 3 June 2021.
- Barnes, Steven (2009). "What About Me? Deputy Prime Ministership in New Zealand". Political Science. 61 (1): 33–49. doi:10.1177/00323187090610010401.