List of prime ministers of New Zealand

The prime minister is the head of government of New Zealand, and the leader of the Cabinet of New Zealand, with various powers and responsibilities defined by convention. Officially, the prime minister is appointed by the governor-general of New Zealand, but by convention, the prime minister must have the confidence of the elected New Zealand House of Representatives. The prime minister is always a member of Parliament, and is usually the leader of the largest political party in the House.

The current and five former prime ministers in 2021 (from left) – Bill English, John Key, Geoffrey Palmer, Jacinda Ardern, Helen Clark, and Jim Bolger (Jenny Shipley was absent)
Four New Zealand prime ministers (pictured in 1992) – David Lange, Jim Bolger, Robert Muldoon and Mike Moore

This list includes individuals who held the titles of colonial secretary and premier, the direct predecessors to the modern office. The title of the office was formally changed to "premier" in 1869, and then to "prime minister" in 1907 when New Zealand was granted Dominion status in the British Empire. Some historians regard James FitzGerald as New Zealand's first prime minister, although a more conventional view is that neither he nor his successor (Thomas Forsaith) should properly be given that title. Most commonly, Henry Sewell, who served during 1856, is regarded as New Zealand's first premier.[1] Beginning with Sewell, forty individuals have so far held the premiership,[2][3] not including acting prime ministers. Nine prime ministers have held the position for more than one discrete term in office. The longest single term in office was that of Richard Seddon, who held the position for thirteen years between 1893 and 1906.[4] The incumbent prime minister is Jacinda Ardern, who assumed office on 26 October 2017.[2]

List of officeholdersEdit

The parties shown are those to which the heads of government belonged at the time they held office and the electoral districts shown are those they represented while in office. Several prime ministers belonged to parties other than those given and represented other electorates before and after their time in office.

Key

  Independent   Liberal   Reform   United   Labour   National

No. Portrait Name
Constituency
(Birth–Death)
Elected
(Parliament)
Term of office Political party Government
Took office Left office Time in office
Colonial Secretaries (1856–1869)
1   The Honourable
Henry Sewell

MP for Christchurch, Canterbury
(1807–1879)
1855 (2nd) 7 May
1856
20 May
1856
14 days Independent Sewell
2   The Right Honourable
Sir William Fox
KCMG

MP for Wanganui and Rangitikei, Wellington
(1812–1893)
— (2nd) 20 May
1856
2 June
1856
14 days Independent Fox I
3   The Right Honourable
Sir Edward Stafford
GCMG

MP for Nelson, Nelson Province
(1819–1901)
— (2nd) 2 June
1856
12 July
1861
5 years,

41 days

Independent Stafford I
(2)   The Right Honourable
Sir William Fox
KCMG

MP for Rangitikei, Wellington
(1812–1893)
1860–61 (3rd) 12 July
1861
6 August
1862
1 year,

26 days

Independent Fox II
4   The Honourable
Alfred Domett

MP for Nelson, Nelson Province
(1811–1887)
— (3rd) 6 August
1862
30 October
1863
1 year,

86 days

Independent Domett
5   The Honourable
Sir Frederick Whitaker
KCMG

Councillor
(1812–1891)
— (3rd) 30 October
1863
24 November
1864
1 year,

26 days

Independent Whitaker–Fox
6   The Honourable
Sir Frederick Weld
GCMG

MP for Cheviot, Canterbury
(1823–1891)
— (3rd) 24 November
1864
16 October
1865
327 days Independent Weld
(3)   The Right Honourable
Sir Edward Stafford
GCMG

MP for Nelson, Nelson Province until 1868
MP for Timaru, Canterbury from 1868
(1819–1901)
— (3rd)
1866 (4th)
16 October
1865
28 June
1869
3 years,

256 days

Independent Stafford II
Premiers (1869–1907)
(2)   The Right Honourable
Sir William Fox
KCMG

MP for Rangitikei, Wellington
(1812–1893)
— (4th)
1871 (5th)
28 June
1869
10 September
1872
3 years,

75 days

Independent Fox III
(3)   The Right Honourable
Sir Edward Stafford
GCMG

MP for Timaru, Canterbury
(1819–1901)
— (5th) 10 September
1872
11 October
1872
32 days Independent Stafford III
7   The Right Honourable
George Waterhouse

Councillor
(1824–1906)
— (5th) 11 October
1872
3 March
1873
144 days Independent Waterhouse
(2)   The Right Honourable
Sir William Fox
KCMG

MP for Rangitikei, Wellington
(1812–1893)
— (5th) 3 March
1873
8 April
1873
37 days Independent Fox IV
8   The Right Honourable
Sir Julius Vogel
KCMG

MP for Auckland East, Auckland
(1835–1899)
— (5th) 8 April
1873
6 July
1875
2 years,

90 days

Independent Vogel I
9   The Honourable
Daniel Pollen

Councillor
(1813–1896)
— (5th) 6 July
1875
15 February
1876
225 days Independent Pollen
(8)   The Right Honourable
Sir Julius Vogel
KCMG

MP for Wanganui, Wellington
(1835–1899)
1875–76 (6th) 15 February
1876
1 September
1876
200 days Independent Vogel II
10   The Honourable
Sir Harry Atkinson
KCMG

MP for Egmont, Taranaki.
provinces abolished on Nov 1, 1876

(1831–1892)
— (6th) 1 September
1876
13 October
1877
1 year,

43 days

Independent Atkinson I • II
"Continuous Ministry"
11   The Right Honourable
Sir George Grey
KCB

MP for Thames
(1812–1898)
— (6th) 13 October
1877
8 October
1879
1 year,

361 days

Independent Grey
12   The Honourable
Sir John Hall
KCMG

MP for Selwyn
(1824–1907)
1879 (7th)
1881 (8th)
8 October
1879
21 April
1882
2 years,

196 days

Independent Hall
"Continuous Ministry"
(5)   The Honourable
Sir Frederick Whitaker
KCMG

Councillor
(1812–1891)
— (8th) 21 April
1882
25 September
1883
1 year,

158 days

Independent Whitaker
"Continuous Ministry"
(10)   The Honourable
Sir Harry Atkinson
KCMG

MP for Egmont
(1831–1892)
— (8th) 25 September
1883
16 August
1884
327 days Independent Atkinson III
"Continuous Ministry"
13   The Right Honourable
Robert Stout
KCMG

MP for Dunedin East
(1844–1930)
1884 (9th) 16 August
1884
28 August
1884
13 days Independent Stout–Vogel
(10)   The Honourable
Sir Harry Atkinson
KCMG

MP for Egmont
(1831–1892)
— (9th) 28 August
1884
3 September
1884
7 days Independent Atkinson IV
"Continuous Ministry"
(13)   The Right Honourable
Sir Robert Stout
KCMG

MP for Dunedin East
(1844–1930)
— (9th) 3 September
1884
8 October
1887
3 years,

36 days

Independent Stout–Vogel
(10)   The Honourable
Sir Harry Atkinson
KCMG

MP for Egmont
(1831–1892)
1887 (10th) 8 October
1887
24 January
1891
3 years,

109 days

Independent Atkinson V
"Scarecrow Ministry"
14   The Right Honourable
John Ballance

MP for Wanganui
(1839–1893)
1890 (11th) 24 January
1891
27 April
1893
2 years,

94 days

Liberal Liberal
C&S with IPLL 1908–1910;
Labour 1910–1912; independents 1911–1912
15   The Right Honourable
Richard Seddon

MP for Westland
(1845–1906)
— (11th)
1893 (12th)
1896 (13th)
1899 (14th)
1902 (15th)
1905 (16th)
1 May
1893
10 June
1906
13 years,

41 days

Liberal
16   The Honourable
William Hall-Jones
KCMG

MP for Timaru
(1851–1936)
— (16th) 21 June
1906
6 August
1906
47 days Liberal
Prime Ministers (1907–present)
17   The Right Honourable
Sir Joseph Ward
BtGCMG

MP for Awarua
(1856–1930)
— (16th)
1908 (17th)
1911 (18th)
6 August
1906
12 March
1912
5 years,

220 days

Liberal
18   The Right Honourable
Thomas Mackenzie
GCMG

MP for Egmont
(1853–1930)
— (18th) 28 March
1912
10 July
1912
105 days Liberal
19   The Right Honourable
William Massey

MP for Franklin
(1856–1925)
— (18th)
1914 (19th)
1919 (20th)
1922 (21st)
10 July
1912
10 May
1925
12 years,

305 days

Reform Reform
with Liberal 1915–1919;
C&S with independents
20   The Right Honourable
Francis Bell
GCMGKC

Councillor
(1851–1936)
— (21st) 14 May
1925
30 May
1925
17 days Reform
21   The Right Honourable
Gordon Coates
MC*

MP for Kaipara
(1878–1943)
— (21st)
1925 (22nd)
30 May
1925
10 December
1928
3 years,

195 days

Reform
(17)   The Right Honourable
Sir Joseph Ward
BtGCMG

MP for Invercargill
(1856–1930)
1928 (23rd) 10 December
1928
28 May
1930
1 year,

170 days

United United
with Labour;
C&S with independents
22   The Right Honourable
George Forbes

MP for Hurunui
(1869–1947)
— (23rd) 28 May
1930
6 December
1935
5 years,

193 days

United
1931 (24th) United–Reform Coalition
23   The Right Honourable
Michael Joseph Savage

MP for Auckland West
(1872–1940)
1935 (25th)
1938 (26th)
6 December
1935
27 March
1940
4 years,

113 days

Labour First Labour
C&S with Rātana 1935–1936; independents 1935–1946
24   The Right Honourable
Peter Fraser
CH

MP for Wellington Central until 1946
MP for Brooklyn from 1946
(1884–1950)
— (26th)
1943 (27th)
1946 (28th)
1 April
1940
13 December
1949
9 years,

257 days

Labour
25   The Right Honourable
Sidney Holland
GCMGCH

MP for Fendalton
(1893–1961)
1949 (29th)
1951 (30th)
1954 (31st)
13 December
1949
20 September
1957
7 years,

282 days

National First National
26   The Right Honourable
Keith Holyoake
KGGCMGCHQSOKStJ

MP for Pahiatua
(1904–1983)
— (31st) 20 September
1957
12 December
1957
84 days National
27   The Right Honourable
Walter Nash
GCMGCH

MP for Hutt
(1882–1968)
1957 (32nd) 12 December
1957
12 December
1960
3 years,

1 day

Labour Second Labour
(26)   The Right Honourable
Sir Keith Holyoake
KGGCMGCHQSOKStJ

MP for Pahiatua
(1904–1983)
1960 (33rd)
1963 (34th)
1966 (35th)
1969 (36th)
12 December
1960
7 February
1972
11 years,

58 days

National Second National
28   The Right Honourable
Jack Marshall
GBECHED

MP for Karori
(1912–1988)
— (36th) 7 February
1972
8 December
1972
306 days National
29   The Right Honourable
Norman Kirk

MP for Sydenham
(1923–1974)
1972 (37th) 8 December
1972
31 August
1974
1 year,

267 days

Labour Third Labour
  The Right Honourable
Hugh Watt
JP

MP for Onehunga
(1912–1980)

Acting prime minister
— (37th) 31 August
1974
6 September
1974
7 days Labour
30   The Right Honourable
Bill Rowling
KCMG

MP for Tasman
(1927–1995)
— (37th) 6 September
1974
12 December
1975
1 year,

98 days

Labour
31   The Right Honourable
Sir Robert Muldoon
GCMGCH

MP for Tamaki
(1921–1992)
1975 (38th)
1978 (39th)
1981 (40th)
12 December
1975
26 July
1984
8 years,

228 days

National Third National
32 The Right Honourable
David Lange
ONZCH

MP for Mangere
(1942–2005)
1984 (41st)
1987 (42nd)
26 July
1984
8 August
1989
5 years,

14 days

Labour Fourth Labour
33   The Right Honourable
Geoffrey Palmer
KCMGACQC

MP for Christchurch Central
(born 1942)
— (42nd) 8 August
1989
4 September
1990
1 year,

28 days

Labour
34   The Right Honourable
Mike Moore
ONZAO

MP for Christchurch North
(1949–2020)
— (42nd) 4 September
1990
2 November
1990
60 days Labour
35   The Right Honourable
Jim Bolger
ONZ

MP for King Country
(born 1935)
1990 (43rd)
1993 (44th)
1996 (45th)
2 November
1990
8 December
1997
7 years,

37 days

National Fourth National
with Right of Centre 1994–1995;
United NZ 1995–1996;
New Zealand First 1996–1998;
Mauri Pacific, Mana Wahine, independents 1998–1999;
C&S with Future 1994–1995;
Christian Democrats 1995–1996;
United NZ 1995–1995, 1998–1999;
ACT, independents 1998–1999
36   The Right Honourable
Jenny Shipley
DNZM

MP for Rakaia
(born 1952)
— (45th) 8 December
1997
10 December
1999
2 years,

3 days

National
37   The Right Honourable
Helen Clark
ONZSSI

MP for Mount Albert
(born 1950)
1999 (46th)
2002 (47th)
2005 (48th)
10 December
1999
19 November
2008
8 years,

346 days

Labour Fifth Labour
with Alliance 1999–2002, Progressives 2002–2008;
C&S with Greens 1999–2002, 2005–2008; New Zealand First 2005–2008; United Future 2002–2008
38   The Right Honourable
John Key
GNZMAC

MP for Helensville
(born 1961)
2008 (49th)
2011 (50th)
2014 (51st)
19 November
2008
12 December
2016
8 years 24 days National Fifth National
C&S with ACT, United Future, Māori
39   The Right Honourable
Bill English
KNZM

List MP
(born 1961)
— (51st) 12 December
2016
26 October
2017
319 days National
40   The Right Honourable
Jacinda Ardern

MP for Mount Albert
(born 1980)
2017 (52nd)
2020 (53rd)
26 October
2017
Incumbent 3 years and 334 days Labour Sixth Labour
with New Zealand First 2017–2020;
C&S with Greens 2017–2020;
Cooperation with Greens 2020–present

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ McIntyre, W. David (1990). "Sewell, Henry". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Biographies – Premiers and Prime Ministers". nzhistory.govt.nz. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  3. ^ "Prime Ministers of New Zealand since 1856". New Zealand Parliament. 18 January 2019. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  4. ^ "'King Dick' Seddon becomes premier". nzhistory.govt.nz. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. 14 December 2016. Retrieved 18 March 2019.