Open main menu

Marian Leslie Hobbs (born 18 December 1947) is a former New Zealand politician who was a Labour Member of Parliament from 1996 to 2008. She was initially a list MP and then (from 1999) represented the Wellington Central electorate. She served as one of two Assistant Speakers of the House of Representatives. She is the current chair of the Otago Regional Council.

Marian Hobbs
Marian Hobbs.jpg
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Wellington Central
In office
Prime MinisterHelen Clark
Preceded byRichard Prebble
Succeeded byGrant Robertson
Member of the New Zealand Parliament for Labour list
In office
10th Minister for the Environment
In office
10 December 1999 – 19 October 2005
Preceded bySimon Upton
Succeeded byDavid Benson-Pope
Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control
In office
Personal details
Born (1947-12-18) 18 December 1947 (age 71)
NationalityNew Zealander
Political partyLabour

Early lifeEdit

Hobbs was raised in Christchurch and was educated at St Dominic's College, Dunedin. Before entering politics, Hobbs worked as a teacher at Aranui High School and was the principal of Avonside Girls' High School in Christchurch. She helped to establish the Chippenham commune in Christchurch and is by religious affiliation a Friend (Quaker).[1] In 1993, Hobbs was awarded the New Zealand Suffrage Centennial Medal.[2]

Member of ParliamentEdit

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate List Party
1996–1999 45th List 12 Labour
1999–2002 46th Wellington Central 23 Labour
2002–2005 47th Wellington Central 17 Labour
2005–2008 48th Wellington Central 9 Labour

Hobbs stood unsuccessfully in the 1994 Selwyn by-election where she came a distant third.[3] She contested the Kaikoura electorate in the 1996 election and came second to National Party's Doug Kidd, but entered Parliament via the Labour list, where she was ranked 12th.[4][5]

In the 1999 election, Hobbs won the Wellington Central electorate, defeating the incumbent member, ACT Party leader Richard Prebble.

Cabinet ministerEdit

After Labour's electoral victory in 1999, Hobbs joined the Cabinet, becoming Minister for the Environment, Minister of Biosecurity, Minister of Broadcasting, and Minister Responsible for the National Library of New Zealand and Archives New Zealand. In February 2001, she briefly resigned from Cabinet while an enquiry investigated her allowance-claims; she returned in late March after receiving official clearance.[6]

Following the 2002 General Election, Hobbs functioned as the Minister for the Environment, Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control, Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade with responsibility for Official Development Assistance, Associate Minister for Biosecurity, Associate Minister of Education, Minister Responsible for the National Library, Minister Responsible for Archives New Zealand, and Minister Responsible for Urban Affairs.

Resignation from CabinetEdit

In 2004, Hobbs told Prime Minister Helen Clark that she did not expect to seek a post in Cabinet again after the 2005 election, and she made this decision public during the negotiations to form a government in October 2005.

As Minister of Broadcasting, Hobbs set a code of practice for New Zealand commercial radio, specifying that 20 percent of music played should have New Zealand origins. After resigning from Cabinet, Hobbs served briefly as Labour's party Vice-President.[7]

Wellington Central electorateEdit

Hobbs held the Electorate seat of Wellington Central until the 2008 election. At the 2005 general election she retained her seat with a 6,180 majority over the National Party candidate, Mark Blumsky.[8] In March 2008, she became the Assistant Speaker of the House, after Ann Hartley resigned.

Retirement from ParliamentEdit

In December 2006 Hobbs announced (during a radio-interview) that she would not seek re-election at the 2008 general election, confirming much speculation to that effect. She has signalled her intention to work as a teacher in the United Kingdom, in compensation for never having made a traditional working-holiday as a young woman.

She spent two years as the Headteacher at Prince William School in Oundle, Northamptonshire, United Kingdom.

Hobbs stood as a Labour candidate for the Otago Regional Council at the 2019 local elections and was successful.[9][10] On 23 October, she was voted as chairwoman, with Michael Laws as her deputy.[11]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Berry, Ruth (23 February 2001). "Marian Hobbs and Phillida Bunkle resign their ministerial posts". The Evening Post.
  2. ^ "The New Zealand Suffrage Centennial Medal 1993 – register of recipients". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 26 July 2018. Retrieved 18 September 2018.
  3. ^ "Part XIV - Selwyn By-election" (PDF). Electoral Commission. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
  4. ^ "Electorate Candidate and Party Votes Recorded at Each Polling Place - Kaikoura, 1996" (PDF). Retrieved 13 July 2013.
  5. ^ "Part III - Party Lists of Successful Registered Parties" (PDF). Electoral Commission. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 February 2013. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
  6. ^ "A line-up of ministerial casualties under Helen Clark". 29 August 2008. Retrieved 15 October 2013.
  7. ^ "New Zealand Council Members". Archived from the original on 26 October 2007. Retrieved 10 February 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  8. ^ Electoral Commission. "Wellington Central Electorate results 2006". Archived from the original on 20 August 2007. Retrieved 23 April 2007.
  9. ^ Edwards, Jono (17 August 2019). "ORC seats attracting talented outsider hopefuls". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
  10. ^ Hudson, Daisy (12 October 2019). "Hobbs, Wilson elected on to Otago Regional Council". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  11. ^ Edwards, Jono (23 October 2019). "From Labour minister to ORC chairwoman". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
Political offices
Preceded by
Simon Upton
Minister for the Environment
Succeeded by
David Benson-Pope
Preceded by
Maurice Williamson
Minister of Broadcasting

Succeeded by
Steve Maharey
Preceded by
Steve Maharey
Succeeded by
David Cunliffe
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Richard Prebble
Member of Parliament for Wellington Central
Succeeded by
Grant Robertson