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John Bowie Gordon QSO (23 July 1921 – 17 March 1991), known as Peter Gordon, was a New Zealand politician of the National Party.

Peter Gordon

19th Minister of Railways
In office
12 December 1966 – 11 December 1972
Prime MinisterKeith Holyoake
Jack Marshall
Preceded byJohn McAlpine
Succeeded byTom McGuigan
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Clutha
In office
1960 – 1978
Preceded byJames Roy
Succeeded byRobin Gray
Personal details
John Bowie Gordon

23 July 1921[1]
Stratford, New Zealand
Died17 March 1991(1991-03-17) (aged 69)
Political partyNational
ParentsWilliam Gordon
Doris Gordon
RelativesGraham Gordon (brother)


Gordon was born in Stratford in 1921 to Stratford doctors William and Doris Gordon. Like his two brothers, he attended St Andrew's College, Christchurch, where he was a boarder from 1935 to 1937.[2] He then attended Lincoln College and the Nuffield School in farming in Crookston, Minnesota.[3]

In World War II, he was a flight lieutenant and pilot for the Royal New Zealand Air Force.[3] After the war, he was a farmer and joined many organisations, where he had leading roles with the West Otago A & P Association (president), Farmers' Mutual Insurance (director, 1952–1960), and Shaw, Savill & Company (member of the New Zealand Advisory Board, 1956–1960).[3]

He was the Member of Parliament for Clutha from 1960 to 1978, when he retired for health reasons.[3][4] With Robert Muldoon and Duncan MacIntyre he was one of the three 'Young Turks' of the National Party, a "ginger group" who entered Parliament in 1960.[5]

In 1966 the Prime Minister at the time Keith Holyoake promoted Gordon to the Cabinet,[6] along with several other backbenchers including future Prime Minister Robert Muldoon.[7] In the Second National Government under Keith Holyoake, he was made Minister of Railways (1966–1972), Minister of Transport (1966–1972), and Minister of Civil Aviation (1966–1968).[8] He maintained the transport and railways portfolios under Jack Marshall in 1972, and was made Minister of Marine and Fisheries.[9]

In the Third National Government under Muldoon, he was from 1975 Minister of Labour and Minister of State Services until his retirement in 1978.[10] He was made a Privy Councillor in 1978.[4] He died in 1991.

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1960–1963 33rd Clutha National
1963–1966 34th Clutha National
1966–1969 35th Clutha National
1969–1972 36th Clutha National
1972–1975 37th Clutha National
1975–1978 38th Clutha National


  1. ^ Who's who in the World (Volume 18 ed.). Chicago: Marquis Who's Who, Inc. 1982.
  2. ^ St Andrew’s College 1916-1966 (1968, Christchurch) No 1058 p208
  3. ^ a b c d Gustafson 1986, p. 315.
  4. ^ a b Wilson 1985, p. 200.
  5. ^ "Obituary: Duncan MacIntyre". The New Zealand Herald. 16 June 2001. Retrieved 16 May 2010.
  6. ^ James, Colin (20 January 2004). "Clark's Cabinet must be refreshed to maintain its vigour". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 16 May 2010.
  7. ^ James, Colin (12 September 2005). "New blood needed to hold on to power". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 16 May 2010.
  8. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 90.
  9. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 91.
  10. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 94.


  • Gustafson, Barry (1986). The First 50 Years : A History of the New Zealand National Party. Auckland: Reed Methuen. ISBN 0-474-00177-6.
  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.
Political offices
Preceded by
John McAlpine
Minister of Railways
Succeeded by
Tom McGuigan
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
James Roy
Member of Parliament for Clutha
Succeeded by
Robin Gray