Phillida Bunkle (born 1944) is a former New Zealand politician. She represented the Alliance in Parliament from 1996 to 2002, when she retired. Bunkle was for many years a lecturer at Victoria University.

Phillida Bunkle
Phillida Bunkle at Reikorangi.jpg
Personal details
Sussex, England
Spouse(s)Jock Phillips
Alma materKeele University
Victoria University

Early lifeEdit

Bunkle was born in Sussex, England, and was educated at Keele University, England, receiving a BA with First Class Honours; Smith College, Massachusetts, USA, receiving a MA; and St Anne's College, Oxford. She attended Harvard University, USA as a Kennedy Scholar and was the recipient of a Fulbright Award.

Life before politicsEdit

Bunkle lectured in history at Victoria University of Wellington. In 1975, she founded the Women's Studies programme (later department), the first of its kind at a New Zealand university.[1][2] She taught at the university until her election to Parliament in 1996.

She was married for many years to Jock Phillips, a university colleague and noted historian.[1] The couple divorced in 1993, before Bunkle was elected to Parliament.[3]

Political careerEdit

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate List Party
1996–1999 45th List 9 Alliance
1999–2002 46th List 5 Alliance

Bunkle was an MP from 1996 to 2002, representing the Alliance.

Bunkle joined the Green Party (a member of the Alliance) in 1992, and unsuccessfully stood as an Alliance candidate in the 1993 election in Onslow, placing third.[4] In 1995 she ran as the Alliance candidate for Mayor of Wellington, placing a distant sixth.[5] In the 1996 election, she was elected to Parliament as a list MP. When the Green Party left the Alliance, Bunkle opted not to follow them. After the 1999 election, in which Bunkle was re-elected, she became a Minister outside of Cabinet in the new Labour-Alliance coalition government, serving as Minister of Customs and Minister of Consumer Affairs.

Bunkle took a strong anti-gambling stance, being patron of Compulsive Gambling Society Incorporated and introducing a Bill to restrict gambling.[6][7]

She resigned these roles after a controversy surrounding her claims for a residential allowance, although she was later cleared of any deliberate wrongdoing.[8] When the Alliance began to collapse in 2002, Bunkle sided with Jim Anderton's faction, but decided not to seek re-election.

Life after ParliamentEdit

After leaving parliament at the 2002 general election, Bunkle worked overseas, including in China as a women's studies teacher and in Britain where she completed an MSc in integrated health.[9]

In 2003 Bunkle was appointed as a member of the Alcohol Advisory Council of New Zealand. She served two months before resigning her membership, citing her relocation to the United Kingdom as her reason for her resignation.[10]

In 2007 she was charged with theft after allegedly shoplifting a bottle of wine and two packets of coffee from a supermarket in Paraparaumu.[11] She pleaded guilty and was given diversion.[12]


  • Bunkle, Phillida; Lepper, John (March 2004). "What Do We Know About Gambling In New Zealand?". Social Policy Journal of New Zealand (21). Retrieved 19 July 2013.


  1. ^ a b Barrowman, Rachel (1999). Victoria University of Wellington, 1899-1999: A History. Wellington: Victoria University Press. p. 273.
  2. ^ "25 years of Women's Studies" (PDF). Victoria University of Wellington. 2001.
  3. ^ Bingham, Eugene (23 February 2001). "Bad day for the broken-hearted". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
  4. ^ Part 1: Votes recorded at each polling place (Technical report). New Zealand Chief Electoral Office. 1993. pp. 12, 161.
  5. ^ "How You Voted". The Evening Post. 9 October 1995. p. 14.
  6. ^ Commentary: Joining of Māori and Feminist Perspectives on Gambling by Lorna Dyall Women’s Studies Journal, Volume 23 Number 1, September 2009: 46-48. ISSN 1173-6615
  7. ^ Bunkle, Phillida (2002). "Compulsive Gambling Conference, March 2002 "The Role of Women in Gambling"". Archived from the original on 9 July 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
  8. ^ "A line-up of ministerial casualties under Helen..." 2011. Retrieved 1 December 2011. Resigned from ministerial positions following investigations into claiming out-of-town allowances while enrolled on the Wellington Central electoral roll. Ms Hobbs came back into Cabinet at the end of the investigation. Ms Bunkle, an Alliance minister outside Cabinet, never regained her job.
  9. ^ Phillida Bunkle (2 November 2010). "Patient-centred ethics, the Cartwright Inquiry and feminism: Identifying the central fallacy in Linda Bryder, A History of the 'Unfortunate Experiment at National Women's Hospital'" (PDF). Women's Studies Journal. Women's Studies Association of New Zealand. 24 (2). ISSN 1173-6615. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
  10. ^ Mold, Francesca (15 April 2003). "Bunkle resigns Government job". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
  11. ^ "Former coalition minister charged with theft". 15 November 2007. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
  12. ^ "Former minister Bunkle gets diversion for theft". New Zealand Herald. 30 November 2007. Retrieved 31 January 2017.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
John Luxton
Minister of Customs
Succeeded by
Jim Anderton