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Robin Gray (New Zealand politician)

Sir Robert "Robin" McDowall Gray (born 2 July 1931) is a former New Zealand politician. He was an MP from 1978 to 1996, and served as Speaker of the House of Representatives between 1990 and 1993.

Sir Robin Gray
23rd Speaker of the House of Representatives
In office
Prime MinisterJim Bolger
Preceded byKerry Burke
Succeeded byPeter Tapsell
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Clutha
In office
1978 – 1996
Preceded byPeter Gordon
Personal details
Born (1931-07-02) 2 July 1931 (age 87)
Borgue, Scotland
NationalityNew Zealand
Political partyNational


Early lifeEdit

Gray was born in Borgue, Scotland. After serving in the British Army, he moved to New Zealand to take up farming in 1952, eventually settling in Mosgiel.[1]

Member of ParliamentEdit

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1978–1981 39th Clutha National
1981–1984 40th Clutha National
1984–1987 41st Clutha National
1987–1990 42nd Clutha National
1990–1993 43rd Clutha National
1993–1996 44th Clutha National

He joined the National Party in 1956, and held a number of positions in its internal hierarchy. In the 1978 election, he was elected to replace Peter Gordon as MP for Clutha.

Gray became the National Party's Junior Whip in 1985 and the Senior Whip in 1987.

Speaker of the House of RepresentativesEdit

When National won office in the 1990 election, Gray was made Speaker of the House of Representatives. After the 1993 election, however, the National Party held a majority of only a single seat – as the Speaker could not vote, re-appointing Gray to the Speakership would leave Parliament deadlocked. National therefore offered the Speakership to Peter Tapsell of the Labour Party. Gray was appointed to the sinecure of Minister of State, and also became Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs.

In the 1994 New Year Honours, Gray was made a Knight Bachelor.[2] He retired from politics at the 1996 election.

As Speaker of the House of Representatives, Gray was entitled to the title of The Honourable and became The Hon. Sir Robert "Robin" McDowall Gray which is a title he was granted for the rest of his life[3] after leaving parliament.

Life after ParliamentEdit

Gray effectively retired following his stepping down as an MP but still makes occasional appearances and commentary at various Conferences around New Zealand. He has undertaken mild criticism aimed at the National Party for failing to promote Members interests at conferences to which he achieved a degree of success in ensuring Delegate's had more opportunity for engagement at the formal meetings.[4]

Gray also sits as the founding president on the board of trustees for the New Zealand Business and Parliament Trust.[5]


  1. ^ "Biographies of Former and Current Speakers of the New Zealand House of Representatives". New Zealand Parliament. Retrieved 8 August 2015.
  2. ^ London Gazette (supplement), No. 53528, 30 December 1993. Retrieved 9 January 2013.
  3. ^ "Retention of the Title "The Honourable"". The New Zealand Gazette: 718. 10 February 1994. 1084. Retrieved 22 July 2012.
  4. ^ "Change of heart for National Party | Otago Daily Times Online News : Otago, South Island, New Zealand & International News". 30 April 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  5. ^ "History » The New Zealand Business & Parliament Trust |". 11 December 1991. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
Political offices
Preceded by
Kerry Burke
Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives
Succeeded by
Peter Tapsell
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Peter Gordon
Member of Parliament for Clutha
Constituency abolished