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Stephen Franks (born 1950) in Wellington, New Zealand is a commercial lawyer. At one time, he was chairman and Partner of the large firm Chapman Tripp. Franks has been a member of two political parties. He previously served as a List MP for the right-wing ACT New Zealand (Association of Consumers and Taxpayers). He then stood unsuccessfully for the National Party for the 2008 general election. Franks is also a media commentator and writer on legal and commercial topics; and is married with three daughters and a son in their 20s.

Early lifeEdit

Franks was first educated at Taihape College, and then at Victoria where he studied Law (attained qualifications include BA/LLB (Hons) and Dip.Acc.). Franks was subsequently admitted to the bar in 1975.

Prior to entering Parliament in 1999 Franks' professional appointments included: being a member of the Securities Commission, Deputy chairman (1999–1999) of the Market Surveillance Panel of the New Zealand Stock Exchange having been a member of the MSP from its inception for nine years, and a Council member of the Institute of Directors in New Zealand.

Member of Parliament: 1999–2005Edit

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate List Party
1999–2002 46th List 3 ACT
2002–2005 47th List 4 ACT

Franks entered Parliament in the 1999 election, having been ranked in third place on the party list for the ACT Party, and coming fourth in Rongotai electorate. This high ranking (above several sitting MPs) was indicative of ACT's high hopes for Franks at the time – as a prominent lawyer, he was generally regarded as a significant asset for the party. In 2002 he stood in Wellington Central which had been won by ACT's Richard Prebble in 1996. During his six years in Parliament he was ACT spokesman for Justice, Corrections, the Police and Commerce. He added Maori Affairs and Sport in the last three years.

When Prebble announced his retirement from politics in early 2004, Franks was one of the four candidates who sought to take his place as leader of ACT. Franks ran on a platform of restoring the party's core message. Despite receiving the endorsement of party founder Roger Douglas, he was eventually defeated by Rodney Hide. After Hide became leader of the ACT party on 13 June, Franks remained the party's spokesperson for justice.

2005 electionEdit

Franks lost his seat in Parliament in the 2005 general election when the total percentage of the popular vote for ACT reduced the ACT Party to two seats in Parliament. He subsequently returned to practising law, rejoining his old firm, Chapman Tripp as a consultant. He later left this firm to set up his own commercial and public law practice, Franks & Ogilvie

2008 election and afterEdit

Franks was National Party candidate for Wellington Central for the 2008 general election, being number 60 on the National Party list. He lost the contest by 1904 votes to Labour's Grant Robertson.

His business interests presently centre around his public law practice, several company directorships, farming and manuka honey beekeeping.


Further readingEdit

  • The 1993 Company Law Reform Summit: 20 & 21 September 1993, James Cook Hotel, Wellington, Auckland, [N.Z.]: The Institute, 1993
  • Franks' contribution is the opening address: "{U]pdate and overview of the commercial significance of company law reform." This paper also appears in the following publication:
  • Corporate Reform Consultancy, Wellington, [N.Z.]: Chapman Tripp Sheffield Young, 1994
  • ACT members of parliament. (2001), Closing the gaps: policy papers, Wellington, [N.Z.]: ACT New Zealand Parliamentary Office, ISBN 0-9582178-1-5
  • Franks' contribution is the paper: "Justice for all."
  • Old values, new ideas, Wellington, [N.Z.]: ACT New Zealand Parliamentary Office, 2002
  • Franks' contribution is the paper: "How should ACT treat the Treaty?"
  • The 3rd annual Maori Legal Forum: 24th & 25th June 2004, Wellington Town Hall, Wellington : New Zealand's leading forum for discussing key developments in Maori law, Auckland, [N.Z.]: Conferenz, 2004
  • Franks' contribution was participation in a panel discussion entitled: "[D]iscussing the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi"
  • Access to justice: rhetoric or reality: [(Australasian Law Reform Agencies Conference (2004 : Wellington, NZ)], Wellington, [N.Z.]: New Zealand Law Commission, 2004
  • Franks' contribution is the paper: "Law reform and indigeniety: going native: what indigeniety should look like in the morning."
  • Franks, Stephen L.; Baxt, Robert (1988), Submission to the Law Commission on company law, Wellington, [N.Z.]: New Zealand Business Roundtable
  • Prebble, Richard (2003), Liberal Thinking, Wellington, [N.Z.]: ACT New Zealand Parliamentary Office
  • Franks' contribution is the paper: "Liberals and the law."

External linksEdit