Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand
|This article is part of a series on the|
politics and government of
The Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand is the second most senior minister in the Government of New Zealand, although this seniority does not necessarily translate into power.
Generally, the position is held by the deputy leader of the ruling party, but now that the MMP electoral system makes coalitions more likely, the role may instead go to the leader of a junior party. This occurred with Winston Peters, leader of New Zealand First, and Jim Anderton, leader of the Alliance.
The post of Deputy Prime Minister was formally established in 1949, although it informally existed prior to then. Since 1949, sixteen people have held the position (one of them doing so twice). Of those people, only Holyoake, Marshall, Watt, Muldoon, Palmer, and Clark have eventually served as Prime Minister.
Little scholarly attention has focused on deputy prime ministers in New Zealand or elsewhere. In 2009, an article by Steven Barnes appeared in Political Science where nine 'qualities' of deputy prime ministership were identified: temperament; relationships with their Cabinet and caucus; relationships with their party; popularity with the public; media skills; achievements as Deputy Prime Minister; relationship with the Prime Minister; leadership ambition; and method of succession. Barnes conducted a survey of journalists, academics, and former Members of Parliament to rank New Zealand's Deputy Prime Ministers since 1960. Across the nine deputy prime minister 'qualities', Don McKinnon achieved the number one ranking, followed by Brian Talboys, Michael Cullen, and John Marshall. In a second 'overall' ranking, Cullen was ranked number one, followed by Talboys, McKinnon, and Marshall. Jim Anderton, Winston Peters, and Bob Tizard were ranked lowest in both sections of the survey.
List of Deputy Prime Ministers of New Zealand
| Colour key|
(for political parties)
|No.||Name||Portrait||Term of Office||Prime Minister|
|1||Keith Holyoake||13 November 1954||20 September 1957||Holland|
|2||Jack Marshall||20 September 1957||12 December 1957||Holyoake|
|3||Clarence Skinner||12 December 1957||12 December 1960||Nash|
|(2)||Jack Marshall||12 December 1960||9 February 1972||Holyoake|
|4||Robert Muldoon||9 February 1972||8 December 1972||Marshall|
|5||Hugh Watt||8 December 1972||1 September 1974||Kirk|
|6||Bob Tizard||10 September 1974||12 December 1975||Rowling|
|7||Brian Talboys||12 December 1975||4 March 1981||Muldoon|
|8||Duncan MacIntyre||4 March 1981||15 March 1984|
|9||Jim McLay||15 March 1984||26 July 1984|
|10||Geoffrey Palmer||26 July 1984||8 August 1989||Lange|
|11||Helen Clark||8 August 1989||4 September 1990||Palmer|
|12||Don McKinnon||4 September 1990||16 December 1996||Bolger|
|13||Winston Peters||16 December 1996||14 August 1998|
|14||Wyatt Creech||14 August 1998||5 December 1999|
|15||Jim Anderton||5 December 1999||15 August 2002||Clark|
|16||Michael Cullen||15 August 2002||19 November 2008|
|17||Bill English||19 November 2008||incumbent||Key|
- Note: Some lists consider Hugh Watt as a New Zealand Prime Minister. Watt served as acting Prime Minister for seven days from 31 August to 6 September 1972 following the death of Norman Kirk. He is not normally counted in the official numbering of New Zealand Prime Ministers.
- Steven Barnes, 'What About Me? Deputy Prime Ministership in New Zealand', Political Science, Vol. 61, No. 1, 2009, pp. 33-49