Sam Lotu-Iiga

The Honourable
Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga

Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga
Minister of Pacific Peoples
Assumed office
28 January 2014
Prime Minister John Key
Preceded by Hekia Parata
Member of Parliament
for Maungakiekie
Assumed office
8 November 2008
Preceded by Mark Gosche
Majority 2,348 in 2014[1]
Personal details
Born (1970-11-02) 2 November 1970
Apia, Samoa
Nationality Samoa
New Zealand
Political party National
Profession Lawyer/Investor
Religion Christian

Peseta Samuelu Masunu "Sam" Lotu-Iiga (born 2 November 1970) is the member of the New Zealand Parliament for the Maungakiekie electorate having been elected in the 2008 election. Lotu-Iiga is one of two National Party Pacific Island MPs. Lotu-Iiga holds the Samoan high chiefly title of Peseta.

Early life

Lotu-Iiga was born in Apia, Samoa, and moved to New Zealand as a child. He grew up in South Auckland, attending Mangere Central Primary School. He then attended Auckland Grammar School and the University of Auckland, where he earned an MCom(Hons) and a BCom/LLB.

Professional career

While studying, Lotu-Iiga worked as an intern at the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, but declined an offer to continue after graduation, instead joining Russell McVeagh McKenzie Bartleet in Auckland as a solicitor.

Lotu-Iiga travelled to Britain, where he worked for Bankers Trust as a financial analyst. While in Britain he earned his MBA from the Cambridge Judge Business School (University of Cambridge). While at Cambridge Lotu-Iiga played rugby for the New Zealand Barbarians.

Lotu-Iiga moved to Sydney and became an executive consultant with Macquarie Bank.

Political career

Parliament of New Zealand
Years Term Electorate List Party
20082011 49th Maungakiekie 35 National
20112014 50th Maungakiekie 29 National
2014present 51st Maungakiekie 24 National

Local-government politics

Lotu-Iiga stood on the Citizens & Ratepayers' ticket for a seat on the Auckland City Council in October 2007, in the Tamaki-Maungakiekie ward.[2] In a surprise win, Lotu-Iiga became the first right-wing councillor for the area in twelve years. Aligned with Mayor John Banks, Lotu-Iiga was appointed Chairman of the City Development Committee on the Council.

Election to Parliament: 2008–2011

In February 2008 Lotu-Iiga put his name forward for the National Party selection for the Maungakiekie electorate. That month, incumbent Labour Party MP Mark Gosche, who held a majority of over 6,000 votes, announced he would stand down from the seat in the forthcoming general election. In April Lotu-Iiga defeated two other National Party nominees for the selection on the first ballot.

While the electoral boundaries for Maungakiekie had changed, removing Otahuhu, the new boundary included the new suburbs of Panmure and Point England, which were considered to heavily favour the Labour Party. Gosche's large majority meant that Maungakiekie was still considered a safe Labour seat.

Lotu-Iiga ran a high-profile campaign, capitalising on his high name-recognition as a City Councillor, and heavily engaged in grass-roots campaigning, including door-knocking the electoral district. On election night, Lotu-Iiga beat Labour List MP Carol Beaumont by a margin of 1,942 votes[3] in what was one of the largest electoral swings in the country. Lotu-Iiga became one of three National Party candidates in the Auckland region to claim a seat from Labour, along with Nikki Kaye in Auckland Central and Paula Bennett in Waitakere. In his first parliamentary term, Lotu-Iiga served as the Deputy-Chairperson of the Commerce Committee and as a member of the Finance and Expenditure Committee.

Lotu-Iiga faced some criticism for not resigning from his role as an Auckland City Councillor when he was elected as an MP. He missed a significant number of meetings, attending 12 out of 22 scheduled meetings. Lotu-Iiga responded: "People don't want a politician who's only going to meetings. It's only one part of our job. It's about going out meeting with people from the community. I feel like I'm doing fine. I'm busy but I'm on top of everything..."[4] During the period in which he missed meetings, important decisions were made with regard to areas within the Tamaki-Maungakiekie Ward. Lout-Iiga eventually resigned his council post in October 2009.[5]

Second term in Parliament: 2011–2014

In November 2011, Lotu-Iiga was reelected the MP for Maungakiekie, beating Carol Beaumont a second time with an increased majority. Following the election, Lotu-Iiga was elected Chairperson of the Social Services Select Committee, where he has presided over the Government's welfare reform legislation.

In January 2014, Lotu-Iiga was promoted into cabinet, becoming Minister of Pacific Island Affairs, and Associate Minister of Local Government.[6]

Third term: 2014–present

On 8 October 2014, Lotu-Iiga received his warrants as Minister for Pacific Peoples, Minister for Ethnic Communities and Minister of Corrections.[7]

On 7 December 2015, Prime Minister John Key announced that Lotu-Iiga would be handing the Corrections portfolio over to returning Cabinet Minister Judith Collins, and would take over the Local Government portfolio from Paula Bennett. The changes are effective form 14 December 2015.

Personal life

Lotu-Iiga lives with his wife Jules in Onehunga. They have one daughter.[8] He was previously on the board of One Tree Hill College (formerly Penrose High School).


  1. "Official Count Results - Maungakiekie". Retrieved 2016-01-17.
  2. Final official election results 2007, Auckland City Council.
  3. Official Count Results -- Maungakiekie, Chief Electoral Office, New Zealand Ministry of Justice, Wellington.
  4. "He earns $200,000 a year from two public jobs. But is he...MISSING IN ACTION?". The Aucklander. Archived from the original on 3 June 2009.
  5. "Council Votes Not To Fill Vacant Seat". 27 November 2009. Retrieved 2 December 2009.
  6. Hosking, Rob (21 January 2014). "Cabinet reshuffle: Key sends election year signals to partners". National Business Review. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
  7. Te Kaea (6 October 2014). "National-led Government Ministerial List announced". Maori Television. Retrieved 9 October 2014.
  8. "Hon Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga". Retrieved 2016-01-17.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sam Lotu-Iiga.
Political offices
Preceded by
Anne Tolley
Minister of Corrections
Succeeded by
Judith Collins
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Mark Gosche
Member of Parliament for Maungakiekie
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