Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand

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Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand
Coat of arms of New Zealand.svg
Winston Peters, 2018.jpg
Winston Peters

since 26 October 2017
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
Style The Honourable
Member of
Reports to Prime Minister of New Zealand
Appointer Governor-General of New Zealand
Term length At Her Majesty's pleasure
Formation13 November 1954
First holder Sir Keith Holyoake
Salary$334,734 (NZD) [1]
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This article is part of a series on the
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The Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand (Māori : Te Pirimia Tuarua o Aotearoa) is the second-most senior minister in the Government of New Zealand, although this seniority does not necessarily translate into power. The office was created as a ministerial portfolio in 1954. The officeholder usually deputises for the prime minister at official functions. The current Deputy Prime Minister is Winston Peters, the Leader of New Zealand First.

Māori language Polynesian language spoken by New Zealand Māori

Māori, also known as te reo, is an Eastern Polynesian language spoken by the Māori people, the indigenous population of New Zealand. Closely related to Cook Islands Māori, Tuamotuan, and Tahitian, it gained recognition as one of New Zealand's official languages in 1987. The number of speakers of the language has declined sharply since 1945, but a Māori language revitalisation effort slowed the decline, and the language has experienced a revival, particularly since about 2015.

Government of New Zealand Central government of New Zealand

The Government of New Zealand, or New Zealand Government, is the administrative complex through which authority is exercised in New Zealand. As in most parliamentary democracies, the term "Government" refers chiefly to the executive branch, and more specifically to the collective ministry directing the executive. Based on the principle of responsible government, it operates within the framework that "the Queen reigns, but the government rules, so long as it has the support of the House of Representatives".

Prime Minister of New Zealand head of the New Zealand government

The Prime Minister of New Zealand is the head of government of New Zealand. The incumbent Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, leader of the New Zealand Labour Party, took office on 26 October 2017.


Appointment and duties

Generally, the position is held by the deputy leader of the largest 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, [2] and Jim Anderton, leader of the Alliance. [3]

Mixed-member proportional (MMP) representation is a mixed electoral system in which voters get two votes: one to decide the representative for their single-seat constituency, and one for a political party. Seats in the legislature are filled firstly by the successful constituency candidates, and secondly, by party candidates based on the percentage of nationwide or region-wide votes that each party received. The constituency representatives are elected using first-past-the-post voting (FPTP) or another plurality/majoritarian system. The nationwide or region-wide party representatives are, in most jurisdictions, drawn from published party lists, similar to party-list proportional representation. To gain a nationwide representative, parties may be required to achieve a minimum number of constituency candidates, a minimum percentage of the nationwide party vote, or both.

Winston Peters New Zealand politician

Winston Raymond Peters is a New Zealand politician who has served since 2017 as the Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand and Minister of Foreign Affairs. He was previously Deputy Prime Minister from 1996 to 1998. Peters has led the populist New Zealand First party since its foundation in 1993. He has been a Member of Parliament since 2011, having previously served from 1979 to 1981 and 1984 to 2008.

New Zealand First, commonly abbreviated to NZ First, is a nationalist and populist political party in New Zealand. It was founded in July 1993, following the resignation on 19 March 1993 of its leader and founder, Winston Peters, from the then-governing National Party. It has formed governments with both major parties in New Zealand: first with the National Party from 1996 to 1998, and then with the Labour Party from 2005 to 2008 and from 2017 to present.

The post of deputy prime minister was formally established in 1954. [N 1] Eighteen individuals have held the position (two of them doing so twice). Of those people, only Holyoake, Marshall, Watt, Muldoon, Palmer, Clark and English have eventually served as Prime Minister. [N 2]

The duties of the deputy prime minister are to act on behalf of the prime minister in his or her absence overseas or on leave. The deputy prime minister has always been a member of the Cabinet, and has always held at least one substantive portfolio. If the prime minister were to die, become incapacitated or resign, the Governor-General would normally appoint the Deputy Prime Minister as Prime Minister on an interim basis until the governing party elects a new leader, but is not obligated to do so.

Cabinet of New Zealand

The Cabinet of New Zealand is the New Zealand Government's body of senior ministers, responsible to the New Zealand Parliament. Cabinet meetings, chaired by the prime minister, occur once a week; in them, vital issues are discussed and government policy is formulated. Though not established by any statute, Cabinet has significant power in the New Zealand political system and nearly all bills proposed by Cabinet in Parliament are enacted.

Governor-General of New Zealand Representative of the monarch of New Zealand

The Governor-General of New Zealand is the viceregal representative of the monarch of New Zealand, currently Queen Elizabeth II. As the Queen is concurrently the monarch of 15 other Commonwealth realms, and lives in the United Kingdom, she, on the advice of her Prime Minister of New Zealand, appoints a governor-general to carry out her constitutional and ceremonial duties within the Realm of New Zealand.

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. [4] 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. [4]

<i>Political Science</i> (journal) peer-reviewed academic journal of political science

Political Science is a triannual peer-reviewed academic journal covering political science. It was established at Victoria University of Wellington in 1948 and remains New Zealand's sole professional journal of political science. It is published by Taylor and Francis and has a broadly comparative or international approach, with a particular focus on the Asia-Pacific region.

List of Deputy Prime Ministers of New Zealand


   Labour    National    NZ First    Alliance

No.NamePortraitTerm of officePrime Minister
1 Keith Holyoake Keith Holyoake (crop).jpg 13 November 195420 September 1957 Holland
2 Jack Marshall Jack Marshall, 1957.jpg 20 September 195712 December 1957 Holyoake
3 Jerry Skinner CF Skinner.tif 12 December 195712 December 1960 Nash
(2) Jack Marshall Jack Marshall, 1957.jpg 12 December 19609 February 1972 Holyoake
4 Robert Muldoon Muldoon 26 June 1969.jpg 9 February 19728 December 1972 Marshall
5 Hugh Watt Hugh Watt.jpg 8 December 19721 September 1974 Kirk
6 Bob Tizard Bob Tizard, 1963.jpg 10 September 197412 December 1975 Rowling
7 Brian Talboys Brian Talboys.jpg 12 December 19754 March 1981 Muldoon
8 Duncan MacIntyre Duncan MacIntyre Greg Tate (crop).jpg 4 March 198115 March 1984
9 Jim McLay Jim McLay (cropped).jpg 15 March 198426 July 1984
10 Geoffrey Palmer Geoffrey Palmer.jpg 26 July 19848 August 1989 Lange
11 Helen Clark Helen Clark UNDP 2010.jpg 8 August 19892 November 1990 Palmer
12 Don McKinnon Don McKinnon (cropped).jpg 2 November 199016 December 1996 Bolger
13 Winston Peters Winston Peters, 2018.jpg 16 December 199614 August 1998
14 Wyatt Creech Wyatt Creech.jpg 14 August 199810 December 1999
15 Jim Anderton Jim Anderton, 2010.jpg 10 December 199915 August 2002 Clark
16 Michael Cullen Michael Cullen, 2008.jpg 15 August 200219 November 2008
17 Bill English Prime Minister Bill English.jpg 19 November 200812 December 2016 Key
18 Paula Bennett Paula Bennett in 2018.png 12 December 201626 October 2017 English
(13) Winston Peters Winston Peters, 2018.jpg 26 October 2017Incumbent Ardern

Living former Deputy Prime Ministers

As of May 2019, there are eight living former New Zealand Deputy Prime Ministers, as seen below. The most recent Deputy Prime Minister to die was Jim Anderton (served 1999–2002), on 7 January 2018, aged 79. [5]

Jim Anderton New Zealand politician

James Patrick Anderton was a New Zealand politician who led a succession of left-wing parties after leaving the Labour Party in 1989.


  1. A few ministers were referred to as "deputy prime minister" before 1954, such as Walter Nash. However, this was a descriptive title and not a formal ministerial portfolio.
  2. 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.

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  1. "Parliamentary Salaries and Allowances Determination 2017" (PDF). New Zealand Parliament. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  2. "Rt Hon Winston Peters". New Zealand First. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  3. Vernon Small (7 December 2012). "Labour leader looks to outsiders for deputy". Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  4. 1 2 Barnes, Steven (2009). "What About Me? Deputy Prime Ministership in New Zealand". Political Science . 61 (1): 33–49. doi:10.1177/00323187090610010401.
  5. "Jim Anderton dies aged 79". 6 January 2018. Retrieved 6 January 2018.