Jacqui Dean

Last updated

Jacqui Dean

Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Waitaki
Assumed office
8 November 2005
Preceded by David Parker
12th Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs
In office
20 December 2016 26 October 2017
Prime Minister Bill English
Preceded by Paul Goldsmith
Succeeded by Kris Faafoi
Minister for Small Business
In office
20 December 2016 26 October 2017
Prime Minister Bill English
Preceded by Craig Foss
Succeeded by Stuart Nash
Personal details
Born (1957-05-13) 13 May 1957 (age 62)
Palmerston North, New Zealand
Political party National Party
Spouse(s)Bill Dean
Residence Oamaru
Website http://jacquidean.co.nz

Jacqueline Isobel "Jacqui" Dean (born 13 May 1957 in Palmerston North) is a New Zealand politician and the current Member of Parliament for the Waitaki electorate, where she represents the National Party.


Early career

Dean has worked in a number of roles, including professional acting. She is perhaps best known as a former host of Play School , a children's television programme, but has also acted on stage and been a radio announcer. She has also worked in the education sector.

Early in Dean's political career, she served on the Waitaki District Council, representing the Oamaru ward. She also unsuccessfully contested the mayoralty.

Member of Parliament

New Zealand Parliament
2005 2008 48th Otago 40 National
2008 2011 49th Waitaki 40 National
2011 2014 50th Waitaki41 National
2014 2017 51st Waitaki36 National
2017 present 52nd Waitaki23 National

In the 2005 election, she was the National Party's successful candidate for the Otago seat, a traditional National stronghold which had unexpectedly been taken by the Labour Party's David Parker. For this election, Dean campaigned on water issues, saying in her maiden speech to parliament that she believed water to be the "single most important issue facing New Zealand today". [1] She was returned to Parliament in 2008 and 2011 for the geographically similar Waitaki electorate. [2] [3] Dean was confirmed as Waitaki's representative in the 2014 election. [4]

Drug policy

Jacqui Dean has been vocal on drug-related issues in New Zealand although she has no official role in this capacity. [5]

'Party pills'

Jacqui Dean campaigned for the banning of the sale of "party pills", namely Benzylpiperazine (BZP), over which Associate Health Minister Jim Anderton (Progressive party) has accused her of indulging in political grandstanding, saying – "Perhaps Mrs Dean doesn't subscribe to the idea that any Government must balance the need to act promptly with its responsibilities to act fairly and follow due process, particularly where its actions affect those who are currently acting within existing legal constraints." [6] Dean's press releases refer to BZP as either "cattle drench" or a "worming agent". [7] [8] BZP was developed for this use, but has never been commercially used as a wormer or drench. [9] Evidence that Dean has used to promote the BZP ban (such as the MRINZ report on BZP) has been criticized as consisting of flawed research which does not meet peer review requirements. [10]

Salvia divinorum

In November 2007 Jacqui Dean called for the government to take action against Salvia divinorum , saying – "Salvia divinorum is a hallucinogenic drug, which has been banned in Australia, and yet here in New Zealand it continues to be sold freely." and "We’re dealing with a dangerous drug here, with the minister's wait and see approach like playing Russian Roulette with young people's lives." [11] In March 2008 she was reportedly pleased on hearing about plans for action against salvia, but saying she was not hopeful it would be fast, given that it had taken the Government two and a-half years to move on BZP. Her concern about salvia was that people were self-medicating with it and combining it with other drugs including alcohol. "I don’t think we understand the long-term effects of Salvia divinorum." she said. [12]

Opponents of prohibitive Salvia restrictions argue that such reactions are largely due to an inherent prejudice and a particular cultural bias rather than any actual balance of evidence, pointing out inconsistencies in attitudes toward other more toxic and addictive drugs such as alcohol and nicotine. [i] [13] While not objecting to some form of regulatory legal control, in particular with regard to the sale to minors or sale of enhanced high-strength extracts, most Salvia proponents otherwise argue against stricter legislation. [ii] [14]

Alcohol and tobacco

When questioned by Māori Party MP Tariana Turia, on why she was unwilling to take the same prohibitory line on smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol as she took on BZP, Ms Dean said – "Alcohol and tobacco have been with our society for many, many years." [15] It is estimated that alcohol-related conditions account for 3.1% of all male deaths and 1.41% of all female deaths in New Zealand. [16]

Dean's Otago electorate is also home to approximately 5% of New Zealand's wine production, described by the New Zealand Wine Growers Association as a new but aggressively expanding wine area, which is now New Zealand's seventh largest wine region. [17]

Dihydrogen monoxide hoax

In August 2007, as a result of emails from ACT on Campus members based loosely around the well-known dihydrogen monoxide hoax, she sent a letter to Associate Health Minister Jim Anderton, asking if there were any plans to ban "dihydrogen monoxide", apparently not realizing that this is water. [18] [19]

In September 2007, the Social Tonics Association of New Zealand (STANZ) called for Jacqui Dean to step down from speaking on drug issues after she demonstrated — "a lack of credibility in calling for the ban of dihydrogen monoxide (water)". STANZ Chairman Matt Bowden said — "The DHMO hoax played on the member this week is not a joke, it highlights a serious issue at the heart of drug policy making. Ms Dean demonstrated a 'ban anything moderately harmful' reflex. This approach is just downright dangerous." — "Jacqui Dean has clearly demonstrated a lack of credibility in her requests to the Minister to consider banning water; She has also seriously embarrassed her National Party colleagues who can no longer have confidence in her petitions to ban BZP or anything else." [20]

When interviewed on the radio by Marcus Lush on 14 September 2007, she referred to the members of ACT on Campus as "left wingers". She also suggested that there were no lessons to be learned from her attempts to call for a ban on water. [21]


  1. ^ The worldwide number of alcohol-related deaths is calculated at over 2,000 people per day, [22] in the US for example the number is over 300 deaths per day. [23]
  2. ^ Those advocating consideration of Salvia divinorum's potential for beneficial use in a modern context argue that more could be learned from Mazatec culture, where Salvia is not really associated with notions of drug taking at all and it is rather considered as a spiritual sacrament. In light of this it is argued that Salvia divinorum could be better understood more positively as an entheogen rather than pejoratively as a hallucinogen. [24]


  1. Dean 2005.
  2. "Jacqui Dean wins rejigged Waitaki seat in a landslide". The Southland Times . 9 November 2008. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
  3. Bruce, David (28 November 2011). "Dean has eye on Cabinet post". Otago Daily Times . Archived from the original on 21 July 2015. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
  4. "Latest results: Waitaki". Otago Daily Times . 20 September 2014. Archived from the original on 21 July 2015. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
  5. New Zealand Parliament MPs – Jacqui Dean.
  6. Anderton 2007.
  7. New Zealand National Party 2007-03-22 (Media story)
  8. Dean 2007b.
  9. EMCDDA 2007.
  10. Dawson & Wodak 2007.
  11. New Zealand National Party 2007-11-05 (Media story).
  12. Elspeth 2008-03-14 (Media story)
  13. Nutt et al. 2007.
  14. Siebert (Legal status).
  15. Stuff 2007-10-10 (Media story).
  16. New Zealand Ministry of Health
  17. NZ Wine Growers 2006.
  18. Stuff 2007-09-13 (Media story).
  19. Dean 2007a.
  20. Social Tonics Association 2007-09-15 (Media story).
  21. Dean 2007c.
  22. Lopez 2005, Table 2.
  23. NIAAA 2001.
  24. Blosser (Mazatec Lessons).

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News references

General references

New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
David Parker
Member of Parliament for Otago
Constituency abolished
In abeyance
Title last held by
Alec Neill
Member of Parliament for Waitaki