Jonathan Coleman (politician)

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Jonathan Coleman
Jonathan Coleman 3by2.png
39th Minister of Health
In office
8 October 2014 26 October 2017
Prime Minister John Key
Bill English
Preceded by Tony Ryall
Succeeded by David Clark
Minister for Sport and Recreation
In office
8 October 2014 26 October 2017
Prime Minister John Key
Bill English
Preceded by Murray McCully
Succeeded by Grant Robertson
37th Minister of Defence
In office
14 December 2011 8 October 2014
Prime Minister John Key
Preceded by Wayne Mapp
Succeeded by Gerry Brownlee
Minister of State Services
In office
14 December 2011 8 October 2014
Prime Minister John Key
Preceded by Tony Ryall
Succeeded by Paula Bennett
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Northcote
In office
17 September 2005 15 April 2018
Preceded by Ann Hartley
Succeeded by Dan Bidois
Personal details
Born (1966-09-23) 23 September 1966 (age 53)
Political party National Party
Spouse(s)Sandra Coleman (née Keaney) [1]
Alma mater University of Auckland
University of London

Jonathan David Coleman (born 23 September[ citation needed ] 1966) is a former New Zealand politician.


Early years

After attending Auckland Grammar School where he was Head Prefect in 1984, Coleman trained as a doctor, graduating from University of Auckland's medical school. He worked as a doctor in New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Australia (in the latter case, for the Royal Flying Doctor Service). He later obtained an MBA from London Business School in 2000, and returned to New Zealand the following year. [ citation needed ]

He worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers as consultant on health sector issues and as a part-time general practitioner in Otara. He entered the selection for the National Party candidacy for Tamaki but was defeated by Allan Peachey before successfully contesting the candidacy for Northcote.

He has a 170-year family connection to his Northcote electorate and “a bit of tangata whenua thrown in” to his bloodline. [2]

Member of Parliament

New Zealand Parliament
2005 2008 48th Northcote 35 National
2008 2011 49th Northcote29 National
2011 2014 50th Northcote16 National
2014 2017 51st Northcote10 National
2017 2018 52nd Northcote8 National

In the 2005 election, Coleman stood as the National Party's candidate for the Northcote seat. He was also ranked 35th on the party's list. Coleman was successful, defeating Ann Hartley of the Labour Party. This was the only Auckland seat to change hands between Labour and National in the 2005 election.[ citation needed ]

In 2006, Coleman (then the National Party's associate health spokesman) caused controversy when he accepted British American Tobacco's – an active lobbier on health sector issues – offer of sitting in their corporate box during a U2 concert. [3] It was alleged he blew cigar smoke at a woman during the concert. [4] Coleman admitted he made a mistake by sitting in British American Tobacco's corporate box and smoking at a U2 concert. [5]

In the 2008 election Coleman was re-elected in Northcote with a majority of 9,360 votes. [6] He was again successful in the 2011 election, winning by a majority of 9,379 votes. [7] He had a slightly increased majority in the 2014 election. [8]


After being re-elected for a third term for the Northcote seat in November 2011, Coleman was promoted in Cabinet to Minister of Defence, Minister of State Services and Associate Minister of Finance.[ citation needed ]

In 2012, Coleman made a secret visit to Afghanistan to visit New Zealand troops. [9] Coleman said the visit was a "chance for him to offer his support to the troops for the important work they were doing providing security in the province". [10]

As Minister of Defence, Coleman led the implementation of the 2010 Defence White Paper. [11] He commissioned the Defence Mid-Point Rebalancing Review which set out the long term approach, balancing funding, capabilities and policy. [12] Coleman oversaw the NZDF's successful withdrawal from its three largest missions in Afghanistan, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste. [13]

Coleman voted against the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Act 2013. [14]


In 2014 Coleman became the first doctor in 70 years to take the health portfolio. [15] In May 2015, Coleman described the Young Labour's proposal for free gender reassignment surgery for transgender people in New Zealand as a "nutty idea". [16]

On 20 May 2015, a meeting in Alexandra organised by Central Otago Health Services Ltd supported a vote of no confidence in Health Minister Jonathan Coleman. [17] When Russell Garbutt moved a motion of no confidence in the minister and emailed him the following morning, he did not expect Coleman to pick up the phone and call [him]. They spoke for more than 10 minutes, with Coleman telling Mr Garbutt the Southern District Health Board (SDHB) was his ''number 1'' priority in respect of its budget woes. [18]

Leadership campaign

Coleman announced his intention to seek the National Party leadership in 2016 after John Key announced his intention to resign. [19] He was unsuccessful, with Bill English becoming the new PM.


On 22 March 2018, Coleman announced he would resign from Parliament, thereby triggering the 2018 Northcote by-election.

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  1. "Valedictory Statements". New Zealand Parliament. 11 April 2018.
  2. "Minister of Health Jonathan Coleman – interview – The Listener". Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  3. "A year some politicians would rather see as a bad dream". NZ Herald. 22 December 2006.
  4. "Nat MP 'punched in cigar row'". NZ Herald. 3 December 2006.
  5. Houlahan, Mike (4 December 2006). "Sackcloth and ashes for National health spokesman after U2 cigar". The New Zealand Herald.
  6. "Official Count Results – Northcote". Chief Electoral Office. 22 November 2008. Archived from the original on 13 January 2015. Retrieved 4 October 2014.
  7. "Official Count Results – Northcote". New Zealand Electoral Commission. 10 December 2011. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  8. "Official Count Results – Northcote". Electoral Commission. 4 October 2014. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
  9. "Jonathan Coleman in secret visit to Afghanistan". Radio New Zealand. 4 October 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  10. Levy, Danya (3 October 2012). "Defence Minister on secret Afghanistan visit". Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  11. "Govt delivers on Defence White Paper reforms". The Beehive. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  12. "Government remains committed to sustainable, affordable future Defence Force". The Beehive. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  13. "Ceremony marks Chief of Defence handover". The Beehive. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  14. "How your MP voted | New Zealand Campaign for Marriage Equality". 1 May 2013. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  15. Noted. "Minister of Health Jonathan Coleman – interview – The Listener". Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  16. "Sex change surgery policy 'nutty'". 19 May 2015.
  17. van Kempen, Lynda (21 May 2015). "1000 gather over threat to cut hospital services". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  18. "Instant response from Minister". Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  19. "The race for Prime Minister gets crowded – It's Bill English, Jonathan Coleman and now Judith Collins". New Zealand Herald . Retrieved 6 December 2016.
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Ann Hartley
Member of Parliament
for Northcote

Succeeded by
Dan Bidois
Political offices
Preceded by
Wayne Mapp
Minister of Defence
Succeeded by
Gerry Brownlee
Preceded by
Tony Ryall
Minister of State Services
Succeeded by
Paula Bennett
Minister of Health
Succeeded by
David Clark
Preceded by
Murray McCully
Minister for Sport and Recreation
Succeeded by
Grant Robertson