Mark Mitchell (politician)

Last updated

Mark Mitchell

Mark Mitchell 2017.jpg
39th Minister of Defence
In office
2 May 2017 26 October 2017
Prime Minister Bill English
Preceded by Gerry Brownlee
Succeeded by Ron Mark
Minister for Land Information
In office
20 December 2016 26 October 2017
Prime Minister Bill English
Preceded by Louise Upston
Succeeded by Eugenie Sage
Minister of Statistics
In office
20 December 2016 2 May 2017
Prime Minister Bill English
Preceded by Craig Foss
Succeeded by Scott Simpson
Member of Parliament
for Rodney
Assumed office
30 November 2011
Preceded by Lockwood Smith
Majority12,222 [1]
Personal details
Born (1968-05-22) 22 May 1968 (age 50)
Political party National Party
Spouse(s)Peggy Bourne
Relations Frank Gill (grandfather)
Alma mater The Wharton School

Mark Patrick Mitchell (born 22 May 1968) [2] is a New Zealand politician and a member of the New Zealand House of Representatives. He is a member of the National Party.

New Zealand House of Representatives Sole chamber of New Zealand Parliament

The New Zealand House of Representatives is a component of the New Zealand Parliament, along with the Sovereign. The House passes all laws, provides ministers to form a Cabinet, and supervises the work of the Government. It is also responsible for adopting the state's budgets and approving the state's accounts.

New Zealand National Party Major New Zealand political party

The New Zealand National Party, shortened to National or the Nats, is a centre-right political party in New Zealand. It is one of two major parties that dominate contemporary New Zealand politics, alongside its traditional rival, the New Zealand Labour Party.


Early life

Mitchell was born on Auckland's North Shore and lived his early years at Whenuapai air base, where his father was a flight lieutenant and his mother's father, Air Commodore Frank Gill, was the base commander. [3] Gill was later a National Party cabinet minister, between 1975 and 1980. [4] Mitchell attended Rosmini College.

RNZAF Base Auckland airport in New Zealand

RNZAF Base Auckland is a Royal New Zealand Air Force base located near the upper reaches of the Waitematā Harbour in Auckland, New Zealand. The base formerly comprised two separate airfields, Whenuapai and Hobsonville. Hobsonville was established as a seaplane station in 1928 and was the RNZAF's primary flying boat base in New Zealand until 1967. Construction of Whenuapai as a base for Wellington bomber aircraft began in 1937, the hangars being built in 1939, and from 1945-1965 Whenuapai was also Auckland's civil international airport. Post World War II Auckland became a centre for RNZAF transport and maritime squadrons. These two independent bases were integrated in 1965 to form RNZAF Base Auckland. Hobsonville subsequently became a grass airfield for No. 3 Squadron RNZAF which has now moved to Ohakea. A NZ Army unit comprising various personnel from different regiments as well as the New Zealand Special Air Service were relocated to Papakura Military Camp in 2003.

Air Commodore Thomas Francis Gill,, generally known as Frank Gill, was a New Zealand air force pilot and politician. He flew with the Royal Air Force throughout the Second World War and afterwards served with the Royal New Zealand Air Force until 1969. He entered Parliament as a National Party MP in 1969 and served as a cabinet minister from 1975 to 1980, when he resigned to become New Zealand's Ambassador to the United States.

Rosmini College

Rosmini College is a state integrated Catholic secondary school for boys, situated in Takapuna, Auckland, New Zealand. The school caters to Years 7-13, and currently has a roll of approximately 1097.

He was in the New Zealand Police for thirteen years from 1989 to 2002, including time as a dog handler and in the Armed Offenders Squad. [3] After leaving the police, Mitchell undertook an Executive education short course at Wharton Business School. [5]

New Zealand Police national police force

The New Zealand Police is the national police force of New Zealand, responsible for enforcing criminal law, enhancing public safety, maintaining order and keeping the peace throughout New Zealand. With over 11,000 staff it is the largest law enforcement agency in New Zealand and, with few exceptions, has primary jurisdiction over the majority of New Zealand criminal law. The New Zealand Police also has responsibility for traffic and commercial vehicle enforcement as well as other key responsibilities including protection of dignitaries, firearms licensing and matters of national security.

Armed Offenders Squad

The Armed Offenders Squad (AOS) are specialist part-time units of the New Zealand Police based around the country available to respond to high risk incidents using specialist tactics and equipment.

Mitchell worked for eight years as a private security contractor and spent time in Iraq, including the siege of the Italian-run An Nasiriyah compound in Southern Iraq by the Mahdi militia in 2004. [4] [6]

Iraq Republic in Western Asia

Iraq, officially the Republic of Iraq, is a country in Western Asia, bordered by Turkey to the north, Iran to the east, Kuwait to the southeast, Saudi Arabia to the south, Jordan to the southwest and Syria to the west. The capital, and largest city, is Baghdad. Iraq is home to diverse ethnic groups including Arabs, Kurds, Assyrians, Turkmen, Shabakis, Yazidis, Armenians, Mandeans, Circassians and Kawliya. Around 95% of the country's 37 million citizens are Muslims, with Christianity, Yarsan, Yezidism and Mandeanism also present. The official languages of Iraq are Arabic and Kurdish.

Member of Parliament

New Zealand Parliament
2011 2014 50th Rodney 59 National
2014 2017 51st Rodney42 National
2017 present 52nd Rodney21 National

Fifth National Government, 20112017

Mitchell was selected as the National Party's candidate for Rodney on 26 April 2011, replacing Lockwood Smith. [7]

Rodney (New Zealand electorate) Current New Zealand electorate

Rodney is a New Zealand parliamentary electorate, returning one Member of Parliament to the House of Representatives. The current MP for Rodney is Mark Mitchell of the National Party. He has held this position since 2011.

Lockwood Smith New Zealand politician

Sir Alexander Lockwood Smith is a New Zealand politician and diplomat who was High Commissioner of New Zealand to the United Kingdom from 2013 to 2017, and Speaker of the House of Representatives from 2008 to 2013.

Mitchell voted against the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill, a bill allowing same-sex couples to marry in New Zealand. [8]

Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Act 2013 law passed by the New Zealand House of Representatives legalizing gay marriage

The Marriage Amendment Act 2013 is an Act of Parliament in New Zealand, which since 19 August 2013, allows same-sex couples to legally marry.

In 2014, Nicky Hager's book Dirty Politics presented evidence which suggested that Mitchell had hired political strategist Simon Lusk during the National Party selection process for the Rodney electorate. Lusk appeared to have collaborated with blogger Cameron Slater to discredit Mitchell's opponents, particularly Brent Robinson. Mitchell strongly denies ever paying Lusk or Slater. [9]

He served as Chairperson of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee from the 2014 general election, before being appointed Minister for Land Information and Minister of Statistics in December 2016. In May 2017, he was promoted to Cabinet and became the Minister of Defence, while dropping the Statistics portfolio. [10] In 2017, Mitchell said he would not quit politics if National lost the 2017 general election. [11]

Coalition Government, 2017present

During the 2017 general election, Mark Mitchell was re-elected in the Rodney electorate, defeating Labour candidate Marja Lubeck by a margin of 19,561 votes. [12] Following the formation of a Labour-led coalition government, Mitchell was appointed as National's Spokesperson for the defence, disarmament, and justice portfolios. [10] On 22 January 2019, he was designated as National's Spokesperson for Pike River Re-entry. [13] [14]

Personal life

Mitchell has two children and has had three marriages, including to Peggy Bourne, who is the widow of rally driver Possum Bourne. [7] [15]

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  1. New Zealand Parliament. "Final Results for the 2011 New Zealand General Election and Referendum" . Retrieved 28 October 2018.
  2. The Dominion Post (17 March 2012). "Mitchell Primed for Next Battle". Press Reader. Retrieved 28 October 2018.
  3. 1 2 Mitchell, Mark (16 February 2012). "Mitchell, Mark: Address in Reply". Hansard. New Zealand Parliament. Retrieved 8 December 2018.
  4. 1 2 In the line of duty Sunday Star Times , 27 March 2011
  5. "Local Matters – Mark Mitchell – National". Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  6. Hager, Nicky (2014). "5. Simon Lusk's Plan". Dirty Politics . footnote 43. ISBN   9781927213360.
  7. 1 2 National selects Mark Mitchell for Rodney, 26 April 2011
  8. "Gay marriage: How MPs voted". NZ Herald. 18 April 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2017.
  9. Chang, Derek (26 August 2014). "Disclosures disgust defeated candidate". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  10. 1 2 "Mark Mitchell". New Zealand Parliament . Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  11. "Our most intriguing Defence Minister ever?". NZ Herald. 29 April 2017. Retrieved 30 April 2017.
  12. "Rodney - Official Result 2017". Electoral Commission . Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  13. "Bennett named drug reform spokesperson in shadow cabinet reshuffle". Radio New Zealand. 22 January 2019. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  14. Coughlan, Thomas (22 January 2019). "Bridges begins year with a reshuffle". Newsroom . Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  15. Peggy Bourne weds National Party politician New Zealand Herald, 13 November 2011
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Lockwood Smith
Member of Parliament for Rodney