Michael Cullen (politician)

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Sir Michael Cullen

Michael Cullen, 2008.jpg
Official portrait of Cullen, 2008
40th Minister of Finance
In office
10 December 1999 19 November 2008
Prime Minister Helen Clark
Preceded by Bill Birch
Succeeded by Bill English
16th Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand
In office
15 August 2002 19 November 2008
Prime Minister Helen Clark
Preceded by Jim Anderton
Succeeded by Bill English
30th Attorney-General of New Zealand
In office
28 February 2005 19 October 2005
Prime Minister Helen Clark
Preceded by Margaret Wilson
Succeeded by David Parker
In office
21 March 2006 19 November 2008
Prime Minister Helen Clark
Preceded by David Parker
Succeeded by Chris Finlayson
4th Treasurer of New Zealand
In office
10 December 1999 15 August 2002
Prime Minister Helen Clark
Preceded by Bill English
Succeeded byPosition Abolished
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for St Kilda
In office
1981–1996
Preceded by Bill Fraser
Succeeded bySeat Abolished
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Dunedin South
In office
1996–1999
Preceded bySeat Established
Succeeded by David Benson-Pope
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Labour Party List
In office
1999 29 April 2009
Succeeded by Damien O'Connor
Chair of New Zealand Post
In office
1 November 2010 1 November 2016
Prime Minister John Key
Preceded by Jim Bolger
Succeeded by Jane Taylor
Personal details
Born (1945-02-05) 5 February 1945 (age 74)
London, England
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Anne Fraser
ProfessionLecturer

Sir Michael John Cullen KNZM (born 5 February 1945) is a former New Zealand politician. He served as Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand, also Minister of Finance, Minister of Tertiary Education, and Attorney-General. He was the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party from 1996 until November 2008, when he resigned following a defeat in the general election. He resigned from Parliament in April 2009, to become the deputy chairman of New Zealand Post from 1 November 2009 [1] and chairman from 1 November 2010.

Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand

The Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand 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.

Minister of Finance (New Zealand) in New Zealand

The Minister of Finance, originally known as Colonial Treasurer, is a senior figure within the Government of New Zealand and head of the New Zealand Treasury. The position is often considered to be the most important cabinet post after that of the Prime Minister. The Minister of Finance is responsible for producing an annual New Zealand budget outlining the government's proposed expenditure.

Attorney-General (New Zealand) political office in New Zealand

The Attorney-General is a political and legal officer in New Zealand. The Attorney-General is simultaneously a ministerial position and the chief law officer of the Crown, and has responsibility for supervising New Zealand law and advising the government on legal matters. The Attorney-General serves both a political and apolitical function. The current Attorney-General is David Parker.

Contents

Early life

Born in London, Cullen emigrated to New Zealand while young. He attended secondary school at Christ's College in Christchurch, and achieved an MA in history at Canterbury University. Receiving a Commonwealth Scholarship he then gained a PhD in social and economic history from the University of Edinburgh. [2] From 1971 to 1981 he was a lecturer at Otago University, with a term as a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University from 1975 to 1976. [3] On 16 December 2009, he received an honorary LLD from the University of Otago in recognition of "his contributions as an Otago academic and as a respected and highly influential politician". [4]

Christs College, Christchurch independent, Anglican, secondary, day and boarding school for boys, located in the central city of Christchurch, New Zealand

Christ's College, Christchurch is an independent, Anglican, secondary, day and boarding school for boys, located in the city centre of Christchurch, New Zealand.

Christchurch Metropolitan area in South Island, New Zealand

Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand and the seat of the Canterbury Region. The Christchurch urban area lies on the South Island's east coast, just north of Banks Peninsula. It is home to 404,500 residents, making it New Zealand's third-most populous city behind Auckland and Wellington. The Avon River flows through the centre of the city, with an urban park located along its banks.

University of Canterbury University in Christchurch, New Zealand

The University of Canterbury is New Zealand's second oldest university.

Member of Parliament

New Zealand Parliament
YearsTermElectorateListParty
1981 1984 40th St Kilda Labour
1984 1987 41st St Kilda Labour
1987 1990 42nd St Kilda Labour
1990 1993 43rd St Kilda Labour
1993 1996 44th St Kilda Labour
1996 1999 45th Dunedin South 2 Labour
1999 2002 46th List2 Labour
2002 2005 47th List2 Labour
2005 2008 48th List2 Labour
2008 2009 49th List 2 Labour

Cullen joined the Labour Party in 1974, and served on the party's Executive and Council between 1976 and 1981. In 1981 he was elected MP for the Dunedin electorate of St Kilda.

The New Zealand Labour Party, or simply Labour, is a centre-left political party in New Zealand. The party's platform programme describes its founding principle as democratic socialism, while observers describe Labour as social-democratic and pragmatic in practice. It is a participant of the international Progressive Alliance.

1981 New Zealand general election

The 1981 New Zealand general election, held on 28 November 1981, was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of the 40th New Zealand Parliament. It saw the governing National Party, led by Robert Muldoon, win a third term in office, but the opposition Labour Party, led by Bill Rowling, won the largest share of the votes cast.

Dunedin City in Otago, New Zealand

Dunedin is the second-largest city in the South Island of New Zealand, and the principal city of the Otago region. Its name comes from Dùn Èideann, the Scottish Gaelic name for Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland.

Fourth Labour Government

When Labour entered government in 1984, Cullen became Senior Whip. Due to his knowledge of economics, Cullen became increasingly involved in the disputes surrounding the Minister of Finance, Roger Douglas, who supported the liberalisation of trade and the sale of state assets plus deep tax cuts. These goals, which were against traditional Labour policies, angered both party members and the public. When the Prime Minister, David Lange, attempted to limit the influence Douglas had on the government's direction, Cullen became involved on Lange's side. After Labour's re-election in 1987, Cullen was made Associate Minister of Finance (an attempt by Lange to provide an anti-reform counterbalance to the radical Douglas) and Minister of Social Welfare.

1984 New Zealand general election

The 1984 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of the 41st New Zealand Parliament. It marked the beginning of the Fourth Labour Government, with David Lange's Labour Party defeating the long-serving Prime Minister, Robert Muldoon, of the National Party. It was also the last election in which the Social Credit Party won seats as an independent entity. The election was also the only one in which the New Zealand Party, a protest party, played any substantial role.

A whip is an official of a political party whose task is to ensure party discipline in a legislature. This usually means ensuring that members of the party vote according to the party platform, rather than according to their own individual ideology or the will of their constituents.

Roger Douglas New Zealand politician

Sir Roger Owen Douglas is a retired New Zealand politician who served as a minister in two Labour governments. He is best known for his prominent role in the radical economic restructuring of the 1980s, when the Fourth Labour Government's economic policy became known as "Rogernomics".

Eventually, Douglas was forced to resign, but a month later the political controversies around the dispute prompted the resignation of Lange himself. Douglas was succeeded as Finance Minister by David Caygill, one of his allies (albeit a considerably less radical one). Cullen was made Associate Minister of Health, in an attempt reduce the effect of reforms on that sector.

David Caygill New Zealand politician

David Francis Caygill is a former New Zealand politician. Caygill was born and raised in Christchurch. He entered politics in 1971 as Christchurch's youngest city councillor at the age of 22. He served as a Member of Parliament (MP) from 1978 to 1996, representing the Labour Party. A support of Rogernomics, he served as Minister of Finance between 1988 and 1990.

Ministry of Health (New Zealand) New Zealand government ministry

The Ministry of Health is the public service department of New Zealand responsible for healthcare in New Zealand.

Opposition

When Labour lost the 1990 election – attributed to public anger at Douglas' reforms, and disarray within the Labour Party – Cullen returned to being Labour's spokesperson on social welfare. The following year, he replaced David Caygill as the party's chief finance spokesperson. When Caygill retired from politics in 1996 Cullen took the deputy leader's post unopposed as well. [5] Before Labour's position in the polls improved, Cullen was also involved in an attempt to oust Helen Clark as party leader, which was not successful. Cullen has claimed to be happy with his position as second, saying that in terms of personality, he is "a number two sort of person". Many commentators agree, believing that Cullen's strength lies more in administration than leadership.[ citation needed ]

1990 New Zealand general election

The 1990 New Zealand general election was held on 27 October to determine the composition of the 43rd New Zealand parliament. The governing Labour Party was defeated, ending its controversial two terms in office. The National Party, led by Jim Bolger, won a landslide victory and formed the new government.

Helen Clark 37th Prime Minister of New Zealand

Helen Elizabeth Clark is a New Zealand politician who served as the 37th Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1999 to 2008, and was the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme from 2009 to 2017. She was New Zealand's fifth-longest-serving prime minister, and the second woman to hold that office.

On 26 August 1999, Cullen was named by the Speaker Doug Kidd for saying that the National Member Max Bradford had lied, and that he was a "stooge" of the Employers Federation. [6]

Fifth Labour Government

Cullen in 2007 Michael Cullen.jpg
Cullen in 2007

Labour's electoral victory in 1999 resulted in Cullen becoming Minister of Finance. After the 2002 election, the electoral support for Labour's junior coalition partner (the Progressive Party) was not sufficient to justify its leader holding the Deputy Prime Minister position, resulting in Michael Cullen replacing Jim Anderton as Deputy Prime Minister.

In 2005 Helen Clark appointed Cullen to the post of Attorney-General following the election of Margaret Wilson as Speaker of the House. His appointment became controversial because of his non-legal background (only one other non-lawyer had previously held the post) and because of his previous criticisms of the judiciary, including of the Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias. [7] [8] His term in the position ended following the 2005 general election. However, with the resignation of David Parker in March 2006, Cullen took over the position again.

He had a reputation as one of the Labour Party's best parliamentary debaters, and is known for his sometimes "acerbic" sense of humour.

Budget 2006

Cullen presented his seventh budget in 2006. Cullen's guiding principle was, he stated, "The fool who spends on the upturn will find himself broke on the downturn". [9]

Budget 2007

Labour's eighth budget in 2007 reduced company tax from 33% to 30% [10] and introduced a 15% research and development tax credit. [10] It also made a number of changes to the KiwiSaver scheme. [11]

Budget 2008

Cullen delivering the 2008 budget press conference ASC 0037.JPG
Cullen delivering the 2008 budget press conference

The New Zealand economy entered recession in December 2007. [12] Cullen's final budget was delivered in this context in May 2008; it reduced income tax on the first $9,500 earned from 15% to 12.5%, [13] and the company tax rate from 30% to 29%. [13]

Resignation

The day after the defeat of Labour in the 2008 general elections and Helen Clark's resignation as party leader, Cullen announced his resignation as deputy leader of the Labour Party. [14] When he resigned from Parliament in 2009 he was replaced as an MP from the party list by Damien O'Connor.

Political views

Cullen identifies as a social democrat. [15]

In 2004 Cullen declared his support for the monarchy of New Zealand, describing himself as "a sort of token monarchist in the Cabinet these days". [16] However, in 2010 he repudiated that stance, taking the view that New Zealand should move towards a republic once the Queen's reign ends. [17]

Cullen voted in favour of the third reading of the Civil Union Bill 2004, which legalised civil unions in New Zealand. [18]

Honours

In the 2012 Queen's Birthday and Diamond Jubilee Honours List, Cullen was appointed Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit. [19]

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References

  1. "Cullen leaves politics for NZ Post role". The New Zealand Herald . 7 April 2009.
  2. J., Cullen, M. (1971). "Social statistics in Britain 1830 - 1852".
  3. "Hon Dr Michael Cullen". New Zealand Parliament. Archived from the original on 1 November 2007. Retrieved 5 December 2007.
  4. "Otago to confer honorary degrees on Michael Cullen, Trevor Scott". University of Otago. 9 December 2009. Retrieved 31 December 2009.
  5. Kirk, Jeremy (12 June 1996). "Clark secure as rebels pledge fealty; Cullen picked as Caygill quits". The Press .
  6. Hansard. 579. New Zealand Parliament. 1999. p. 1077.
  7. "Richard Worth: Cullen appointment degrades office of Attorney-General". The New Zealand Herald . 5 January 2005. ISSN   1170-0777 . Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  8. Noted. "Court marshal - The Listener". Noted. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  9. "Government announces $1.3b boost for transport". The New Zealand Herald . 18 May 2006. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  10. 1 2 "Budget 2007 tax announcements". IRD. 17 May 2007. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  11. "KiwiSaver Savers Fact Sheet Q&A" (PDF). IRD. 17 May 2007. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  12. "How bad is the Current Recession? Labour Market Downturns since the 1960s". Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. Archived from the original on 15 December 2014. Retrieved 15 December 2014.
  13. 1 2 "Budget 2008 - Tax Changes". 22 May 2008. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  14. "Cullen resigns after election defeat". The New Zealand Herald. 9 November 2008. Retrieved 9 November 2008.
  15. Cullen, Michael (10 December 2012). "The Political Economy of Long Term Fiscal planning from a Social Democratic Perspective" (PDF). Affording Our Future Conference. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  16. Daily Hansard: Clerk of the House of Representatives. Clerk of the House of Representatives. 16 December 2004.|access-date= requires |url= (help)
  17. "Cullen: New Zealand should be republic". Herald on Sunday. 29 August 2010. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
  18. "Civil Unions Act". New Zealand Parliamentary Conscience Votes Database. 2004. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  19. "The Queen's Birthday and Diamond Jubilee Honours List 2012". New Zealand Honours Lists. Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Archived from the original on 4 June 2012. Retrieved 30 June 2012.
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Bill Fraser
Member of Parliament for St Kilda
1981–1996
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Dunedin South
1996–1999
Succeeded by
David Benson-Pope
Political offices
Preceded by
Jim Anderton
Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand
2002–2008
Succeeded by
Bill English
Preceded by
Bill Birch
Minister of Finance
1999–2008
Preceded by
Margaret Wilson
Attorney-General
2005
20062008
Succeeded by
David Parker
Preceded by
David Parker
Succeeded by
Chris Finlayson
Party political offices
Preceded by
David Caygill
Deputy Leader of the New Zealand Labour Party
1996–2008
Succeeded by
Annette King
Preceded by
Jonathan Hunt
Senior Whip of the Labour Party
1984–1987
Succeeded by
Margaret Austin
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Helen Clark
Father of the House
2009
Succeeded by
Jim Anderton