Nikki Kaye

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Nikki Kaye

Nikki Kaye NZgovt.jpg
46th Minister of Education
In office
2 May 2017 26 October 2017
Prime Minister Bill English
Preceded by Hekia Parata
Succeeded by Chris Hipkins
Minister for Youth
In office
22 January 2013 26 October 2017
Prime Minister John Key
Bill English
Preceded by Paula Bennett
Succeeded by Peeni Henare
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Auckland Central
Assumed office
8 November 2008
Preceded by Judith Tizard
Majority1,497 (4.38%)
Minister for ACC
In office
6 October 2014 20 December 2016
Prime Minister John Key
Bill English
Preceded by Judith Collins
Succeeded by Michael Woodhouse
22nd Minister of Civil Defence
In office
22 January 2013 20 December 2016
Prime Minister John Key
Bill English
Preceded by Chris Tremain
Succeeded by Gerry Brownlee
Personal details
Born (1980-02-11) 11 February 1980 (age 39)
Auckland, New Zealand
Political party National Party

Nicola Laura "Nikki" Kaye [1] MP (born 11 February 1980) is the member of the New Zealand Parliament for the Auckland Central electorate. In January 2013, she was appointed to the Cabinet by Prime Minister John Key, giving her the portfolios of Food Safety, Civil Defence, and Youth Affairs, and Associate Minister of Education and Immigration. From September 2016 to early 2017 she was on sick leave from the House of Representatives, after a breast cancer diagnosis. [2] She returned to Parliament in early 2017 to resume full duties. [3]

New Zealand Parliament legislative body of New Zealand

The New Zealand Parliament is the legislature of New Zealand, consisting of the Queen of New Zealand (Queen-in-Parliament) and the New Zealand House of Representatives. The Queen is usually represented by a governor-general. Before 1951, there was an upper chamber, the New Zealand Legislative Council. The Parliament was established in 1854 and is one of the oldest continuously functioning legislatures in the world.

Auckland Central (New Zealand electorate)

Auckland Central is a New Zealand electoral division returning one member to the New Zealand House of Representatives. Its current representative is Nikki Kaye, a member of the National Party; she has represented the seat since 2008.

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.


Early life

Kaye was born in Auckland and grew up in Epsom and Kohimarama. [4] Kaye's parents separated when she was seven years old. Her family includes a brother and sister, "two half-brothers, four half-sisters, one stepbrother and two step-parents".

Epsom, New Zealand suburb of Auckland, New Zealand

Epsom is an exclusive, affluent suburb of Auckland, New Zealand. It is located in the centre of the Auckland isthmus between Mount Eden and One Tree Hill, south of Newmarket, and five km south of Auckland CBD.


Kohimarama is a coastal residential Auckland suburb, located to the east of the city, with many homes having some of the best views across the Auckland Harbour. Kohimarama is situated between Mission Bay and St Heliers and has an accessible beach with a boardwalk and green recreational spaces located amongst residential areas. According to the 2013 census, Kohimarama has a population of 7092. Local government of Kohimarama is the responsibility of the Orākei Local Board, which also includes the suburbs of Orakei, Mission Bay, St Heliers, Glendowie, St Johns, Meadowbank, Remuera and Ellerslie.

She was educated at Corran School, where she was Head Prefect, before earning a science degree in genetics from the University of Otago, where she also began her Bachelor of Laws, later completing it in Wellington. [4] [5]

Corran School was a small independent girls' school catering for students from ages 5 to 18 located in Remuera, Auckland, New Zealand. This school was established in 1947 by Mrs Constance Duthie. It closed at the end of 2009, and Saint Kentigern School for Girls - Corran was established at the site of the former school.

Head boy and head girl are roles of prominent representative student responsibility. The terms are commonly used in the British education system and in private schools throughout the Commonwealth organisations.

A Bachelor of Science is an undergraduate academic degree awarded for completed courses that generally last three to five years, or a person holding such a degree.

Kaye is an accomplished competitive athlete, having been the Auckland Women's 3,000 m running champion in 1997, and has raced in numerous marathons and multi-sport events. In 2008 Kaye competed in the Coast to Coast multi-sport event. In February 2013, Kaye completed the Coast to Coast race a second time, becoming the first New Zealand Cabinet Minister to do so.[ citation needed ]

Coast to Coast (race)

The Coast to Coast is a non-standard multisport competition held annually in New Zealand. It is run from the west coast to the east coast of the South Island, and features running, cycling and kayaking elements over a total of 243 kilometres (151 mi). It starts in Kumara Beach and traditionally finished in the Christchurch suburb of Sumner, but since 2015 finishes in New Brighton. The event was created in 1983 by Christchurch personality Robin Judkins, who sold the rights to Queenstown-based tourism company Trojan Holdings in 2013. Richard Ussher took over from Judkins as race director in 2015.

In 1997, Kaye participated in a television documentary called Fish out of Water, in which she and five other teenagers were marooned on Rakitu Island (off Great Barrier Island) and fended for themselves for eight days. [4] The documentary footage was located in March 2014 and was published on New Zealand on Air's on-line archive NZ On Screen as part of its "before they were famous" series. [6]

Great Barrier Island largest island near New Zealands North Island

Great Barrier Island lies in the outer Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand, 100 kilometres (62 mi) north-east of central Auckland. With an area of 285 square kilometres (110 sq mi) it is the sixth-largest island of New Zealand and fourth-largest in the main chain. Its highest point, Mount Hobson, is 627 metres (2,057 ft) above sea level. The local authority is the Auckland Council.

NZ On Screen is a state-funded online promotional showcase of New Zealand television and film. Funded by NZ On Air, it provides free worldwide access to NZ-produced television, film and music videos. Content is streamed and the webpages provide authoritative background information.

Kaye joined the National Party in 1998, becoming women's vice-chair of the southern region of the New Zealand Young Nationals. She is a former International Vice-Chairman of the International Young Democrat Union. [7]

New Zealand Young Nationals

The New Zealand Young Nationals, more commonly called the Young Nats, is the youth wing of the New Zealand National Party, a centre-right political party in New Zealand, and a member of the International Young Democrat Union.

International Young Democrat Union organization

The International Young Democrat Union (IYDU) is a global alliance of centre-right political youth organisations and the youth wing of the International Democrat Union (IDU).

Kaye began working for Bill English in the office of the Leader of the Opposition in 2002 as a policy researcher. In 2003 she travelled to the United Kingdom, where she worked as a policy officer and project manager at the London boroughs of Enfield and Bromley, and then at Transport for London, where she managed a disabled people transport program, before working as an IT project manager at the Halifax Bank of Scotland. [4]

In 2006, Kaye co-founded a website,, and acts as Director of Communications for that company.[ citation needed ]

Member of Parliament

New Zealand Parliament
2008 2011 49th Auckland Central 57 National
2011 2014 50th Auckland Central33 National
2014 2017 51st Auckland Central19 National
2017 present 52nd Auckland Central13 National

Kaye returned to New Zealand in late 2007 to contest the National Party candidacy for the Auckland Central electorate. Standing against three other nominees, Kaye was considered an outsider to win a close selection battle against sitting National MP Jackie Blue for the nomination.[ citation needed ]

Kaye worked full-time as the National Party candidate from the time of her selection. Kaye campaigned on improving public transport infrastructure, improving marine protection on Great Barrier Island, and taking a greater interest in small businesses in Auckland. During her campaign she knocked on 10,000 doors. [8]

At the general election on 8 November 2008, Kaye was elected as National's MP for Auckland Central, defeating incumbent Labour MP Judith Tizard. This was greeted as one of the most significant upsets of the 2008 general election, breaking a 90-year hold by left-wing parties over the seat, and becoming the first ever National MP for the electorate.[ citation needed ]

First term

As an MP, Kaye has, amongst other things, supported applications for the New Zealand Cycle Trail fund for routes in urban Auckland, on Waiheke Island and Great Barrier Island (the latter two islands being in her electorate as well). [9] In early 2010, she broke with the National Party's policy of encouraging mining in conservation land, including on Great Barrier – claiming long connections to the island, and fitting in with her known support for environmental causes. She had noted during her maiden speech in parliament that "Our environment is the greatest gift we have been given as a nation", and that economical considerations, especially of the short term, should not trump this. [5] Kaye is a supporter of reinstating trams for Auckland, and has called for a feasibility study into extending the new Wynyard Loop. [10]

She holds up former National MP Katherine Rich as one of her role models. [4] Kaye's own policies, placing her in the socially liberal wing of the National Party, [5] have been criticised by some people in her own party, where some have called her a "high maintenance backbencher". Others have called her "obsessive", or, in a more positive vein, "driven". [5] However, commentators have argued that her stance is unlikely to hurt her in her marginal electorate, which has traditionally voted Labour. [5]

Kaye was elected the deputy chair of the Government Administration Select Committee in February 2011. In her first parliamentary term, she also sat on the Local Government and Environment Select Committee and the Auckland Governance Legislation Select Committee. Through her time in Parliament on these committees she has been heavily involved in the review of the Resource Management (Simplifying and Streamlining) Amendment Bill and legislation creating the Auckland Council. [11]

In May 2011, Kaye appeared in an episode of the TVNZ series Make the Politician Work. The episode featured Kaye working a shift on a rubbish collection route and highlighted her campaign for waste minimisation in Auckland. [12]

At the 2011 election, Kaye stood again in Auckland Central in a high-profile race to retain the seat. She was challenged for the seat by Labour list MP Jacinda Ardern and Green candidate Denise Roche, and was placed at position 33 on the National Party list. She defeated Ardern, although her majority was halved to 717, her share of the vote increased to 45.39%, due to significant strategic voting by Green Party voters supporting Ardern for the electorate vote. [13]

Second term

Following the 2011 election, Kaye was elected Chair of Parliament's Education and Science Select Committee. During this time, despite a minority of Government members on the Committee, she managed to progress a significant number of inquiries and pieces of legislation through the House process. [14] At the end of 2012 the Education and Science Select Committee completed an inquiry into 21st Century Learning Environments and Digital Literacy, which Kaye championed. [15]

Kaye was instrumental in bringing a gay pride event back to Auckland, [16] where there is a significant LGBT community in her electorate. In 2012 she worked with Green MP Kevin Hague on a private member's bill to reform adoption and surrogacy laws, which was introduced to Parliament that year. [17] In August 2012, Kaye successfully led the campaign within the National Party to retain the alcohol purchase age at 18, despite significant support from parliamentary colleagues to raise the purchase age. [18]

On 29 August 2012 Kaye delivered a speech at Parliament in favour of Louisa Wall's Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Act 2013, which she voted for through all stages. This was met with positive reception from members of the LGBT community.[ citation needed ]

Third term and promotion to Cabinet Minister

On 22 January 2013 Kaye was appointed by Prime Minister John Key to the Cabinet of New Zealand [19] and was appointed as Minister for Food Safety, Minister of Civil Defence and Minister of Youth Affairs; along with being made the Associate Minister of Education and Associate Minister of Immigration. [20] [21]

After the 2014 general election, Kaye was appointed Minister for ACC, [22] while retaining her other portfolios, except Food Safety and Associate Immigration. [23] In 2016 she took leave from Parliament and her ministerial duties while being treated for breast cancer. [24] She returned to Parliament in early 2017 to resume full duties. [3]

New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Judith Tizard
Member of Parliament for Auckland Central
Political offices
Preceded by
Hekia Parata
Minister of Education
Succeeded by
Chris Hipkins
Preceded by
Judith Collins
Minister for ACC
Succeeded by
Michael Woodhouse
Preceded by
Chris Tremain
Minister of Civil Defence
Succeeded by
Gerry Brownlee
Preceded by
Paula Bennett
Minister for Youth
Succeeded by
Peeni Henare

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  3. 1 2 "National MP Nikki Kaye returning to full duties after breast cancer treatment". Retrieved 8 December 2016.
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  13. "Official Count Results – Auckland Central – 2011 General Election". Electoral Commission (New Zealand). 10 December 2011. Retrieved 28 November 2011.
  14. Vance, Andrea (26 January 2013). "Kaye brings energy, humanity and commitment to Cabinet". Dominion Post. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
  15. "Welcome to the world of a teacher-less classroom". 10 February 2013.
  16. Andrew, Dickison (10 February 2013). "NewztalkZB Speaks to National MP Nikki Kaye" . Retrieved 12 February 2013.
  17. Audrey, Young (28 May 2012). "Political rials unite on gay adoption laws". NZ Herald. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
  18. "Q+A Debate Nikki Kaye debates with Tim McIndoe". 26 August 2012. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
  19. "Members of Executive Council Appointed" (7 February 2013) 13 New Zealand Gazette 209 at 438.
  20. "Appointment of Ministers" (7 February 2013) 13 New Zealand Gazette 209 at 238.
  21. "Ministerial List for Announcement on 22 January 2013" (PDF). Beehive. 22 January 2013.
  22. "Appointment of Ministers" (16 October 2014) 127 New Zealand Gazette 3475 at 3552.
  23. "Resignation of Ministers" (16 October 2014) 127 New Zealand Gazette 3475 at 3551.
  24. "Breast cancer diagnosis 'devastating news for me and my family' – Govt Minister Nikki Kaye | ONE News Now". TVNZ. 14 February 2016. Retrieved 11 September 2016.