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Lee in the 1990s
|2nd Leader of the Alliance|
10 November 1994 –7 May 1995
|Preceded by||Jim Anderton|
|Succeeded by||Jim Anderton|
|Member of the New Zealand Parliament |
for Auckland Central
6 November 1993 –12 October 1996
|Preceded by||Richard Prebble|
|Succeeded by||Judith Tizard|
|Member of the New Zealand Parliament |
for Alliance list
12 October 1996 –27 July 2002
|Born||8 August 1952|
Wellington, New Zealand
|Political party|| Mana Motuhake (1991)|
Sandra Rose Te Hakamatua Lee-Vercoe(born 8 August 1952) is a former New Zealand politician and diplomat. She served as deputy leader (and briefly leader) of the Alliance party and was later High Commissioner to Niue.
Lee was born in Wellington, and grew up in a two bedroom Māori Affairs house with her parents, grandfather and great grandfather.She was educated at Onslow College. Lee later moved to Auckland, settling on Waiheke Island. Her involvement in politics began with the foundation of Mana Motuhake, a Māori issues party, in 1979. Her political career, however, did not begin until 1983, with her election to the Waiheke County Council. She became chairperson of the Council in 1989. When Waiheke was amalgamated into Auckland proper, Lee became a member of the Auckland City Council.
|New Zealand Parliament|
|1993 –1996||44th||Auckland Central||Alliance|
In 1991, Lee became president of Mana Motuhake. Shortly after this, Mana Motuhake agreed to become a founding member of the Alliance, a coalition of minor parties.
In the 1993 election, Lee became the first Māori woman to win a general seat,when she successfully contested the Auckland Central electorate as an Alliance candidate, defeating the incumbent Richard Prebble. Upon the retirement of Mana Motuhake founder Matiu Rata in 1994, Lee became Mana Motuhake's political leader. In November 1994, when Jim Anderton stepped down as leader of the Alliance for personal reasons, Lee took his place but Lee persuaded Anderton returned to the leadership in May 1995. Lee lost her Auckland Central seat to Labour's Judith Tizard at the 1996 election. She lost the position as Mana Motuhake leader in 2001, after a leadership challenge by Willie Jackson but stayed on as the deputy leader of the Alliance until 2002 before announcing her retirement.
When a Labour-Alliance coalition government was formed after the 1999 election, Lee became Minister of Local Government, Minister of Conservation, and Associate Minister of Māori Affairs.She was ranked seventh in Cabinet. During her time as Minister of Conservation Lee was known as an outspoken opponent of commercial whaling. In 2002, the Alliance began to split between a strongly left-wing faction (led by Matt McCarten and Laila Harré) and a more moderate faction (led by Anderton), Lee generally backed Anderton, but eventually decided to retire from politics. In the 2002 election, she did not stand for either the Alliance (now led by McCarten and Harré) or Anderton's new Progressive Coalition.
Lee was High Commissioner to Niue, representing the New Zealand and UK governments, from 12 February 2003 to 3 October 2005.
In September 2006 Lee was appointed to the board of Housing New Zealand. In July 2007 she was appointed to the board of Te Papa Tongarewa.
At age 16 Lee married Mike Lee, giving birth to the oldest of their two daughters at age 17. They separated in 1992.Lee has been married to Anaru Vercoe since 2002.
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|New Zealand Parliament|
| Member of Parliament for Auckland Central |
| Minister of Local Government |
| Minister of Conservation |