Simon O'Connor

Last updated

Simon O'Connor

Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Tamaki
Assumed office
30 November 2011
Preceded by Allan Peachey
Personal details
Born (1976-02-25) 25 February 1976 (age 42)
NationalityNew Zealander
Political party National Party
Rachel Trimble(m. 2016)
Relations Simon Bridges (brother-in-law)
CommitteesForeign Affairs, Defence, and Trade
PortfolioSpokesperson for customs. Associate spokesperson for housing (social). Associate spokesperson for social development.

Simon David O'Connor MP (born 25 February 1976) is a New Zealand politician and a member of the New Zealand House of Representatives. He is a member of the National Party and is spokesperson for customs, and associate spokesperson for housing (social) and social development. He is also Chair of the Foreign Affairs, Defence, and Trade committee.

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

O'Connor was raised in Whangarei, the eldest of three children, where he attended St Mary's Primary School and Pompallier College.

He was a keen fencer and was president of the Auckland University Fencing Club.

Fencing sport

Fencing is a group of three related combat sports. The three disciplines in modern fencing are the foil, the épée, and the sabre; winning points are made through the contact with an opponent. A fourth discipline, singlestick, appeared in the 1904 Olympics but was dropped after that, and is not a part of modern fencing. Fencing was one of the first sports to be played in the Olympics. Based on the traditional skills of swordsmanship, the modern sport arose at the end of the 19th century, with the Italian school having modified the historical European martial art of classical fencing, and the French school later refining the Italian system. There are three forms of modern fencing, each of which uses a different kind of weapon and has different rules; thus the sport itself is divided into three competitive scenes: foil, épée, and sabre. Most competitive fencers choose to specialize in one weapon only.

He completed training to be a Catholic priest, which involved working on the island of Taveuni in Fiji for two years at a vocational training centre, prison chaplaincy at Mount Eden Prison, military chaplaincy at Waiouru Army Base, and spending time with people in hospitals and hospices. He didn't seek ordination, deciding instead to study and pursue a career in politics. [1]

Taveuni island in Fiji

Taveuni is the third-largest island in Fiji, after Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, with a total land area of 434 square kilometres. The cigar-shaped island, a massive shield volcano which rises from the floor of the Pacific Ocean, is situated 6.5 kilometres to the east of Vanua Levu, across the Somosomo Strait. It belongs to the Vanua Levu Group of islands and is part of Fiji's Cakaudrove Province within the Northern Division.

He has completed four degrees including a Bachelor of Geography and Political Studies, an Honours in Political Studies looking at the works of Rene Girard, a Bachelor of Theology, and a Master of Arts in Political Studies. He has also worked as a contracts manager for Southern Cross Insurance. [2]

He was the chairperson of Monarchy New Zealand between 2010 and 2012 and remains a board member.

Monarchy New Zealand

Monarchy New Zealand is a national, non-partisan, not-for-profit organisation whose purpose is to promote, support and defend the constitutional monarchy of New Zealand. In addition to the general public, the organisation's membership includes a number of academics as well as numerous lawyers and political figures. It is currently chaired by Sean Palmer.

Political career

New Zealand Parliament
2011 2014 50th Tāmaki 62 National
2014 2017 51st Tāmaki43 National
2017 present 52nd Tāmaki38 National

O'Connor has been involved in the National Party since 2005, and was Deputy Chair of the Northern Region of the National Party prior to seeking the National Party nomination for Maungakiekie in 2008. He lost the selection contest to Sam Lotu-Iiga, who went on to win the seat. However, O'Connor was appointed as a list candidate for National in the 2008 general election and was selected as National's candidate in the Tāmaki electorate following the withdrawal of sitting MP Allan Peachey shortly before the 2011 elections. [3]

Sam Lotu-Iiga New Zealand politician

Peseta Samuelu Masunu "Sam" Lotu-Iiga is a former member of the New Zealand Parliament for the Maungakiekie electorate, having been elected in the 2008 election. Lotu-Iiga was one of two National Party Pacific Island MPs. Lotu-Iiga holds the Samoan high chiefly title of Peseta.

Tāmaki (New Zealand electorate)

Tāmaki is a parliamentary electorate, returning one Member of Parliament to the New Zealand House of Representatives. The electorate is named after the Tamaki River that runs immediately east of the seat. The electorate is represented by Simon O'Connor, who became the National Party candidate after Allan Peachey withdrew from the 2011 election for health reasons; Peachey died before the election.

Allan Peachey was a New Zealand politician and Member of Parliament for Tamaki.

From October 2014 to August 2017 he was Chair of the Health Select Committee where he chaired the then-largest enquiry in New Zealand Parliament's history, into euthenasia. He has also served as Deputy Chairperson of the Finance and Expenditure Committee and spokesperson for corrections.

In terms of conscience votes, in 2012 O'Connor opposed raising the drinking age from 18, and in 2013 opposed the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill, a bill allowing same-sex couples to marry in New Zealand. [4] In 2015 he opposed a bill which would ban street prostitution, [5] in 2016 supported a bill to allow Easter Sunday trading, [5] and in 2017 opposed the End of Life Choice Bill. [5]

In August 2015, O'Connor uploaded a Facebook video in which he looked at the 40 alternative flag designs shortlisted by the Flag Consideration Panel and responded with "no" to each flag until he turned to the current flag and said "yes". [6]

On 10 September 2017, two weeks before the general election and on World Suicide Prevention Day, O'Connor posted on facebook that it was "strange" how Labour leader Jacinda Ardern was "concerned about youth suicide" but was "happy to encourage the suicide of the elderly, disabled, and sick" by way of her support of the End of Life Choice Bill. [7] The post was condemned by some politicians and social media. [8]

In February 2018, as part of his responsibilities as Foreign Affairs, Defence, and Trade Committee Chair, he travelled to Iraq and Afghanistan to visit New Zealand troops.

Personal life

On 10 December 2016, he married Rachel Trimble, the sister of fellow National MP Simon Bridges [9] [10] and has five step children.


  1. Nats choose stalwart for Tamaki stronghold New Zealand Herald, 27 October 2011
  2. Meet Auckland's new MPs The Aucklander, 1 December 2011
  3. "National Selects Simon O'Connor as Tamaki Candidate". scoop. 27 October 2011. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  4. "Gay marriage: How MPs voted". The New Zealand Herald . 18 April 2013. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
  5. 1 2 3 First, Family. "Value Your Vote - 2017 General Election" (PDF). Retrieved 26 May 2018.
  6. "National MP rejects flag change". . 14 August 2015. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
  8. "Jacinda Ardern wants old, disabled to commit suicide, National MP claims". 10 September 2017. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  9. Moir, Jo (10 December 2016). "Paula Bennett has won the battle for deputy Prime Minister and will team up with Bill English". Retrieved 10 December 2016.
  10. Jones, Nicholas (12 February 2016). "National MP Simon O'Connor to marry Minister Simon Bridges' sister". Bay of Plenty Times. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Allan Peachey
Member of Parliament for Tāmaki