Chris Carter (politician)

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The Honourable
Chris Carter
MP
Chris Carter.jpg
Minister of Conservation
In office
15 August 2002 – 5 November 2007
Prime Minister Helen Clark
Preceded by Sandra Lee
Succeeded by Stephanie Chadwick
Minister of Ethnic Affairs
In office
15 August 2002 – 19 November 2008
Prime Minister Helen Clark
Preceded by George Warren Hawkins
Succeeded by Pansy Wong
Minister of Local Government
In office
15 August 2002 – 19 October 2005
Prime Minister Helen Clark
Succeeded by Nanaia Mahuta
Minister of Housing
In office
19 October 2005 – 5 November 2007
Prime Minister Helen Clark
Succeeded by Maryan Street
Minister for Building Issues
In office
21 December 2004 – 19 October 2005
Prime Minister Helen Clark
43rd Minister of Education
In office
5 November 2007 – 19 October 2008
Prime Minister Helen Clark
Preceded by Steve Maharey
Succeeded by Anne Tolley
Minister Responsible for the Education Review Office
In office
5 November 2007 – 19 October 2008
Prime Minister Helen Clark
Succeeded by Anne Tolley
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Te Atatu
In office
27 November 1999 – 26 November 2011
In office
6 November 1993 – 12 October 1996
Preceded by Brian Neeson
Succeeded by Phil Twyford
Personal details
Born (1952-05-04) 4 May 1952 (age 62)
Auckland,
New Zealand
Nationality  New Zealand
Political party Independent
Domestic partner Peter Kaiser[1]
Occupation Former secondary school teacher
Cabinet N/A
Committees N/A

Christopher Joseph Carter[2] (born 4 May 1952) was an independent Member of Parliament in New Zealand, and a former member of the New Zealand Labour Party until his expulsion. Carter was a senior Cabinet Minister in the Fifth Labour Government of New Zealand, serving lastly as Minister of Education, Minister Responsible for the Education Review Office and Minister of Ethnic Affairs.[3] He was the Member of Parliament for the Te Atatu electorate, where he was first elected in 1993. He did not win re-election (to Waipareira) in 1996, but won a new and expanded Te Atatu seat in 1999. In 2010 he was suspended from the Labour Party caucus following a dispute with party leader Phil Goff, shortly afterwards he became an independent MP.[4][5] He was expelled by the Labour Party for breaching the Party's constitution in bringing the Party in disrepute, on 11 October 2010.[6] In September 2011 Carter resigned from Parliament following his appointment to a United Nations position in Afghanistan.

Early and personal life[edit]

Chris Carter was born on 4 May 1952, and brought up in the Auckland suburb of Panmure. He was educated at St Peter's College, Auckland and at the University of Auckland where he received an MA(Hons) in history.

Before entering politics, Carter had served as a teacher and as a poultry farmer. His partner is Peter Kaiser, a headmaster, and they have been together for over 30 years. On February 10, 2007, Carter and Kaiser were joined[7] in the first civil union for a Cabinet Minister or Member of Parliament since civil unions in New Zealand were introduced after legislation was passed in December 2004.

Member of Parliament[edit]

Parliament of New Zealand
Years Term Electorate List Party
1993–1996 44th Te Atatu Labour
1999–2002 46th Te Atatu 34 Labour
2002–2005 47th Te Atatu 25 Labour
2005–2008 48th Te Atatu 19 Labour
2008–2010 49th Te Atatū 7 Labour
2010–2011 Changed allegiance to: Independent

Carter was the first openly gay man ever appointed as a New Zealand Cabinet minister. He has been a strong advocate of gay equality for some time, and has continued this role since entering Parliament. He also started one of the first branches of New Zealand Rainbow Labour for centre-left lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgendered people (LGBT) and others during the 1996–1999 term, after having lost the newly created Waipareira electorate to National's Brian Neeson by just 107 votes,[8] and not having been placed on the Labour list for the election.[9]

At the 2005 election, Carter was re-elected to his seat with 59.4% of the vote, a majority of 10,447.

Labour lost power in the 2008 election. Carter was re-elected, but his majority was almost halved to 5,298.[10]

On 14 June 2010, 4 days after the release of ministerial credit card records, Carter along with two other MPs Shane Jones MP and Mita Ririnui MP (Lab - Lists) were demoted by Opposition Leader Phil Goff MP (Mount Roskill) for misuse of such credit cards. In the case of Carter, he was accused of purchasing personal items with the card, which was outside the rules for Ministerial expenditure as a minister under the former Clark government over a six-year period. Carter has since repaid the money in full. Carter's demotion included removal from the front bench, and loss of the shadow portfolio of Foreign Affairs. Carter subsequently speculated publicly about whether he would continue as a Member of Parliament.

As a cabinet minister, Carter was entitled to the title of The Honourable and became The Hon. Mr Chris Carter,[11] which is a title granted for the rest of his life.[12]

Removal from caucus[edit]

On 29 July 2010 Carter was suspended from the Labour Party caucus for allegedly being behind an anonymous letter sent around the Press Gallery claiming there was a leadership challenge against Phil Goff; a charge he has since admitted.[4] On 17 August 2010, Speaker Lockwood Smith announced that Chris Carter was officially an independent MP.[5]

Post-parliamentary career[edit]

In early September 2011 Carter was appointed as director of the Governance Unit of the United Nations mission in Kabul, Afghanistan, with responsibility in assisting the Afghan government in fighting corruption.[13] His parliamentary seat remained vacant until the 26 November 2011 election as there is no requirement to hold a by-election when there is less than six months to a general election.

On 18 October 2013, Carter was waiting for a colleague to leave his compound in Kabul when a suicide bomber attacked a passing military convoy on the street some 25 metres (82 ft) away; he was separated from the blast by a glass wall. If his Australian colleague had not been late, they could have been the victims of the attack themselves. Carter considered it a "close shave".[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Meng-Yee, Carolyne (13 June 2010). "Big-spending MP may quit". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 13 June 2010. 
  2. ^ "New Zealand Hansard - Members Sworn Volume:651;Page:2". Parliament of New Zealand. 
  3. ^ "Ministerial List for Announcement on 31 October 2007" (DOC) (Press release). New Zealand Government. 2007-10-31. 
  4. ^ a b "Ousted MP's letter "stupid and disloyal"". Television New Zealand. 29 July 2010. Retrieved 23 September 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "Speaker: Chris Carter now an independent". The New Zealand Herald. 17 August 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-18. 
  6. ^ "Carter tells Labour council: I'll dish dirt on senior MPs". The New Zealand Herald. 12 October 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-25. 
  7. ^ McNaughton, Maggie; Perry, Keith (10 February 2007). "Minister to marry in gay union". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 5 February 2010. 
  8. ^ "Electorate Candidate and Party Votes Recorded at Each Polling Place - Waipareira" (PDF). Retrieved 6 July 2013. 
  9. ^ "Part III - Party Lists of Successful Registered Parties" (PDF). Electoral Commission. Retrieved 14 June 2013. 
  10. ^ Te Atatu results 2008.
  11. ^ "Members of Executive Council Appointed". The New Zealand Gazette: 2948. 20 August 2002. Retrieved 22 July 2012. 
  12. ^ "Retention of the Title "The Honourable"". The New Zealand Gazette: 5156. 18 December 2008. Retrieved 22 July 2012. 
  13. ^ "MP Carter leaves Te Atatu for UN job in Afghanistan". The New Zealand Herald. 1 September 2011. Retrieved 3 September 2011. 
  14. ^ Forbes, Michael (21 October 2013). "Taliban bomb explodes close to ex-NZ MP". The Dominion Post. Retrieved 26 October 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Brian Neeson
Member of Parliament for Te Atatu
1993–1996
1999–2011
Vacant
Seat abolished (recreated in 1999)
Vacant
Seat recreated (abolished in 1996)
Succeeded by
Phil Twyford
Political offices
Preceded by
Steve Maharey
Minister of Education
2007–2008
Succeeded by
Anne Tolley