David Cunliffe

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For other people named David Cunliffe, see David Cunliffe (disambiguation).
The Honourable
David Cunliffe
David Cunliffe cropped.jpg
34th Leader of the Opposition
Incumbent
Assumed office
15 September 2013
Prime Minister John Key
Preceded by David Shearer
14th Leader of the Labour Party
Incumbent
Assumed office
15 September 2013
Preceded by David Shearer
37th Minister of Health
In office
31 October 2007 – 19 November 2008
Prime Minister Helen Clark
Preceded by Pete Hodgson
Succeeded by Tony Ryall
Minister of Communications and Information Technology
In office
15 August 2002 – 19 November 2008
Prime Minister Helen Clark
Preceded by Paul Swain
Succeeded by Steven Joyce
Member of Parliament
for Titirangi
In office
27 November 1999 – 27 July 2002
Preceded by Constituency reestablished
Succeeded by Constituency abolished
Member of Parliament
for New Lynn
Incumbent
Assumed office
27 July 2002
Preceded by Constituency established
Personal details
Born (1963-04-30) 30 April 1963 (age 51)
Te Aroha, New Zealand
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Karen Price
Children 2
Alma mater University of Otago
Massey University
Harvard Unviersity
Religion Anglicanism

David Richard Cunliffe HFIITP (born 30 April 1963) is a New Zealand politician and leader of the New Zealand Labour Party. He is the sitting member of parliament for New Lynn, West Auckland. He served as the Minister of Health and Minister for Communications and Information Technology for the Fifth Labour Government of New Zealand from October 2007 until November 2008.

After the 2008 general election defeat of the Labour Party, and the resignation of Helen Clark as the party leader, Cunliffe was appointed the party's finance spokesman and number 3 on the front bench.[1] After Labour lost the 2011 general election and Phil Goff stood down as party leader, Cunliffe ran for the leadership, but lost to David Shearer.

On 26 August 2013, Cunliffe announced a second leadership bid after David Shearer's departure from the leadership, running in the New Zealand Labour Party leadership election, 2013, and was elected leader on 15 September 2013.

Early life[edit]

Cunliffe was born in Te Aroha on 30 April 1963.[2] His family moved to Te Kuiti, then to Pleasant Point, where his father, Bill, an Anglican minister, became active in the Labour Party.[3] As a teenager he won a scholarship to study the International Baccalaureate at the United World College of the Atlantic in Wales. David Cunliffe studied politics at the University of Otago, where he was a member of the Otago University Debating Society, and gained a BA with first-class honours. He worked as a diplomat from 1987 to 1994 and gained a Diploma in Social Sciences (Distinction) in economics from Massey University in 1993. He was a Fulbright Scholar and Kennedy Memorial Fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, including some courses at Harvard Business School in 1994 and 1995, earning a Master of Public Administration. He worked as a business consultant with Boston Consulting Group in Auckland from 1995 to 1999.[4]

Cunliffe is married to prominent Auckland lawyer Karen Price. They have two sons, and reside in the Auckland suburb of Herne Bay.[3]

Member of Parliament[edit]

Parliament of New Zealand
Years Term Electorate List Party
1999–2002 46th Titirangi 53 Labour
2002–2005 47th New Lynn 37 Labour
2005–2008 48th New Lynn 31 Labour
2008–2011 49th New Lynn 8 Labour
2011–present 50th New Lynn 3 Labour

He was first elected to Parliament in the 1999 elections, standing as the Labour candidate for the Titirangi seat. Since the 2002 election he has represented the seat of New Lynn. At the 2005 elections, Cunliffe was returned with 18,087 votes (8,000 more than his nearest opponent) or 55% of the electorate vote.[5] He retained his seat in the 2008 general election, but his majority was cut to 4,025.[6]

Cabinet minister[edit]

Cunliffe was a member of the Cabinet of New Zealand as the Minister of Health, and Minister for Communications and Information Technology in the Fifth Labour Government until Labour lost the election in 2008.

David Cunliffe closing the 2005 Auckland BioBlitz

In the 2002–2005 Parliament he held the ICT portfolios and was Associate Minister of Finance and Revenue, after previously serving as Parliamentary Private Secretary for Finance and Commerce.

During his first term (1999–2002) he served as Chair of the Commerce Select Committee, and sat on the Finance and Expenditure and Regulations Review select committees.

In 2006, in his previous role as Immigration Minister, he announced a major review of the Immigration Act 1987.[7] As Minister for Communications and Information Technology he announced local loop unbundling in the telecommunications sector.[8]

In May 2006 Cunliffe was referred to the Securities Commission by the NZX for prematurely exposing information on Telecom's future dividend plans,[9] causing Telecom's stock price to drop.

On 30 June 2008 Cunliffe was conferred the title of Honorary Fellow of the NZCS (HFNZCS) by the New Zealand Computer Society, the professional body of the ICT profession in recognition of his significant contribution to the ICT sector.[10][11]

District Health Board controversy[edit]

In February 2008, as the Minister of Health, Cunliffe dismissed the Hawke's Bay District Health Board over political, monetary and conflict of interest troubles.[12] Napier Mayor Barbara Arnott and a number of members of the district voiced opposition to Cunliffe's move as many of the board members were democratically elected.[13] Following the release of a Health Ministry-commissioned independent report into the matter, Cunliffe referred to the board as "nasty little nest of self-perpetuating provincial elites".[14]

In Opposition[edit]

After the 2008 general election defeat of the Labour Party, Cunliffe was made Labour's spokesman for Finance, shadowing National's Finance Minister, Bill English. Cunliffe had been touted as a future leader of the party, and party insiders had suggested he seriously considered challenging Phil Goff as leader in the aftermath of the 2008 election. Speculation of a leadership challenge again arose during the June 2010 expenses scandal and again after the "Cartergate" affair.

After Labour lost the 2011 general election and Goff stood down, Cunliffe ran for the party leadership with Nanaia Mahuta on a ticket for deputy leader. Grant Robertson and David Parker also entered the race, but subsequently backed David Shearer, who won the high-profile race. Robertson became Deputy Leader, while Parker took Cunliffe's finance spokesmanship. Shearer retained Cunliffe in a senior role on the front bench, with the Economic Development and Associate Finance roles.[15]

In November 2012 during a Labour Party conference, there was much media speculation Cunliffe would launch a challenge against David Shearer for leadership of the party.[16] On the morning of 19 November, Cunliffe confirmed he was not challenging Shearer, and would indeed back him if a vote was taken.[17] Labour Chief Whip Chris Hipkins publicly refuted that Cunliffe had not been making a bid for the leadership over the conference weekend, and stated that fellow caucus members were frustrated with Cunliffe's behaviour.[18]

On 20 November 2012, Shearer sacked Cunliffe as economic development spokesman, and demoted him to the back bench, citing Cunliffe's inability to express his support for Shearer's leadership at the Labour Party Conference. Cunliffe denied that he had been disloyal. Cunliffe was left with no spokesmanships.[19] In February 2013 Shearer reshuffled his caucus lineup. Cunliffe was given the Revenue portfolio, but was not promoted back into the shadow cabinet.[20]

On 22 August 2013, Shearer announced his resignation as leader of the Labour Party, fuelling speculation that Cunliffe would make another bid for the leadership. Cunliffe did not confirm his candidacy immediately, saying to the press in Parliament that same day: "I am going to be taking the next few days to consult with my family, with colleagues and with party supporters and I won't be making a decision until after I have done that."[21] Victoria University of Wellington's iPredict online predictions market showed the probability of Cunliffe becoming the next leader of the Labour Party at 66%, compared to under 26% support for Shearer's deputy Grant Robertson, social development spokesperson Jacinda Ardern was at 5%, and list MP and former union leader Andrew Little was on 2%.[22]

Cunliffe formally entered the 2013 New Zealand Labour Party leadership election during a press conference in his New Lynn electorate office, saying he had consulted colleagues, supporters, and family and had been "humbled by the response."[23] He also said they had expressed confidence in his ability to "bring together a party and a government that provides a strong, clear voice for fairness, inclusion, and prosperity to be shared by all."[24] His announcement came in the wake of a ONE News Colmar Brunton poll released by the current affair program Q+A which showed Cunliffe winning the support of 29% of the eligible voters asked, and 32% of those polled who support Labour. Challengers Shane Jones and Grant Robertson are on 11% and 10%, respectively.[25] After the first public Labour Party leadership selection process in New Zealand history, Cunliffe was elected leader on 15 September 2013.[26] He won with the support of 32% of the Labour Party caucus, 60% of Labour Party members, and 70% of affiliated unions.[27]

Cunliffe breached electoral law by sending a tweet urging voters to vote for the Labour candidate in the 2013 Christchurch East byelection.[28]

Political views[edit]

Cunliffe is generally liberal when it comes to conscience issues. He voted in favour of the decriminalisation of prostitution, the establishment of civil unions, and the criminalisation of parental corporal punishment. He voted against defining marriage as between one man and one woman, and voted in favour of legalising same-sex marriage. In 2006, he voted in favour of raising the legal drinking age from 18 to 20, but voted against it in 2012.[29]

Cunliffe is a supporter of a New Zealand republic. During the Address-In-Reply debate on 4 September 2002, Cunliffe said: "A New Zealand where we journey together towards maturity as a nation, and to the Commonwealth republic I personally believe we will become before the Treaty turns 200".[30]

Religious views[edit]

Cunliffe is the son of an Anglican minister, and was raised in the Church of England. He has described himself as a "liberal Anglican," and an "infrequent attender of church, but it's a big part of my life."[31] He attends St Matthew's Anglican Church in Auckland, and is a supporter of the Auckland City Mission.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Audrey Young (12 November 2008). "Goff plans radical shake-up at the top". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 12 November 2008. 
  2. ^ Taylor, Phil (5 July 2014). "Unauthorised biography of David Cunliffe: The man who would be PM". The New Zealand Herald. Archived from the original on 5 July 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Taylor, Phil (24 November 2012). "The other David". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 24 November 2012. 
  4. ^ "Hon David Cunliffe". New Zealand Parliament. Retrieved 18 November 2012. 
  5. ^ Elections NZ: Official Count Results – New Lynn
  6. ^ New Lynn results 2008.
  7. ^ "Immigration Act to drop 'Zaoui' law". NZPA. 8 August 2007. Retrieved 22 March 2008. 
  8. ^ "Cunliffe: Vision 2011 – Roadmap to the Top" (Press release). New Zealand Government. 28 June 2006. Retrieved 22 March 2008. 
  9. ^ Dickens, David (17 May 2006). "NZX reports Cunliffe to Securities Commission". techday. Retrieved 6 September 2011. 
  10. ^ "Cunliffe to be honorary NZCS Fellow". Computerworld.
  11. ^ NZCS Honorary Fellowship Conferment Notice
  12. ^ Martin Kay (27 February 2008). "Health Minister fires Hawke's Bay DHB". The Dominion Post. Retrieved 22 March 2008. 
  13. ^ "Locals back sacked Health Board". TVNZ. 29 February 2008. 
  14. ^ David Cunliffe (18 March 2008). Hawke’s Bay District Health Board—Conflicts of Interest Report (Speech). Debating Chamber of the New Zealand House of Representatives.  Speech video on nzherald.co.nz
  15. ^ "David Cunliffe". New Zealand Labour Party. 
  16. ^ "Labour's Shearer still under pressure". 3 News NZ. 18 November 2012. 
  17. ^ "Cunliffe: I'm backing Shearer". 3 News NZ. 19 November 2012. 
  18. ^ Garner, Duncan (19 November 2012). "D-Day Looms for David Cunliffe". TV3. Retrieved 25 March 2013. 
  19. ^ Clare, Trevett (21 November 2012). "Cunliffe denies disloyalty". NZ Herald. Retrieved 12 February 2013. 
  20. ^ Satherley, Dan (26 February 2013). "Shearer's reshuffle "clever"". TV3. Retrieved 25 March 2013. 
  21. ^ Stuff.co.nz "David Shearer quits as Labour leader." (22/08/13, retrieved 23/08/13)
  22. ^ MSN NZ.co.nz "Cunliffe leading iPredict stakes." (23/08/13, retrieved 23/08/13).
  23. ^ Cunliffe announces Labour bid. Stuff.co.nz (26/08/13, retrieved 26/08/13).
  24. ^ 'I am ready' to be Labour leader - David Cunliffe One News, 26/08/13, (retrieved 26/08/13)
  25. ^ Grant Robertson confirms bid for Labour leadership. One News, (26/08/13)
  26. ^ Tracy Watkins, Michael Fox and Andrea Vance. "Cunliffe wins Labour leadership". Stuff.co.nz. Fairfax NZ. Retrieved 19 September 2013. 
  27. ^ Farrar, David (15 September 2013). "Cunliffe wins". Kiwiblog. Retrieved 5 December 2013. 
  28. ^ "Cunliffe referred to police over election day tweet - National - NZ Herald News". The New Zealand Herald. 4 December 2013. 
  29. ^ "Parliamentary Conscience Votes Database -- David Cunliffe". Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  30. ^ "David Cunliffe: Address-In-Reply speech". Retrieved 1 August 2006. 
  31. ^ David Cunliffe interview, "Vote Chat 2011." (26/08/11)

Further reading[edit]

  • ICT leaders election forum 2005 [videorecording: DVD]. Wellington, [N.Z.]: InternetNZ. c. 2005. . This was a discussion forum about information technology policy – the National Party's Maurice Williamson was also a participant.

External links[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
New constituency Member of Parliament
for Titirangi

1999–2002
Constituency abolished
Member of Parliament
for New Lynn

2002–present
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
Pete Hodgson
Minister of Health
2007–2008
Succeeded by
Tony Ryall
Preceded by
Bill English
Shadow Minister of Finance
2008–2011
Succeeded by
David Parker
Preceded by
David Shearer
Leader of the Opposition
2013–present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
David Shearer
Leader of the Labour Party
2013–present
Incumbent