Jenny Shipley

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The Right Honourable
Dame Jenny Shipley
DNZM
Jenny Shipley.jpg
Shipley in 1999
36th Prime Minister of New Zealand
In office
8 December 1997 – 5 December 1999
Monarch Elizabeth II
Governor General Michael Hardie Boys
Deputy Winston Peters
Wyatt Creech
Preceded by Jim Bolger
Succeeded by Helen Clark
28th Leader of the Opposition
In office
5 December 1999 – 8 October 2001
Preceded by Helen Clark
Succeeded by Bill English
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Rakaia
In office
27 October 1990 – 27 July 2002
Preceded by Constituency established
Succeeded by Brian Connell
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Ashburton
In office
15 August 1987 – 27 October 1990
Preceded by Rob Talbot
Succeeded by Constituency abolished
Personal details
Born (1952-02-04) 4 February 1952 (age 62)
Gore, Southland, New Zealand
Political party National Party
Spouse(s) Burton Shipley (1972–present)
Children 2
Profession Teacher
Religion Presbyterianism

Dame Jennifer Mary "Jenny" Shipley DNZM (née Robson, born 4 February 1952) was the 36th Prime Minister of New Zealand from December 1997 to December 1999, the first woman to hold this office and the only woman leader of the National Party of New Zealand.

Early life[edit]

Born in Gore, New Zealand, Shipley was one of four sisters.[1] After attending Marlborough Girls' College, she qualified in 1971 as a teacher and taught in New Zealand primary schools until 1976. In 1973 she married Burton Shipley and settled in Ashburton.[1] She assisted in a number of educational and child-care organisations, such as the Plunket Society.

Member of Parliament[edit]

Parliament of New Zealand
Years Term Electorate List Party
1987–1990 42nd Ashburton National
1990–1993 43rd Ashburton National
1993–1996 44th Rakaia National
1996–1999 45th Rakaia 4 National
1999–2002 46th Rakaia 1 National

Having joined the National Party in 1975, Shipley successfully stood in the Ashburton electorate in the 1987 election, entering parliament at age 35, one of parliament's youngest members.[1] She represented this electorate until her retirement from politics in 2002, though it was renamed Rakaia in 1990.

Cabinet Minister[edit]

When National (with Jim Bolger as its leader) won the general election of 1990, Shipley became Minister of Social Welfare, having been shadow minister in that portfolio while in Opposition. She was also Minister of Women's Affairs (1990–1996).[2]

In her role as Minister of Social Welfare, Shipley sparked controversy[citation needed] with her cutbacks to state benefits. Later, when she became Minister of Health in 1993, she caused further controversy by attempting to reform the public health service, introducing an internal market. When National gained re-election in 1996, Shipley left the Women's Affairs portfolio and gained a number of others, including responsibility for State-Owned Enterprises and Transport.

Prime Minister[edit]

Shipley (centre) with United States President Bill Clinton, 15 September 1999.

Shipley grew increasingly frustrated and disillusioned with the cautious pace of National's leader, Jim Bolger, and with what she saw as the disproportionate influence of coalition partner New Zealand First. She began gathering support to replace Bolger in mid-1997. Later that year, while Bolger attended the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Shipley convinced a majority of her National Party colleagues to back her bid for the leadership. Bolger, seeing that he no longer had the support of his party, resigned, and Shipley replaced him. As leader of the governing party, she became Prime Minister on 8 December 1997.

Despite continued economic growth, the Shipley government became increasingly politically unstable. In particular, the relationship between National and New Zealand First deteriorated. While Bolger had been able to maintain good relations with New Zealand First and with its leader, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters, the alliance became strained after Shipley rose to power. Finally, on 14 August 1998, Shipley sacked Peters from Cabinet.

Peters immediately withdrew support for Shipley's government. However, several New Zealand First MPs wanted to continue the coalition, and led by NZF deputy leader Tau Henare they tried to oust Peters as leader. When they failed, they left their party, either becoming independents or trying to form their own parties. Shipley gained sufficient support from these MPs to keep National in power.

On the same day Shipley unexpectedly backed Cultural Affairs Minister Marie Hasler's call for a change in the New Zealand flag. Shipley, along with the New Zealand Tourism Board, backed the quasi-national emblem of the silver fern on a black background as a possible alternative flag, along the lines of the Canadian flag, but she took pains to publicly disassociate herself from Bolger's support for republicanism. As the debate continued in 1999, the Princess Royal visited New Zealand,[citation needed] and Shipley stated, "I am an unashamed royal supporter, along with many New Zealanders." However, the debate was muted by the controversy surrounding Tourism Board contracts going to the public-relations firm Saatchi and Saatchi, whose World CEO Kevin Roberts, also an advocate of the silver fern flag, was a good friend of Shipley.

Shipley was the first Prime Minister to attend the gay and lesbian Hero Parade, being the first National Party leader to seek to make electoral overtures to the gay and lesbian voting public. She advocated lowering the alcohol purchase age from 20 to 18 and achieved this in 1999.[citation needed] This was part of her expressed desire to expand the traditional National Party voting base.

Shipley became a member of the Council of Women World Leaders, an international network of current and former women presidents and prime ministers with the mission of mobilising the highest-level women leaders globally for collective action on issues of critical importance to women and equitable development. She is also a member of the Club of Madrid.[3]

On 21 May 1998 Shipley was appointed to the Privy Council and became The Right Honourable Jenny Shipley.[4]

Defeat and resignation[edit]

In the 1999 election, the Labour Party, led by Helen Clark defeated the National Party.

Shipley suffered a heart attack in 2000.[5]

Shipley led the National Party until October 2001, when Bill English took over as Leader of the Opposition, and she retired from Parliament in 2002.

Life after politics[edit]

She appeared on an episode of the television reality/travel show Intrepid Journeys where she visited Namibia.[6] She later started a charity to help a school she came across on that trip called the Namibian Educational Trust.[7]

In 2007, Shipley joined the financial services firm Source Sentinel.

Shipley has business interests in China and is on the board of the China Construction Bank.[8][9]

According to Companies Office records, Jack Chen, Shipley and another investor founded a business in 2004 called New Zealand Pure & Natural. Chen quit as a director a year later and quit his shareholding in 2010.[10] Chen was instrumental in promoting the 'Chinese Business Roundtable Council' in NZ,[11] and set up a new political party in NZ, before being forced to resign due to fraud and corruption charges being laid in Hong Kong. [10] [12] [13] [14] [15]

In 2010 the China Construction Bank agreed to help finance a proposal by May Wang [also known as Hao May] and Chen [also known as Chen Keen] to invest in the New Zealand dairy industry[10] by taking over the Crafar Farms.[16]

Shipley accepted a damehood on 14 August 2009 after the Fifth National Government reinstated knighthoods.[17] Since 2009, Shipley has chaired the Genesis Energy Limited board.[18] She is a member of the Club de Madrid, a group of more than 80 former Presidents and Prime Ministers of democratic states, which works to strengthen democratic leadership and governance worldwide.[19]

In December 2012 Shipley resigned from the board of directors of Mainzeal Property & Construction (MPCL), which went into receivership on 6 February 2013. At mid-day on 5 February 2013 she was one of four independent directors who resigned from the board of Mainzeal Group Limited.[20] MPCL and Mainzeal Group Limited are part of the Richina group, controlled and majority owned by Yan Ci Lang (Richard Yan). [21] [22] [23] [24]

Shipley chairs Global Women NZ and gives her time to a number of causes. She is Patron of Sir Edmund Hilary Outdoor Pursuits Centre and the NZ Heart Foundations "Go Red for Women".

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Richard Wolfe, Battlers Bluffers & Bully Boys, Random House New Zealand, ISBN 1-86941-715-1 
  2. ^ "Minister of Women's Affairs". Ministry of Women's Affairs. Retrieved 27 January 2011. 
  3. ^ Bio of Shipley from the Club of Madrid
  4. ^ "Appointments to the Privy Council" (28 May 1998) 74 New Zealand 1613 at 1644.
  5. ^ Fraser, Fiona (8 September 2009). "Jenny's change of heart". New Zealand Woman's Weekly. Retrieved 5 January 2010. 
  6. ^ "Jenny Shipley: Namibia". Intrepid Journeys. Television New Zealand. Retrieved 26 June 2009. 
  7. ^ "The lights are on at Ehomba School in Africa!". Namibian Educational Trust. Retrieved 26 June 2009. 
  8. ^ "Right Honorable Jenny Shipley DCNZM, NZFIM". ASB Agribusiness Conference. Retrieved 26 June 2009. [dead link]
  9. ^ "Board of Directors - China Construction Bank". Retrieved 19 Jun 2012. 
  10. ^ a b c Scherer, Karyn (30 July 2010). "China dairy investor's links revealed". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 11 May 2012. 
  11. ^ "Chinese Business Roundtable". INVESTIGATEMAGAZINE.COM. June 2010. Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  12. ^ WILLIAM MACE (2011-11-15). "Former Natural Dairy boss Jack Chen bailed for $5m". Stuff. Retrieved 30 May 2012. 
  13. ^ "May Wang and Jack Chen targets of Hong Kong corruption probe". NZ Interest. 18 October 2011. Retrieved 30 May 2012. 
  14. ^ "bribery charges against May Wang and an arrest warrant for associate Jack Chen". NZ Interest. 21 October 2011. Retrieved 30 May 2012. 
  15. ^ Paul McBeth (18 October 2011). "May Wang and Jack Chen targets of Hong Kong corruption probe". NZ Scoop. Retrieved 30 May 2012. 
  16. ^ Bernard Moran (21 August 2010). "Chinese investment in NZ dairy industry". News Weekly. Retrieved 30 May 2012. 
  17. ^ "Prime Minister congratulates knights and dames". Television New Zealand. 1 August 2009. 
  18. ^ "Shipley, Withers take senior SOE roles". New Zealand Herald. 20 October 2009. 
  19. ^ http://www.clubmadrid.org/es/miembro/jennifer_mary_shipley
  20. ^ http://wellington.scoop.co.nz/?p=52509
  21. ^ "Failed Mainzeal faces $93.5m in claims". 2013-03-16. 
  22. ^ "Mainzeal collapse hits subcontractors". Dominion Post. Retrieved 2013-02-08. 
  23. ^ "Richina accused of polluting Shanghai". NBR. Retrieved 16 March 2013. 
  24. ^ "Meet Mainzeal's man at the top, the enigmatic migrant made good - until now". New Zealand Herald. Feb 9, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Global Women http://www.globalwomen.org.nz/Our+Members/Rt+Hon+Dame+Jenny+Shipley.html

New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Rob Talbot
Member of Parliament for Ashburton
1987–1990
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Rakaia
1990–2002
Succeeded by
Brian Connell
Political offices
Preceded by
Jim Bolger
Prime Minister of New Zealand
1997–1999
Succeeded by
Helen Clark
Preceded by
Helen Clark
Leader of the Opposition
1999–2001
Succeeded by
Bill English
Preceded by
Margaret Shields
Minister of Women's Affairs
1990–1996
Succeeded by
Christine Fletcher
Preceded by
Bill Birch
Minister of Health
1993–1996
Succeeded by
Bill English
Party political offices
Preceded by
Jim Bolger
Leader of the National Party
1997–2001
Succeeded by
Bill English