Minister of Finance (New Zealand)
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The Minister of Finance, originally known as Colonial Treasurer, is a senior figure within the government of New Zealand. The position is often considered to be the most important Cabinet role after that of the Prime Minister.
Responsibilities and powers
The Minister of Finance is responsible for producing an annual Budget outlining the government's proposed expenditure. According to Parliament's Standing Orders, the Minister of Finance may veto any parliamentary bill which would have a significant impact on the government's budget plans. The Minister of Finance also supervises the Treasury, which is the government's primary advisor on matters of economic and financial policy. As such, the Minister of Finance has broad control of the government's spending, making the position quite powerful.
Some analysts, such as Jonathan Boston, claim that the Minister of Finance can sometimes hold more influence than the Prime Minister, if the conditions are right. Gordon Coates, Finance Minister in the early 1930s, was sometimes such a figure. Some political scientists, such as Boston, believe that in the government of David Lange, Minister of Finance Roger Douglas held more power than was proper, and that the Treasury was using its control of government finances to take a supervisory role across the whole administration. It was probably for this reason that Lange's successor, Geoffrey Palmer, established the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, which could offer the Prime Minister advice independent of that given by individual ministers.
The office of Minister of Finance has existed since 1841. Apart from the office of Prime Minister itself, the only other cabinet posts to have existed since the first cabinet are those of Attorney-General and Minister of Internal Affairs. Originally, the holder of the post was designated "Colonial Treasurer", but this term was replaced with "Minister of Finance" shortly after New Zealand ceased to be a Colony and became a Dominion. This occurred in 1907, during the cabinet of Joseph Ward.
In the past, several Prime Ministers took on the post of Minister of Finance themselves, though in recent times this practice has declined. Robert Muldoon, the last person to concurrently serve as Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, created considerable controversy by doing so. It is more common, however, for a Deputy Prime Minister to serve as Minister of Finance. The present Minister of Finance, Bill English, is also the Deputy Prime Minister.
Traditionally Ministers of Finance rank second or third in seniority lists within Westminster-style Cabinets, although initially Harry Lake was ranked at sixth and his successor Robert Muldoon was ranked at eighth; both because of their short service to date in Parliament, and because Keith Holyoake saw Muldoon as too arrogant and ambitious for his own good.
After the 1996 elections, the role of the Minister of Finance was split between two portfolios – that of Minister of Finance and that of Treasurer. The position of Treasurer was senior to that of the Minister of Finance, and was created as part of the coalition agreement between the National Party and New Zealand First. It was established especially for Winston Peters, leader of New Zealand First, who demanded it as part of the deal. When Peters ended the coalition, the position reverted to the National Party, and after the change of government in 1999, it was reincorporated into the old Minister of Finance portfolio.
List of Finance Ministers
|Name||PM Served||Took Office||Left Office||Party|
|1||George Cooper||None||3 May 1841||9 May 1842||None|
|2||Alexander Shepherd||None||9 May 1842||7 May 1856||None|
|3||Dillon Bell||Sewell||7 May 1856||20 May 1856||None|
|4||Charles Brown||Fox||20 May 1856||2 June 1856||None|
|5||Henry Sewell||Stafford||2 June 1856||4 November 1856||None|
|6||William Richmond||Stafford||4 November 1856||25 February 1859||None|
|Henry Sewell, 2nd time||Stafford||25 February 1859||26 April 1859||None|
|William Richmond, 2nd time||Stafford||26 April 1859||12 July 1861||None|
|7||Reader Wood||Fox||12 July 1861||6 August 1862||None|
|Dillon Bell, 2nd time||Domett||6 August 1862||21 August 1862||None|
|Reader Wood, 2nd time||Domett, Whitaker||21 August 1862||24 November 1864||None|
|8||William Fitzherbert||Weld||24 November 1864||16 October 1865||None|
|9||Edward Stafford||(himself)||31 October 1865||12 June 1866||None|
|10||Francis Jollie||Stafford||12 June 1866||24 August 1866||None|
|William Fitzherbert, 2nd time||Stafford||24 August 1866||28 June 1869||None|
|11||Julius Vogel||Fox||28 June 1869||10 September 1872||None|
|12||Thomas Gillies||Stafford||10 September 1872||11 October 1872||None|
|Julius Vogel, 2nd time||Waterhouse, Fox, (himself)||11 October 1872||6 July 1875||None|
|13||Harry Atkinson||Pollen||6 July 1875||15 February 1876||None|
|Julius Vogel, 3rd time||(himself)||15 February 1876||1 September 1876||None|
|Harry Atkinson, 2nd time||(himself)||1 September 1876||13 October 1877||None|
|14||William Larnach||Grey||15 October 1877||5 March 1878||None|
|15||John Ballance||Grey||12 July 1878||1 July 1879||None|
|16||George Grey||(himself)||10 July 1879||8 October 1879||None|
|Harry Atkinson, 3rd time||Hall, Whitaker, (himself)||8 October 1879||16 August 1884||None|
|Julius Vogel, 4th time||Stout||16 August 1884||28 August 1884||None|
|Julius Vogel, 5th time||Stout||3 September 1884||8 October 1887||None|
|Harry Atkinson, 4th time||(himself)||8 October 1887||24 January 1891||None|
|John Ballance, 2nd time||(himself)||24 January 1891||27 April 1893||Liberal|
|17||Joseph Ward||Seddon||1 May 1893||16 June 1896||Liberal|
|18||Richard Seddon||(himself)||16 June 1896||10 June 1906||Liberal|
|19||William Hall-Jones||(himself)||21 June 1906||6 August 1906||Liberal|
|Joseph Ward, 2nd time||(himself)||6 August 1906||28 March 1912||Liberal|
|20||Arthur Myers||Mackenzie||28 March 1912||10 July 1912||Liberal|
|21||James Allen||Massey||10 July 1912||12 August 1915||Reform|
|Joseph Ward, 3rd time||Massey||12 August 1915||21 August 1919||Liberal|
|James Allen||Massey||4 September 1919||28 April 1920||Reform|
|22||William Massey||(himself)||12 May 1920||10 May 1925||Reform|
|23||William Nosworthy||Bell, Coates||14 May 1925||24 May 1926||Reform|
|24||William Downie Stewart||Coates||24 May 1926||10 December 1928||Reform|
|Joseph Ward, 4th time||(himself)||10 December 1928||28 May 1930||United (Liberal)|
|25||George Forbes||(himself)||28 May 1930||22 September 1931||United (Liberal)|
|William Downie Stewart, 2nd time||Forbes||22 September 1931||28 January 1933||Reform|
|26||Gordon Coates||Forbes||28 January 1933||6 December 1935||Reform|
|27||Walter Nash||Savage, Fraser||6 December 1935||13 December 1949||Labour|
|28||Sidney Holland||(himself)||13 December 1949||Nov 1954||National|
|29||Jack Watts||Holland, Holyoake||Nov 1954||12 December 1957||National|
|30||Arnold Nordmeyer||Nash||12 December 1957||12 December 1960||Labour|
|31||Harry Lake||Holyoake||12 December 1960||Mar 1967||National|
|32||Robert Muldoon||Holyoake, Marshall||Mar 1967||8 December 1972||National|
|33||Bill Rowling||Kirk||8 December 1972||6 September 1974||Labour|
|34||Bob Tizard||Rowling||6 September 1974||12 December 1975||Labour|
|Robert Muldoon, 2nd time||(himself)||12 December 1975||26 July 1984||National|
|35||Roger Douglas||Lange||26 July 1984||14 December 1988||Labour|
|36||David Caygill||Lange, Palmer, Moore||14 December 1988||2 November 1990||Labour|
|37||Ruth Richardson||Bolger||2 November 1990||Nov 1993||National|
|38||Bill Birch||Bolger||Nov 1993||16 December 1996||National|
|Bill Birch, continued||Treasurer: Peters||Bolger, Shipley||16 December 1996||14 August 1998||National|
|Bill Birch, continued||Treasurer: (himself)||Shipley||14 August 1998||Jan 1999||National|
|39||Bill English||Treasurer: Birch||Shipley||Jan 1999||Jun 1999||National|
|Bill Birch, 2nd time||Treasurer: English||Shipley||Jun 1999||5 December 1999||National|
|40||Michael Cullen||Clark||5 December 1999||19 November 2008||Labour|
|Bill English, 2nd time||Key||19 November 2008||Incumbent||National|
- Clifton, Jane (19 September 2013). "Influentials: Politics". New Zealand Listener. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
- Cyclopedia Company Limited (1897). "Mr. George Cooper". The Cyclopedia of New Zealand : Wellington Provincial District. Wellington. Retrieved 12 June 2010.
- Cyclopedia Company Limited (1897). "Mr. Alexander Shepherd". The Cyclopedia of New Zealand : Wellington Provincial District. Wellington. Retrieved 12 June 2010.
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