Annette King

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Dame Annette King

Dame Annette King.jpg
19th High Commissioner of New Zealand to Australia
Assumed office
December 2018
MonarchElizabeth II
Prime MinisterJacinda Ardern
Preceded byChris Seed
14th Deputy Leader of the New Zealand Labour Party
In office
24 November 2014 – 1 March 2017
LeaderAndrew Little
Preceded byDavid Parker
Succeeded byJacinda Ardern
In office
11 November 2008 – 13 December 2011
LeaderPhil Goff
Preceded byMichael Cullen
Succeeded byGrant Robertson
45th Minister of Justice
In office
31 October 2007 – 19 November 2008
Prime MinisterHelen Clark
Preceded byMark Burton
Succeeded bySimon Power
23rd Minister of Transport
In office
3 May 2006 – 19 November 2008
Prime MinisterHelen Clark
Preceded byDavid Parker
Succeeded bySteven Joyce
34th Minister of Police
In office
19 October 2005 – 19 November 2008
Prime MinisterHelen Clark
Preceded byGeorge Hawkins
Succeeded byJudith Collins
35th Minister of Health
In office
10 December 1999 – 19 October 2005
Prime MinisterHelen Clark
Preceded byWyatt Creech
Succeeded byPete Hodgson
44th Minister of Immigration
In office
9 February 1990 – 2 November 1990
Prime MinisterGeoffrey Palmer
Mike Moore
Preceded byRoger Douglas
Succeeded byBill Birch
10th Minister of Employment
In office
14 August 1989 – 2 November 1990
Prime MinisterGeoffrey Palmer
Mike Moore
Preceded byPhil Goff
Succeeded byMaurice McTigue
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Rongotai
Miramar (1993–1996)
In office
6 November 1993 – 23 September 2017
Preceded byGraeme Reeves
Succeeded byPaul Eagle
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Horowhenua
In office
14 July 1984 – 27 October 1990
Preceded byGeoffrey Thompson
Succeeded byHamish Hancock
Personal details
Annette Faye Robinson

(1947-09-13) 13 September 1947 (age 73)
Murchison, New Zealand
Political partyLabour
RelationsChris Finlayson (cousin)
ProfessionPolitician (former dental nurse)

Dame Annette Faye King[1] DNZM (née Robinson, born 13 September 1947) is a former New Zealand politician. She served as Deputy Leader of the New Zealand Labour Party and Deputy Leader of the Opposition from 2008 to 2011, and from 2014 until 1 March 2017. She was a Cabinet Minister in the Fifth Labour Government of New Zealand, and was the MP for the Rongotai electorate in Wellington from 1996 to 2017.

Early life[edit]

The daughter of Frank Pace Robinson and Olive Annie Robinson (née Russ),[2] King was born in Murchison on 13 September 1947.[3] After receiving primary education in Murchison, she attended Murchison District High School from 1960 to 1963, and then Waimea College in 1964.[2][4] Between 1965 and 1967, she completed a diploma in school dental nursing, and worked as a dental nurse from 1967 to 1981.[2][3] In 1981, she gained a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Waikato, and obtained a postgraduate diploma in dental nursing the same year.[2][3] She was a tutor of dental nursing in Wellington from 1982 to 1984.[3] She is partly of Sri Lankan descent.[5]

Political career[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate List Party
1984–1987 41st Horowhenua Labour
1987–1990 42nd Horowhenua Labour
1993–1996 44th Miramar Labour
1996–1999 45th Rongotai 6 Labour
1999–2002 46th Rongotai 4 Labour
2002–2005 47th Rongotai 7 Labour
2005–2008 48th Rongotai 7 Labour
2008–2011 49th Rongotai 4 Labour
2011–2014 50th Rongotai 2 Labour
2014–2017 51st Rongotai 4 Labour

King joined the Labour Party in 1972,[4] and has held various offices within the party, including a term on the party's executive (1991–1992).[3] In 1983 King unsuccessfully sought the Labour Party nomination for the seat of Tasman following the retirement of Labour leader Bill Rowling, but lost to Ken Shirley.[6]

Member of Parliament[edit]

King (right) with David Lange (left) in 1986

In the 1984 election, she stood as the party's candidate for Horowhenua, and was successful. She was re-elected in the 1987 election.[7] King was considered one of the most effective backbenchers in the Fourth Labour Government.[8]

Following the 1987 election, she was appointed parliamentary under-secretary to the Minister of Employment and of Social Welfare. In August 1989 she put herself forward to fill one of two vacant seats in cabinet, winning a caucus ballot against ex-minister Richard Prebble.[9] King was appointed Minister of Employment, Minister of Immigration, and Minister of Youth Affairs. She was also given special responsibility for liaising between Cabinet and the party caucus.[7]

In the 1990 election, King lost the Horowhenua electorate against Hamish Hancock, a lawyer who stood for the National Party.[4][10] She served as chief executive officer of the Palmerston North Enterprise Board from 1991 until the 1993 election,[3] when she was returned to Parliament as the MP for Miramar.[7] In the 1996 election, when the shift to mixed-member proportional (MMP) representation prompted a reorganisation of electorates, King successfully contested the new seat of Rongotai. In that 1996 election, she was ranked in sixth place on the Labour Party's list.[11]

After re-entering parliament new leader Helen Clark appointed her as spokesperson for Immigration and Business & Industry in December 1993.[12] Less than a year later, in October 1994, after Peter Dunne split from Labour, Clark gave King Dunne's commerce and customs portfolios as well.[13] In June 1995, after Clive Matthewson left Labour, King was given Matthewson's position of Shadow Minister of Social Welfare.[14] In August 1997 King was promoted again, replacing Lianne Dalziel as Shadow Minister of Health while relinquishing the Social Welfare portfolio.[15]

Cabinet Minister[edit]

When Labour won the 1999 election, and Helen Clark became Prime Minister, King was appointed Minister of Health.[7] She was ranked sixth within Cabinet. After Labour winning a third term in government at the 2005 election, King took on the roles of Minister of Transport and Minister of Police. Following another reshuffle in late 2007, King became the new Minister of Justice.[7] Before the 2008 general election she was elevated to number four on the party list.[16]

Deputy Leader of the Opposition[edit]

Labour was defeated in the 2008 election by the National Party led by relative newcomer John Key. King retained her seat with a majority of about 7,800 votes.[17] King was elected as the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party in a special caucus meeting on 11 November 2008, replacing Michael Cullen.[7] Phil Goff, another senior Labour Party member, became the Leader of the Labour Party, replacing former Prime Minister Helen Clark.[18] King stood again for Rongotai in the 2011 general election. She was ranked second on the Labour Party list.[19] Following the defeat of the Labour Party in the 2011 election, Annette King announced she would step down as Deputy Leader of the Labour party, and Deputy Leader of the Opposition effective 13 December 2011.[7] She was succeeded as Deputy Leader by Grant Robertson in the 2011 Labour Party leadership election.[20]

In the 2014 election, King increased her majority in the Rongotai electorate, but National won the party vote for the first time since the initial MMP election in 1996.[21] Labour's heavy defeat at the 2014 election caused the resignation of David Cunliffe as the party's leader and the next leadership election, with King in an interim capacity as deputy leader.[22]

Following the election of Andrew Little as the new leader, King remained as deputy in a permanent capacity. Although Little guaranteed that she would be deputy for at least a year, he did not indicate whether he wanted her to be a future Deputy Prime Minister.[23]

On 1 March 2017 King announced her intention to retire from politics at the 2017 election, despite initially indicating she would only contest the election on the party list. She also stepped down from the deputy leader role.[24]

High Commissioner[edit]

On 14 November 2018, King was appointed as High Commissioner to Australia by Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters.[25]

Honours and awards[edit]

King received both the New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal, and the New Zealand Suffrage Centennial Medal in 1993.[2]

In 2007, King was awarded a Bravo award by the New Zealand Skeptics for her work along with "industry group Natural Products New Zealand, their attempt to provide standards and accountability via the Therapeutic Products and Medicines Bill."[26]

In the 2018 New Year Honours, King was appointed a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services as a member of Parliament.[27]


King is married with one daughter, and has three step-sons.[3] She is a cousin of former National minister Chris Finlayson, from whom she received verbal abuse in Parliament in September 2013.[28] Finlayson also opposed her in the Rongotai electorate at the 2008, 2011 and 2014 general elections.

In 2019 an authorized biography of King was published, co-written by John Harvey and Brent Edwards.[29]


  1. ^ New Zealand Hansard – Members Sworn. 651. New Zealand Parliament. 8 December 2008. p. 2. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e Taylor, Alister, ed. (2001). New Zealand Who's Who Aotearoa 2001. Auckland: Alister Taylor Publishers. p. 515. ISSN 1172-9813.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Hon Annette King". New Zealand Parliament. 5 May 2013. Archived from the original on 5 May 2013. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
  4. ^ a b c "Rongotai: Annette King wins easily". The Dominion Post. 26 November 2011. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  5. ^ "Sri Lankan New Year". Asia Downunder. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
  6. ^ "Labour contender for Tasman". The Press. 15 August 1983. p. 2.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g "Hon Annette King". New Zealand Parliament. 22 September 2014. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  8. ^ Bassett 2008, p. 483.
  9. ^ Bassett 2008, pp. 505-6.
  10. ^ "New Zealand Official Yearbook 1993". Department of Statistics. Archived from the original on 24 January 2015. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  11. ^ "Part III – Party Lists of Successful Registered Parties" (PDF). Electoral Commission. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 February 2013. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  12. ^ "The Labour Shadow Cabinet". The Dominion. 14 December 1993. p. 2.
  13. ^ Goulter, John (18 October 1994). "King takes over Dunne's duties". The Evening Post. p. 2.
  14. ^ "Party launch elevates King". The Evening Post. 29 June 1995. p. 1.
  15. ^ Venter, Nick; Ross, Frances (9 August 1997). "Dalziel dumped from health job". The Dominion.
  16. ^ "Party Lists of Successful Registered Parties". Elections New Zealand. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
  17. ^ "Official Count Results – Rongotai". Chief Electoral Office. 22 November 2008. Retrieved 9 October 2014.
  18. ^ Gower, Patrick (11 November 2008). "Helen Clark takes foreign affairs post in Labour reshuffle". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 8 July 2009.
  19. ^ "Labour Party List 2011" (Press release). New Zealand Labour Party. Scoop. 10 April 2011. Retrieved 10 April 2011.
  20. ^ "David Shearer elected as Labour leader". The Dominion Post. Fairfax New Zealand. 13 December 2011. Archived from the original on 22 December 2011.
  21. ^ "Official Count Results – Rongotai". Electoral Commission. 4 October 2014. Retrieved 9 October 2014.
  22. ^ Vance, Andrea (1 October 2014). "Parker, King to lead Labour". The Dominion Post. Retrieved 9 October 2014.
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 November 2014. Retrieved 23 November 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  24. ^ Trevett, Claire (1 March 2017). "Labour has lost one of its giants". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  25. ^ "New High Commissioner to Australia announced". The Beehive. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  26. ^ "Bravo Awards". New Zealand Skeptics. Retrieved 7 November 2016.
  27. ^ "New Year honours list 2018". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 30 December 2017. Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  28. ^ "Today in Politics". Fairfax Media. 26 September 2013. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  29. ^ Trevett, Claire (6 March 2019). "Annette King gives insider's look at the rise of Jacinda Ardern and dealing with Winston". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 6 March 2019.


New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Geoffrey Thompson
Member of Parliament for Horowhenua
Succeeded by
Hamish Hancock
Preceded by
Graeme Reeves
Member of Parliament for Miramar
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Rongotai
Succeeded by
Paul Eagle
Political offices
Preceded by
Phil Goff
Minister of Employment
Succeeded by
Maurice McTigue
Preceded by
Wyatt Creech
Minister of Health
Succeeded by
Pete Hodgson
Preceded by
George Hawkins
Minister of Police
Succeeded by
Judith Collins
Preceded by
Mark Burton
Minister of Justice
Succeeded by
Simon Power
Preceded by
Bill English
Deputy Leader of the Opposition

Succeeded by
Grant Robertson
Preceded by
David Parker
Succeeded by
Jacinda Ardern
Party political offices
Preceded by
Michael Cullen
Deputy Leader of the Labour Party

Succeeded by
Grant Robertson
Preceded by
David Parker
Succeeded by
Jacinda Ardern
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Chris Seed
High Commissioner to Australia