Deborah Morris

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Deborah Morris-Travers[1] (Born 9 August 1970) is a former New Zealand politician. She was a list MP for New Zealand First from 1996 to 1999.

Member of Parliament[edit]

Parliament of New Zealand
Years Term Electorate List Party
1996–1998 45th List 9 NZ First
1998–1999 Changed allegiance to: Independent

Morris was an MP from 1996 to 1999, representing the New Zealand First party. She was first elected to Parliament in the 1996 election as a list MP,[2][3] and when her party formed a coalition with the National Party, she became a Minister. Her most prominent role was as Minister of Youth Affairs, where her own relative youth was seen as an asset — she was understood to be the youngest person ever appointed to ministerial rank (at the age of 26).[citation needed] In 1996 she caused controversy by suggesting that young New Zealanders should have better access to contraceptives. Her suggestion was publicly opposed by the Governor-General Sir Michael Hardie Boys.[4]

When the coalition collapsed, and New Zealand First itself began to split up, Morris was one of the first MPs to leave the party, saying that she could no longer accept the "perpetual state of crisis" generated by its leader, Winston Peters.[5] Unlike some other New Zealand First defectors, Morris did not make a deal with the National Party to keep her ministerial portfolios, resigning from her position on 18 August 1998. Morris remained an independent until her resignation from Parliament in 1999. As she had been elected on the New Zealand First list, her replacement, Gilbert Myles, was also drawn from that list.

Life after politics[edit]

Since leaving Parliament, Morris has worked in public relations. She also lent her support for the controversial repeal of Section 59, which removed the defence of reasonable force in child discipline. In 2015 she is working as an advocate for children - who live in New Zealand or internationally - who are in impoverished situations.

At the 2013 local authority elections Morris-Travers stood for, and was elected to, the Paraparaumu Raumati Community Board.[6]

She is now the Green Party Chief of Staff.[7]


In 1994, Morris was a founding member of the Republican Movement of Aotearoa New Zealand, and supports a New Zealand republic.[8]


  1. ^ "Every Child Counts - Every Child Counts Project leader wins major award". Retrieved 2007-01-03. [dead link]
  2. ^ "Electorate Candidate and Party Votes Recorded at Each Polling Place - Hutt South, 1996" (PDF). Retrieved 13 July 2013. 
  3. ^ "Part III - Party Lists of Successful Registered Parties" (PDF). Electoral Commission. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 February 2013. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  4. ^ Gavin Mclean (October 2006), The Governors, New Zealand Governors and Governors-General, Otago University Press, p. 281 
  5. ^ "Russell Brown's HARD NEWS, 21st August 1998". Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  6. ^ "Deborah Morris-Travers". Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  7. ^ "Hon. Deborah Morris-Travers new Greens Chief of Staff". Retrieved 5 May 2016. 
  8. ^ "Deborah Morris - Setting out on the republican road". Republican Movement of Aotearoa New Zealand. Retrieved 18 December 2013.