John Kirk (New Zealand politician)

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Norman John Kirk, generally called John Kirk, (born 27 June 1947), is a former New Zealand Member of Parliament for Sydenham, in the South Island.

Early life[edit]

John Kirk was born in Katikati on 27 June 1947;[1] the son of Norman Kirk who became a popular Labour Party Prime Minister.

Member of Parliament[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1974–1975 37th Sydenham Labour
1975–1978 38th Sydenham Labour
1978–1981 39th Sydenham Labour
1981–1983 40th Sydenham Labour
1983–1984 Changed allegiance to: Independent

When his father died in office in 1974, John Kirk contested the resulting by-election in the same year and succeeded him as MP for Sydenham. He held the electorate for ten years until 1984.

In July 1983 John Kirk announced that he would not seek the Labour Party's nomination for Sydenham in the 1984 election. In his place Labour selected Jim Anderton, the party president, whereupon Kirk (a strong David Lange supporter) declared that he would stand against the official Labour candidate as an independent. His continuing opposition to Anderton's selection resulted in the Labour Party's New Zealand Council suspending him from membership of the Labour Party.

Kirk served out the remainder of his parliamentary career as an Independent MP after declaring that he would never again vote with the Labour Party. He stood in the Wellington urban electorate of Miramar in the 1984 general election where he was unsuccessful.


Kirk left New Zealand in 1984 while still an MP, owing more than $280,000. He was arrested in the US, held in prison, and then extradited to New Zealand, where he was charged under the Insolvency Act 1985. He was sentenced to four months' periodic detention.[2]


  1. ^ Who’s Who in New Zealand, 11th edition, edited by J E Traue, p164 (1978, Reed, Wellington)
  2. ^ Stickley, Tony (24 August 2005). "Awatere sent straight to jail over fraud charges". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 22 October 2010. 
  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First published in 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103. 
  • From Muldoon to Lange: New Zealand Elections in the 1980s by Alan McRobie and Steven Levine (2002, MC Enterprises, Rangiora)
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Norman Kirk
Member of Parliament for Sydenham
Succeeded by
Jim Anderton