Margaret Austin

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The Honourable
Margaret Austin
25th Minister of Internal Affairs
In office
Prime Minister David Lange
Geoffrey Palmer
Preceded by Michael Bassett
Succeeded by Graeme Lee
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Yaldhurst
In office
14 July 1984 – 1996
Preceded by Mick Connelly
Succeeded by Constituency abolished
Personal details
Born 1 April 1933 (1933-04) (age 84)
Christchurch, New Zealand
Political party Labour
Profession Teacher

Margaret Elizabeth Austin, CNZM (born 1 April 1953) is a former New Zealand politician. She was an MP from 1984 to 1996, representing first the Labour Party and then briefly United New Zealand.


Early life and career[edit]

Austin was born in Dunedin in 1953.[1] She attended the University of Canterbury and graduated with a Diploma of Teaching. She went on to teach in Christchurch and in 1971 became the Head of Science at Christchurch Girls' High School and later became Senior Mistress at Riccarton High School in 1977. She was also a member of the Educational Administration Society and was its President for three years.[1]

Political career[edit]

Parliament of New Zealand
Years Term Electorate Party
1984–1987 41st Yaldhurst Labour
1987–1990 42nd Yaldhurst Labour
1990–1993 43rd Yaldhurst Labour
1993–1995 44th Yaldhurst Labour
1995–1996 Changed allegiance to: United NZ

She was first elected to Parliament in the 1984 election as the MP for Yaldhurst, an electorate in western Christchurch. After Labour's re-election at the 1987 election, Austin was elected her party's Senior Whip following Michael Cullen's elevation to cabinet.[1]

During her time in Parliament, Austin served as a Minister of Research and Development, Internal Affairs and of Arts, Culture and Heritage. She held the seat for the Labour Party until 1995 when the seat was abolished, in preparation for the changeover to MMP, and she joined with six other MPs to found the centrist United New Zealand Party. Like all United New Zealand MPs (but Peter Dunne), Austin was not re-elected in the 1996 election; Austin stood in the new Ilam electorate where she came third.[2]

Later activities[edit]

She later became Chancellor of Lincoln University.

Further reading[edit]

  • A Guide to quality education: handbook for quality, access and participation in New Zealand education prepared by the Labour Opposition, Wellington, [N.Z.]: New Zealand Labour Party, 1992 
  • Ministerial brief: Margaret Austin, Wellington, [N.Z.]: Department of Internal Affairs, 1990 
  • NZPPTA Principals' Council Conference 1993, Auckland: education for an effective society, Sheraton Hotel, Auckland, July 11–14 [NZPPTA Principals' Council Conference (1993: Auckland, N.Z.)], Wellington, [N.Z.]: The Association, 1993 
  • Austin's contribution is: "Speech notes."
  • Positioning Polytechnics for the 90s: Association of Polytechnics in New Zealand Annual Conference, October 1991, hosted by Carrington Polytechnic at the Sheraton Hotel, Auckland : edited proceedings [Association of Polytechnics in New Zealand. Annual Conference (1991 : Auckland, N.Z.)], Auckland, [N.Z.]: Carrington Polytechnic, 1991 
  • Austin's contribution is noted under the title: "Opposition Spokesperson on Education."
  • Strategies to achieve excellence: expanding the potential of young Maori through education: 7 September 1993, the James Cook Centra, Wellington [prepared by Institute for International Research], Auckland, [N.Z.]: The Institute, 1993 
  • Austin's contribution is a paper entitled: "[T]he agenda for change and it's [sic] effects on education."
  • Austin, Margaret E. (chair); et al. (1997), Achieving excellence: a review of the education external evaluation services: self management, self-review, self improvement, whaia te iti kahurangi (strive for the ultimate), Wellington, [N.Z.]: State Services Commission, ISBN 0-478-08931-7 
  • Ogonowska-Coates, Halina (ed.) (1995), Invincible women : a collection of herstories / commissioned by the Christchurch College of Education Te Whare Whai Matauraka ki Otautahi, Christchurch, [N.Z.]: The College, ISBN 0-908858-01-9 
  • This book contains a profile of Austin, with eleven other women.
  • Scott, Noel; Austin, Margaret E.; Mallard, Trevor (1985), Interim report of Government Committee on Transition Education to Hon. Russell Marshall, Minister of Education, Hon. Kerry Burke, Minister of Employment, Wellington, [N.Z.]: The Committee 



  • Who's Who in the New Zealand Parliament 1987. Wellington: Parliamentary Service. 1987. 
  • Temple, Philip (1994). Temple’s Guide to the 44th New Zealand Parliament. Dunedin: McIndoe Publishers. p. 53. ISBN 0 86868 159 8. 
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Mick Connelly
Member of Parliament for Yaldhurst
Constituency abolished
Party political offices
Preceded by
Michael Cullen
Senior Whip of the Labour Party
Succeeded by
Trevor Mallard