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.[1]

The current Minister of Finance is Bill English. There are also two Associate Minister roles. They are currently held by Steven Joyce and Paula Bennett.

Responsibilities and powers[edit]

The Minister of Finance is responsible for producing an annual New Zealand 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.

History[edit]

The office of Minister of Finance has existed since 1841.[2] 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[edit]

Colour key
(for political parties)

 Independent  
 Liberal  
 Reform  
 United  
 Labour  
 National  

No. Name Portrait Term of Office Prime Minister
1 George Cooper No image.png 3 May 1841 9 May 1842 none
2 Alexander Shepherd No image.png 9 May 1842 7 May 1856
3 Dillon Bell Francis Dillon Bell 1881.jpg 7 May 1856 20 May 1856 Sewell
4 Charles Brown No image.png 20 May 1856 2 June 1856 Fox
5 Henry Sewell Henry Sewell, ca 1872.jpg 2 June 1856 4 November 1856 Stafford
6 William Richmond C William Richmond 1888.jpg 4 November 1856 25 February 1859
(5) Henry Sewell Henry Sewell, ca 1872.jpg 25 February 1859 26 April 1859
(6) William Richmond C William Richmond 1888.jpg 26 April 1859 12 July 1861
7 Reader Wood No image.png 12 July 1861 6 August 1862 Fox
(3) Dillon Bell Francis Dillon Bell 1881.jpg 6 August 1862 21 August 1862 Domett
(7) Reader Wood No image.png 21 August 1862 24 November 1864
Whitaker
8 William Fitzherbert William Fitzherbert.jpg 24 November 1864 16 October 1865 Weld
9 Edward Stafford Edward William Stafford.jpg 31 October 1865 12 June 1866 Stafford
10 Francis Jollie No image.png 12 June 1866 24 August 1866
(8) William Fitzherbert William Fitzherbert.jpg 24 August 1866 28 June 1869
11 Julius Vogel Julius Vogel, ca 1870s.jpg 28 June 1869 10 September 1872 Fox
12 Thomas Gillies Thomas Gillies.jpg 10 September 1872 11 October 1872 Stafford
(11) Julius Vogel Julius Vogel, ca 1870s.jpg 11 October 1872 6 July 1875 Waterhouse
Fox
Vogel
13 Harry Atkinson Sir Harry Albert Atkinson, ca 1885.jpg 6 July 1875 15 February 1876 Pollen
(11) Julius Vogel Julius Vogel, ca 1870s.jpg 15 February 1876 1 September 1876 Vogel
(13) Harry Atkinson Sir Harry Albert Atkinson, ca 1885.jpg 1 September 1876 13 October 1877 Atkinson
14 William Larnach William Larnach, 1890.jpg 15 October 1877 5 March 1878 Grey
15 John Ballance John Ballance.jpg 12 March 1878 1 July 1879
16 George Grey GeorgeEdwardGrey01.jpg 10 July 1879 8 October 1879
(13) Harry Atkinson Sir Harry Albert Atkinson, ca 1885.jpg 8 October 1879 16 August 1884 Hall
Whitaker
Atkinson
(11) Julius Vogel Julius Vogel, ca 1870s.jpg 16 August 1884
3 September 1884
28 August 1884
8 October 1887
Stout
(13) Harry Atkinson Sir Harry Albert Atkinson, ca 1885.jpg 8 October 1887 24 January 1891 Atkinson
(15) John Ballance John Ballance.jpg 24 January 1891 27 April 1893 Ballance
17 Joseph Ward Joseph Ward (15784132417).jpg 1 May 1893 16 June 1896 Seddon
18 Richard Seddon Richard John Seddon, ca 1890.jpg 16 June 1896 10 June 1906
19 William Hall-Jones William Hall-Jones 2.jpg 21 June 1906 6 August 1906 Hall-Jones
(17) Joseph Ward Joseph Ward (15784132417).jpg 6 August 1906 28 March 1912 Ward
20 Arthur Myers Arthur Mielziener Myers Portrait.jpg 28 March 1912 10 July 1912 Mackenzie
21 James Allen James Allen portrait.jpg 10 July 1912 12 August 1915 Massey
(17) Joseph Ward Joseph Ward (15784132417).jpg 12 August 1915 21 August 1919
(21) James Allen James Allen portrait.jpg 4 September 1919 28 April 1920
22 William Massey William Ferguson Massey 1919.jpg 12 May 1920 10 May 1925
23 William Nosworthy No image.png 14 May 1925 24 May 1926 Bell
Coates
24 William Downie Stewart, Jr. William Downie Stewart, Jr.jpg 24 May 1926 10 December 1928
(17) Joseph Ward Joseph Ward (15784132417).jpg 10 December 1928 28 May 1930 Ward
25 George Forbes George William Forbes.jpg 28 May 1930 22 September 1931 Forbes
(24) William Downie Stewart, Jr. William Downie Stewart, Jr.jpg 22 September 1931 28 January 1933
26 Gordon Coates Joseph Gordon Coates, 1931.jpg 28 January 1933 6 December 1935
27 Walter Nash Walter Nash (ca 1940s).jpg 6 December 1935 13 December 1949 Savage
Fraser
28 Sidney Holland Sidney George Holland (1953).jpg 13 December 1949 Nov 1954 Holland
29 Jack Watts Jack Watts.PNG Nov 1954 12 December 1957
Holyoake
30 Arnold Nordmeyer Arnold Nordmeyer (1950).jpg 12 December 1957 12 December 1960 Nash
31 Harry Lake Harry Lake.jpg 12 December 1960 March 1967 Holyoake
32 Robert Muldoon Muldoon 26 June 1969.jpg March 1967 8 December 1972
Marshall
33 Bill Rowling Bill Rowling, 1962.jpg 8 December 1972 6 September 1974 Kirk
34 Bob Tizard No image.png 6 September 1974 12 December 1975 Rowling
(32) Robert Muldoon Muldoon 26 June 1969.jpg 12 December 1975 26 July 1984 Muldoon
35 Roger Douglas Roger Douglas 2008.jpg 26 July 1984 14 December 1988 Lange
36 David Caygill David Caygill, 2013.jpg 14 December 1988 2 November 1990
Palmer
Moore
37 Ruth Richardson No image.png 2 November 1990 November 1993 Bolger
38 Bill Birch Bill Birch.jpg Nov 1993 Jan 1999
Shipley
39 Bill English Bill English.jpg Jan 1999 Jun 1999
(38) Bill Birch Bill Birch.jpg Jun 1999 5 December 1999
40 Michael Cullen Michael Cullen.jpg 5 December 1999 19 November 2008 Clark
(39) Bill English Bill English.jpg 19 November 2008 incumbent Key

List of Treasurers[edit]

Colour key
(for political parties)

 NZ First  
 National  

No. Name Portrait Term of Office Prime Minister
1 Winston Peters Winston Peters, 2011.jpg 16 December 1996 14 August 1998 Bolger
Shipley
2 Bill Birch Bill Birch.jpg 14 August 1998 Jun 1999
3 Bill English Bill English.jpg Jun 1999 5 December 1999

References[edit]

  1. ^ Clifton, Jane (19 September 2013). "Influentials: Politics". New Zealand Listener. Retrieved 15 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Cyclopedia Company Limited (1897). "Mr. George Cooper". The Cyclopedia of New Zealand : Wellington Provincial District. Wellington. Retrieved 12 June 2010. 

External links[edit]