Paul Foster-Bell

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Paul Foster-Bell
Paul Foster-Bell profile.jpg
Portrait of Paul Foster-Bell
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for National party list
In office
21 May 2013 (2013-05-21) – 23 September 2017 (2017-09-23)
Preceded by Jackie Blue
Personal details
Born March 1977
Whangarei, New Zealand
Political party National Party
Residence Wellington
Alma mater University of Otago
Occupation Member of Parliament
  • Member, Local Government and Environment Committee
  • Member, Parliamentary Service Commission Arts Committee
  • Deputy Chairperson, Government Administration Committee
Website Profile on Parliament website

Paul Ayers Robert Foster-Bell (born March 1977) is a former New Zealand diplomat, a politician and was a list member of the House of Representatives between May 2013 and 2017. He is a member of the National Party and a monarchist. He failed to win the party's nomination for the Whangarei electorate in March 2014, but remained in Parliament as a list MP for the following term.

Early life[edit]

Foster-Bell was born in Whangarei in 1977 and grew up on a beef farm in the Portland area. His parents are Bob and Alyse Foster-Bell.[1] He attended Otaika Primary School, Raumanga Intermediate and Whangarei Boys' High School. He studied in Dunedin, gaining a degree in archaeology (2003) and a diploma in business (2008) from Otago University. He is of English, Scots, Irish, Portuguese and Māori descent.[2][3]


Foster-Bell was a diplomat and his last assignment was as Deputy Head of Mission at the New Zealand Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, having previously served as First Secretary & Consul in Tehran in Iran, and Deputy High Commissioner to Pakistan. In Wellington he worked in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade's (MFAT) Middle East and Africa division, as Deputy Chief of Protocol, and as a Regional Manager in the Ministry's Security Directorate.[4] He took leave from MFAT from June to November 2011 to contest a parliamentary election.[3]

Foster-Bell was vice-chair of Monarchy New Zealand in 2012–13.[5]

Member of Parliament[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate List Party
2013–2014 50th List 56 National
2014–2017 51st List 46 National

Foster-Bell contested Dunedin South at the 2002 general election, losing to incumbent David Benson-Pope.[6] Foster-Bell stood in the Wellington Central electorate during the 2011 general election.[2] Foster-Bell was called to Parliament in May 2013 as a list MP, replacing Jackie Blue.[4][7][8] He was sworn in on 28 May 2013.[9] He is a member of the Health Committee and of the Justice and Electoral Committee.[10]

Foster-Bell speaking at the 2014 Aro Valley candidates meeting before the election

In March 2014, Foster-Bell sought the National Party nomination in the Whangarei electorate, but was beaten by Shane Reti.[6][11] Foster-Bell stood in Wellington Central once more, and was beaten by Labour's Grant Robertson. With a higher list placing of 46, he remains a member of parliament.[12]

Foster-Bell is part of a cross-party group iniatated by Jan Logie to look at and advocate for LGBTI rights. This group consists of Catherine Delahunty (Green), Chris Bishop (National), David Seymour (Act), Denis O'Rouke (NZ First), Denise Roche (Green), James Shaw (Green), Jan Logie (Green), Kevin Hague (Green), Louisa Wall (Labour), Nanaia Mahuta (Labour), Paul Foster-Bell (National), and Trevor Mallard (Labour).[13]

Foster-Bell courted controversy in 2016 when news broke that he had 12 staff leave his office in the 2013–2016 period, amidst claims by former staffers that he had bullied them. Foster-Bell strongly denied these allegations, saying that he was not a bully.[14]

In 2016 Foster-Bell also received criticism for his travel expenses, which totaled more than $61,000 for a one year period. Prime Minister John Key defended Foster-Bell's expenses, saying "It's not unusual for us to use a list MP, certainly someone with skills like he has in foreign affairs, around the country. Other MPs ask him to support them in terms of talks or seminars ... or to fill in, for instance, for ministers." [15][16]

In February 2017, Foster-Bell announced that he had withdrawn from the National Party's candidate selections for the 2017 election and would retire from politics.[17]

Personal life[edit]

In 2016 Foster-Bell announced that he was gay in response to remarks made by Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki regarding homosexuals.[18]


  1. ^ Foster-Bell, Paul (12 June 2013). "Paul Foster-Bell – maiden speech". New Zealand National Party. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Paul Foster-Bell to stand for National in Wellington Central". The New Zealand Herald. 21 April 2011. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Paul Foster-Bell – Biography". New Zealand National Party. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Shuttleworth, Kate (22 April 2013). "Former MP rules out return to Parliament". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  5. ^ "Executive". Monarchy New Zealand. 2012. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Bennett, Adam (1 November 2013). "New list MP seeks nomination for Whangarei electorate". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 27 September 2014. 
  7. ^ Peden, Robert Andrew (21 May 2013). "Declaration by Electoral Commission That Paul Ayers Robert Foster-Bell is Elected a Member of Parliament". New Zealand Gazette. p. 1741. Retrieved 29 May 2013. 
  8. ^ "Diplomat to become new National MP". 3 News. 24 April 2013. Retrieved 29 May 2013. 
  9. ^ Bradford-Crozier, Katie (28 May 2013). "Paul Foster-Bell sworn in as MP". Newstalk ZB. Retrieved 28 May 2013. 
  10. ^ "Paul Foster-Bell". New Zealand Parliament. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  11. ^ Watkins, Tracy (10 March 2014). "Labour announces Chch Central candidate". The Press. p. A2. Retrieved 10 March 2014. 
  12. ^ "Status quo for Wellington region". 20 September 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2014. 
  13. ^ Jones, Nicholas (23 May 2015). "MPs' group to focus on LGBTI people's rights". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 4 December 2015. 
  14. ^ "'I'm not a bully' – Nat MP". Stuff. Retrieved 1 July 2016. 
  15. ^ "MP Paul Foster-Bell's travel bill OK, says John Key". New Zealand Herald. 28 June 2016. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 1 July 2016. 
  16. ^ "Key defends backbencher's bill". Stuff. Retrieved 1 July 2016. 
  17. ^ "National MP Paul Foster-Bell who challenged Brian Tamaki's 'gay' earthquake slur to quit". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 26 February 2017. 
  18. ^ "National MP Paul Foster-Bell says Brian Tamaki earthquake 'outburst' inspired him to speak about being gay". Stuff. Retrieved 4 December 2016. 

External links[edit]