Peter McCardle

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Peter McCardle in 1992.

Peter McCardle (born 28 September 1955), is a New Zealand politician. He was an MP from 1990 to 1999, first as a member of the National Party, then as a member of New Zealand First, and finally as an independent. McCardle was deputy mayor of Upper Hutt from 2007 to 2013.

Pre-parliamentary career[edit]

McCardle originally worked for the New Zealand Employment Service, and was prompted to enter politics by a desire to make a significant contribution to unemployment and welfare policy.

Member of Parliament[edit]

Parliament of New Zealand
Years Term Electorate List Party
1990–93 43rd Heretaunga National
1993–96 44th Heretaunga National
1996 Changed allegiance to: NZ First
1996–98 45th List 4 NZ First
1998–99 Changed allegiance to: Independent

McCardle was first elected to Parliament in the 1990 elections as the National MP for the Heretaunga electorate, defeating the Labour MP Bill Jeffries. McCardle was re-elected in the 1993 elections, defeating Labour Party candidate Heather Simpson (now Helen Clark's Chief of Staff).

McCardle, however, found his party colleagues unwilling to adopt his radical employment policies, which were primarily based around the idea of "workfare". In 1996, after being involved in failed discussions with Mike Moore to form a new party, McCardle eventually decided to leave National and join the New Zealand First party, where he hoped to have greater influence.[1]

McCardle was re-elected to Parliament as a New Zealand First list MP in the 1996 elections, also unsuccessfully contesting the Rimutaka seat. In the coalition government formed by National and New Zealand First, McCardle became Minister of Employment, and set about implementing some of his proposals. When the coalition began to collapse, McCardle joined the group that broke from New Zealand First to continue supporting the government. He did not retain his Employment portfolio, but was given other ministerial roles. He remained an independent for the duration of the parliamentary term, but did not choose to seek re-election.

Post-parliamentary career[edit]

Soon after the 1999 election Dr. Muriel Newman, the ACT Welfare Spokesman, hired McCardle as a consultant. McCardle eventually was offered the role as head of the ACT Parliamentary Research Unit.

In the 2001 local body elections and district health board elections McCardle was elected as an Upper Hutt City councillor and Hutt Valley District Health Board member, both roles he successfully defended in the 2004 and 2007 elections. He was re-elected to the Upper Hutt council in 2010 but stood down at the 2013 election to campaign against local-body amalgamation in the Wellington region. He served as deputy mayor from 2007 to 2013.[2][3]

McCardle left his ACT Parliamentary Office role before the 2005 election to write his memoirs.

McCardle resigned from the Hutt Valley District Health Board in 2008, when he became senior advisor to the new National Party Minister of Health, Tony Ryall. McCardle and Ryall entered Parliament together in 1990.


  1. ^ Jonathan Boston; Elizabeth McLeay; Stephen Levine; Nigel S. Roberts (1996). New Zealand Under Mmp: A New Politics?. Auckland University Press. p. 196. ISBN 1-86940-138-7. 
  2. ^ Chipp, Jim (28 November 2012). "Upper Hutt deputy mayor quits to fight super city plans". Dominion Post. Retrieved 14 March 2014. 
  3. ^ Williams, Colin (30 October 2013). "Crucial term for new deputy mayor". Dominion Post. Retrieved 14 March 2014. 
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Bill Jeffries
Member of Parliament for Heretaunga
Constituency abolished