Peter Neilson (politician born 1954)

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Peter Neilson
Neilson in 1986
34th Minister of Works and Development
In office
9 February 1990 – 2 November 1990
Prime MinisterGeoffrey Palmer
Mike Moore
Preceded byBill Jeffries
Succeeded byDoug Kidd
20th Minister of Revenue
In office
9 February 1990 – 2 November 1990
Prime MinisterGeoffrey Palmer
Mike Moore
Preceded byDavid Caygill
Succeeded byWyatt Creech
51st Minister of Customs
In office
8 August 1989 – 2 November 1990
Prime MinisterGeoffrey Palmer
Mike Moore
Preceded byMargaret Shields
Succeeded byWyatt Creech
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Miramar
In office
28 November 1981 – 27 October 1990
Preceded byBill Young
Succeeded byGraeme Reeves
Personal details
Born(1954-07-12)12 July 1954
Birmingham, England
Died9 February 2022(2022-02-09) (aged 67)
Political partyLabour
SpouseMegan Clark

Peter Neilson (12 July 1954 – 9 February 2022) was a New Zealand businessman and politician who was a Labour Party Member of Parliament in the New Zealand House of Representatives.


Early life and career[edit]

Neilson's father was born in Auckland, but raised in England. Neilson was born on 12 July 1954 in Birmingham, England, and moved to New Zealand in 1958 with his family. He was educated at Glendowie College and University of Auckland, where he graduated with a bachelor of commerce in 1977. He had one son and one daughter with his wife Megan Clark.[1]

He became an economist and later a senior research officer at the Department of Labour.[2]

Political career[edit]

Neilson joined the Labour Party in 1972 and stood for the Auckland Regional Authority in the 1974 local elections on a Labour ticket alongside future parliamentary colleagues Helen Clark and Richard Northey. He stood in the Auckland city ward but was unsuccessful.[3] He was later Labour's campaign chairman at the 1977 local elections, chair of the Tamaki electorate committee, Secretary of Labour's Youth Council and Treasurer of the Wellington Labour Local Body Committee.[4]

Member of parliament[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1981–1984 40th Miramar Labour
1984–1987 41st Miramar Labour
1987–1990 42nd Miramar Labour

He represented the Wellington electorate of Miramar in Parliament from 1981 to 1990, when he was defeated by Graeme Reeves.[5] In 1983 he was appointed Labour's spokesperson for Employment and Productivity by Labour leader David Lange.[6] He became chairman of a convenor and secretary of a caucus economic committee and tasked with finding methods to leave the then current wage and price freeze in New Zealand.[2]

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the construction of New Zealand's first state house located in the Miramar electorate, Neilson and Minister of Housing, Helen Clark, carried a coffee table through the same door that former Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage had done 50 years before. The stunt was referred to as an act of "overt symbolism".[7]

Cabinet minister[edit]

In 1984 Neilson was appointed a Parliamentary Under-Secretary to Minister of Trade and Industry during Fourth Labour Government of New Zealand.[8] In Labour's second term Neilson was a member of the New Zealand Cabinet from 1987 to 1990. He was Minister of Revenue, Customs, Works and Development and Associate Minister for State‑Owned Enterprises and Finance.[9] As a minister he privatised the Government Printing Office and State Insurance Company.[10]

Later life and death[edit]

After exiting parliament Neilson began a career as a business consultant. He undertook several overseas commissions for Ernst & Young before leaving to become Chief Executive Officer of the Sustainable Business Network.[11]

From 2011 until 2016 he was chief executive of the New Zealand Financial Services Council.[12] He was Chairperson of the Simplicity Charitable Trust, which manages a KiwiSaver scheme in New Zealand.[13] He was also a board member for the National Foundation for Deaf & Hard of Hearing.[14]

Neilson made a return to politics and was a Labour Party candidate in the Manurewa-Papakura ward for the Auckland Council at the 2019 Auckland local elections.[15] He was unsuccessful.

He died on 9 February 2022, at the age of 67.[16]


  1. ^ Butcher, David (19 February 2022). "Obituary: Former MP who led the fight against inflation". Stuff. Retrieved 20 February 2022.
  2. ^ a b Bassett 2008, p. 70.
  3. ^ "Committee heads lose ARA places". Auckland Star. 14 October 1974. p. 9.
  4. ^ Who's Who 1987, pp. 78–79.
  5. ^ Wilson 1985, pp. 223.
  6. ^ "Labour leader allocates responsibilities". The Press. 17 March 1983. p. 3.
  7. ^ "The first state house". Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  8. ^ Wilson 1985, pp. 98.
  9. ^ "Business Council for Sustainable Development – Peter Neilson". Retrieved 17 June 2012.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ Bassett 2008, p. 516.
  11. ^ Bassett 2008, p. 540.
  12. ^ Edmunds, Susan (15 February 2016). "Former politician stands down from financial services industry body". Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  13. ^ "Simplicity KiwiSaver Low Cost Index Funds".
  14. ^ "National Foundation for Deaf & Hard of Hearing".
  15. ^ "Labour's Manurewa-Papakura Auckland Council Candidates". 20 June 2019. Retrieved 6 September 2019.
  16. ^ "Peter NEILSON Obituary (2022) The New Zealand Herald". Retrieved 11 February 2022.


  • Bassett, Michael (2008). Working with David: Inside the Lange Cabinet. Auckland: Hodder Moa. ISBN 978-1-86971-094-1.
  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.
  • Who's Who in the New Zealand Parliament 1987. Wellington: Parliamentary Service. 1987.
Political offices
Preceded by Minister of Works and Development
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Revenue
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Customs
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Miramar
Succeeded by