Rod Donald

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Rod Donald
1st Male co-leader of the Green Party
In office
21 May 1995 – 6 November 2005
Co-leading with Jeanette Fitzsimons
Succeeded byDr Russel Norman
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Green party list
In office
1999 – 6 November 2005
Succeeded byNándor Tánczos
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Alliance party list
In office
1996 – 1999
Personal details
Born(1957-10-10)10 October 1957
Died6 November 2005(2005-11-06) (aged 48)
NationalityNew Zealand
Political partyGreen Party
Other political
Labour (1982–1988)
Values (1974–1979)
Domestic partnerNicola Shirlaw
ResidenceChristchurch, New Zealand

Rodney David "Rod" Donald (10 October 1957 – 6 November 2005), was a New Zealand politician who co-led the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand, along with Jeanette Fitzsimons.

He lived in Christchurch with his partner Nicola Shirlaw, and their three daughters.[1][2]

Early political career[edit]

Donald held Values Party membership from 1974 to 1979 and then Labour Party membership from 1982 to 1988. On becoming national spokesperson of the impartial Electoral Reform Coalition from 1989 to 1993 he had to resign his party membership. After the success of the MMP referendum at the 1993 election he joined the Green Party in February 1994. After he became co-leader of the Greens in 1995, voters first elected him to Parliament in the 1996 election as an Alliance list MP.

The Green Party left the Alliance to stand alone in the 1999 election. He entered the 1999 parliament as number two on the Greens' party list. He retained his list seat in the 2002 and 2005 elections.

Member of Parliament[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate List Party
1996–1999 45th List 10 Alliance
1999–2002 46th List 2 Green
2002–2005 47th List 2 Green
2005 48th List 2 Green

For many years Donald had a special interest in electoral reform in New Zealand. From 1989 to 1993 he served as spokesperson for the Electoral Reform Coalition during the campaign that led to the introduction of mixed-member proportional (MMP) representation. Subsequently, he played a major part in getting legislation passed to allow STV voting in local body elections in New Zealand. Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons described MMP as Donald's greatest legacy.[2]

He also served as the Green Party spokesperson on Buy Kiwi Made,[3] commerce, electoral reform, finance and revenue, land information, regional development and small business, superannuation, sustainable economics, state services, statistics, tourism, trade, and waste.


Shortly after midnight on 6 November 2005, the day before his scheduled swearing-in for his fourth term in Parliament, he died suddenly at his Christchurch home after suffering for a few days from Campylobacter jejuni food poisoning from an unknown source. An autopsy initially ruled out a heart attack, but subsequent test-results determined that death resulted from an inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis), which is a very rare consequence of C. jejuni infection.[4] He was 48 years old. His funeral, which took place at the Cathedral of ChristChurch, was attended by over 1,000 people.[5] His casket arrived on board an electric bus and his wake took place at the adjacent Warner's Hotel.[6] The Parliament showed its respect for Donald by suspending a day of business, and a minute of silence was observed in the House of Representatives.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Hundreds farewell Rod Donald". Television New Zealand. 10 November 2005. Retrieved 21 May 2010.
  2. ^ a b Taylor, Kevin (7 November 2005). "MMP Donald's greatest legacy, says Fitzsimons". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 21 May 2010.
  3. ^ "Greens still missing Rod Donald "a lot" one year after his death". The New Zealand Herald. 3 November 2006. Retrieved 21 May 2010.
  4. ^ "Rod Donald died after rare food bug". The New Zealand Herald. 12 February 2007.
  5. ^ "Rod Donald cause of death released". Radio New Zealand. Television New Zealand. 11 November 2005. Retrieved 21 May 2010.
  6. ^ Smith, Cullen (10 November 2005). "Christchurch at standstill for Donald funeral". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 6 April 2011.

External links[edit]

  • VIDEO of Rod Donald speaking on 'Fairness In Trade'[1]
  • VIDEO of Rod Donald speaking (humorously) at the Winter 2000 GPANZ conference in Turangi on 3 June 2000 Video on YouTube
  • Rod Donald biography (Green Party website)
Party political offices
New political party Male co-leader of the Green Party
Served alongside: Jeanette Fitzsimons
Succeeded by
Dr Russel Norman