Official Opposition (New Zealand)

Official Opposition (New Zealand)
New Zealand

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New Zealand


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The Official Opposition in New Zealand is usually the largest political party or coalition which is not a member of the ruling government. This means that the political party, while still involved with the political process in New Zealand, they do not have ministers or their supporters in a position of power. This is usually the second-largest party in a legislative house, although in certain unusual circumstances it may be the largest party (due to a larger Government bloc) or even a third or fourth party.

The Opposition aims to hold the government accountable and to present itself to the electorate as a credible government in waiting. For example, during Question Time, Opposition spokespersons will ask questions of Ministers with the aim of highlighting a weakness or embarrassing the government. Oppositions also engage in Parliamentary gestures such as refusal to grant confidence or voting down the Budget; however, as most governments comfortably retain the Parliamentary majority necessary to preserve confidence and supply, such gestures are largely symbolic.

With the introduction of MMP in 1996 (after referendums in 1992 and 1993), there was consideration to remove the official role of the Opposition; with several parties outside the government, it was no longer clear which party, if any, was 'the' opposition. This is complicated more by parties which occasionally act with the government and at other times vote against it. The unusual positioning that developed after the 2005 election further complicated the idea of 'opposition'. However, the continued dominance of the political scene by the National and Labour Parties means that the official Opposition has been retained, and inevitably the official Opposition is whichever of the National and Labour parties is not leading a Government at the time. Parties and Members of Parliament outside the government which do not work with the official Opposition party are said to "sit on the cross-benches".

Grand coalitions have been formed only twice in New Zealand, and on both occasions with the aim of forming a national response to a crisis. The first was the War Cabinet of 1915–1919, involving the Reform and Liberal Parties, under the leadership of Reform Prime Minister William Massey. The second was the Coalition Government of 1931–1935 to combat the Great Depression, between the United Party (successor to the Liberal Party) and the Reform Party, and led by United leader George Forbes. In both cases, Labour formed the official opposition. (It is however anachronistic to speak of a Labour Party until 1916; in 1915, the handful of MPs who were to become part of the Labour Party had been elected as "independent" candidates on behalf of several different social-democratic organisations.)

The Labour Party currently form the Official Opposition.

Shadow Ministry

As of 5 April 2011, the Official Opposition is as follows[1]:

Shadow Minister Portfolio
Phil Goff Leader of the Opposition
Shadow Minister in Charge of the NZ Security Intelligence Service
Annette King Deputy Leader of the Opposition
Shadow Minister for Social Policy
David Cunliffe Shadow Minister of Finance
David Parker Shadow Attorney-General
Shadow Minister for Economic Development
Shadow Minister for Energy
Associate Shadow Minister of Finance
Ruth Dyson Shadow Minister for Conservation
Shadow Minister of State Services
Shadow Minister of Immigration
Clayton Cosgrove Shadow Minister for Law and Order
Shadow Minister of Police
Shadow Minister of Corrections
Shadow Minister for State-Owned Enterprises
Associate Shadow Minister of Finance
Shadow Minister for Earthquake Recovery
Maryan Street Shadow Minister of Trade
Shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs
Shadow Minister for Overseas Development Assistance
Trevor Mallard Shadow Leader of the House
Shadow Minister for Sport and Recreation
Shadow Minister for Rugby World Cup
Shadow Minister for America's Cup
Associate Shadow Minister of Finance
Parekura Horomia Shadow Minister of Maori Affairs
Shadow Minister in Charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations
Charles Chauvel Shadow Minister of Justice
Shadow Minister for the Environment
Grant Robertson Shadow Minister of Health
Associate Shadow Minister for Arts, Culture, and Heritage
Sue Moroney Shadow Minister of Education
Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education
Shane Jones Shadow Minister of Transport
Shadow Minister for Infrastructure
Associate Shadow Minister of Maori Affairs
Shadow Minister of Fisheries
Lianne Dalziel Shadow Minister for Small Business
Shadow Minister of Commerce
Shadow Minister for Electoral Reform
Shadow Minister for Regulatory Reform
Su'a William Sio Shadow Minister for Pacific Island Affairs
Spokesperson for Interfaith Dialogue
Shadow Minister of Customs
Phil Twyford Shadow Minister of Local Government
Shadow Minister for Building and Construction
Shadow Minister Responsible for Auckland Issues
Moana Mackey Shadow Minister of Housing
Associate Shadow Minister for Research and Development, Science, and Technology
Jacinda Ardern Shadow Minister for Youth Affairs
Shadow Minister for Employment
Associate Shadow Minister for Arts, Culture, and Heritage
Nanaia Mahuta Shadow Minister for Maori Social Development
Shadow Minister for the Voluntary and Community Sector
Damien O'Connor Shadow Minister for Rural Affairs
Shadow Minister for Biosecurity
Shadow Minister of Agriculture
Steve Chadwick Junior Whip
Shadow Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage
Darien Fenton Shadow Minister of Labour
Shadow Minister for Transport Safety
David Shearer Shadow Minister for Tertiary Education
Shadow Minister for Research and Development, Science, and Technology
Stuart Nash Shadow Minister of Revenue
Shadow Minister of Forestry
Associate Shadow Minister for Trade
Chris Hipkins Shadow Minister of Internal Affairs
Shadow Minister of ACC
Kelvin Davis Shadow Minister of Tourism
Shadow Minister for Special Education
Associate Shadow Minister of Maori Affairs
Brendon Burns Shadow Minister Responsible for Climate Change Issues
Shadow Minister for Water Quality
Associate Shadow Minister for the Environment
Rick Barker Chief Whip
Shadow Minister for Courts
Shadow Minister of Veterans' Affairs
Ross Robertson Shadow Minister for Racing
Shadow Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control
Carol Beaumont Shadow Minister for Women's Affairs
Shadow Minister for Consumer Affairs
Associate Shadow Minister for Education
Clare Curran Shadow Minister for Communication and IT
Shadow Minister of Broadcasting
Ashraf Choudhary Shadow Minister for Food Safety
Associate Shadow Minister for Ethnic Affairs
Associate Shadow Minister for Research and Development, Science, and Technology
Raymond Huo Shadow Minister for the Law Commission
Shadow Minister of Statistics
Shadow Minister for Chinese Community Affairs
Iain Lees-Galloway Shadow Minister for Land Information
Shadow Minister of Defence
Associate Shadow Minister of Health (Drugs & Alcohol)
Associate Shadow Ministor for Transport
Rajen Prasad Shadow Minister of Ethnic Affairs
Associate Shadow Minister for Social Development
Mita Ririnui Associate Shadow Minister in Charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations
Associate Shadow Minister for Health (Maori)
Carmel Sepuloni Shadow Minister for Disability Issues
Associate Shadow Minister of Justice (Victims Rights)
Associate Shadow Minister for Social Development
Kris Faafoi Shadow Minister of Civil Defence
Associate Shadow Minister of Pacific Island Affairs


  1. ^ "Labour MPs". Retrieved 10 April 2011. 

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