Minister of Finance (New Zealand)

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The Minister of Finance is a senior figure within the government of New Zealand. The position is often considered to be the most important Cabinet role after that of the Prime Minister.

The current Minister of Finance is Michael Cullen. There are also three Associate Minister roles. They are currently held by Hon. Trevor Mallard, Hon. Phil Goff and Hon. Clayton Cosgrove.

Contents

[edit] Responsibilities and powers

The Minister of Finance is responsible for producing an annual Budget outlining the government's proposed expenditure. According to Parliament's Standing Orders, the Minister of Finance may veto any parliamentary bill which would have a significant impact on the government's budget plans. The Minister of Finance also supervises the Treasury, which is the government's primary advisor on matters of economic and financial policy. As such, the Minister of Finance has broad control of the government's spending, making the position quite powerful.

Some analysts, such as Jonathan Boston, claim that the Minister of Finance can sometimes hold more influence than the Prime Minister, if the conditions are right. Gordon Coates, Finance Minister in the early 1930s, was sometimes such a figure. Some political scientists, such as Boston, believe that in the government of David Lange, Minister of Finance Roger Douglas held more power than was proper, and that the Treasury was using its control of government finances to take a supervisory role across the whole administration. It was probably for this reason that Lange's successor, Geoffrey Palmer, established the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, which could offer the Prime Minister advice independent of that given by individual ministers.

[edit] History

The office of Minister of Finance has existed since New Zealand's first cabinet was formed in 1856. Apart from the office of Prime Minister itself, the only other cabinet posts to have existed since the first cabinet are those of Attorney-General and Minister of Internal Affairs. Originally, the holder of the post was designated "Colonial Treasurer", but this term was replaced with "Minister of Finance" shortly after New Zealand ceased to be a Colony and became a Dominion. This occurred in 1907, during the cabinet of Joseph Ward.

In the past, it was not particularly uncommon for a Prime Minister to take the post of Minister of Finance themselves. In recent times, however, this practice has declined. Robert Muldoon, the last person to concurrently serve as Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, created considerable controversy by doing so. It is more common, however, for a Deputy Prime Minister to serve as Minister of Finance. The present Minister of Finance, Michael Cullen, is also the Deputy Prime Minister.

After the 1996 elections, the role of the Minister of Finance was split between two portfolios - that of Minister of Finance and that of Treasurer. The position of Treasurer was senior to that of the Minister of Finance, and was created as part of the coalition agreement between the National Party and New Zealand First. It was established especially for Winston Peters, leader of New Zealand First, who demanded it as part of the deal. When Peters ended the coalition, the position reverted to the National Party, and after the change of government in 1999, it was reincorporated into the old Minister of Finance portfolio.

[edit] List of Finance Ministers

Name PM Served Took Office Left Office Party
1 Dillon Bell Sewell 7 May 1856 20 May 1856 None
2 Charles Brown Fox 20 May 1856 2 June 1856 None
3 Henry Sewell Stafford 2 June 1856 4 November 1856 None
4 William Richmond Stafford 4 November 1856 25 February 1859 None
Henry Sewell, 2nd time Stafford 25 February 1859 26 April 1859 None
William Richmond, 2nd time Stafford 26 April 1859 12 July 1861 None
5 Reader Wood Fox 12 July 1861 6 August 1862 None
Dillon Bell, 2nd time Domett 6 August 1862 21 August 1862 None
Reader Wood, 2nd time Domett, Whitaker 21 August 1862 24 November 1864 None
6 William Fitzherbert Weld 24 November 1864 16 October 1865 None
7 Edward Stafford (himself) 31 October 1865 12 June 1866 None
8 Francis Jollie Stafford 12 June 1866 24 August 1866 None
William Fitzherbert, 2nd time Stafford 24 August 1866 28 June 1869 None
9 Julius Vogel Fox 28 June 1869 10 September 1872 None
10 Thomas Gillies Stafford 10 September 1872 11 October 1872 None
Julius Vogel, 2nd time Waterhouse, Fox, (himself) 11 October 1872 6 July 1875 None
11 Harry Atkinson Pollen 6 July 1875 15 February 1876 None
Julius Vogel, 3rd time (himself) 15 February 1876 1 September 1876 None
Harry Atkinson, 2nd time (himself) 1 September 1876 13 October 1877 None
12 William Larnach Grey 15 October 1877 5 March 1878 None
13 John Ballance Grey 12 July 1878 1 July 1879 None
14 George Grey (himself) 10 July 1879 8 October 1879 None
Harry Atkinson, 3rd time Hall, Whitaker, (himself) 8 October 1879 16 August 1884 None
Julius Vogel, 4th time Stout 16 August 1884 28 August 1884 None
Julius Vogel, 5th time Stout 3 September 1884 8 October 1887 None
Harry Atkinson, 4th time (himself) 8 October 1887 24 January 1881 None
John Ballance, 2nd time (himself) 24 January 1891 27 April 1893 Liberal
15 Joseph Ward Seddon 1 May 1893 16 June 1896 Liberal
16 Richard Seddon (himself) 16 June 1896 10 June 1906 Liberal
17 William Hall-Jones (himself) 21 June 1906 6 August 1906 Liberal
Joseph Ward, 2nd time (himself) 6 August 1906 28 March 1912 Liberal
18 Arthur Myers Mackenzie 28 March 1912 10 July 1912 Liberal
19 James Allen Massey 10 July 1912 12 August 1915 Reform
Joseph Ward, 3rd time Massey 12 August 1915 21 August 1919 Liberal
James Allen Massey 4 September 1919 28 April 1920 Reform
20 William Massey (himself) 12 May 1920 10 May 1925 Reform
21 William Nosworthy Bell, Coates 14 May 1925 24 May 1926 Reform
22 William Downie Stewart Coates 24 May 1926 10 December 1928 Reform
Joseph Ward, 4th time (himself) 10 December 1928 28 May 1930 United (Liberal)
23 George William Forbes (himself) 28 May 1930 22 September 1931 United (Liberal)
William Downie Stewart, 2nd time Forbes 22 September 1931 28 January 1933 Reform
24 Gordon Coates Forbes 28 January 1933 6 December 1935 Reform
25 Walter Nash Savage, Fraser 6 December 1935 13 December 1949 Labour
26 Sidney Holland (himself) 13 December 1949 Nov 1954 National
27 Jack Watts Holland, Holyoake Nov 1954 12 December 1957 National
28 Arnold Nordmeyer Nash 12 December 1957 12 December 1960 Labour
29 Harry Lake Holyoake 12 December 1960 Mar 1967 National
30 Robert Muldoon Holyoake, Marshall Mar 1967 8 December 1972 National
31 Bill Rowling Kirk 8 December 1972 6 September 1974 Labour
32 Bob Tizard Rowling 6 September 1974 12 December 1975 Labour
Robert Muldoon, 2nd time (himself) 12 December 1975 26 July 1984 National
33 Roger Douglas Lange 26 July 1984 Jul 1989 Labour
34 David Caygill Lange, Palmer, Moore Jul 1989 2 November 1990 Labour
35 Ruth Richardson Bolger 2 November 1990 Nov 1993 National
36 Bill Birch Bolger Nov 1993 16 December 1996 National
Bill Birch, continued Treasurer: Peters Bolger, Shipley 16 December 1996 14 August 1998 National
Bill Birch, continued Treasurer: (himself) Shipley 14 August 1996 Jan 1999 National
37 Bill English Treasurer: Birch Shipley Jan 1999 Jun 1999 National
Bill Birch, 2nd time Treasurer: English Shipley Jun 1999 5 December 1999 National
38 Michael Cullen Clark 5 December 1999 (present) Labour

[edit] External links

Minister of Finance (New Zealand)

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