|Birth Date:||17 March 1954|
|Birth Place:||Christchurch, New Zealand|
|Order:||Minister of Revenue|
|Term Start:||17 October 2005|
|Party:||United Future New Zealand|
|Order2:||Leader of United Future|
(Previously Ohariu - Belmont)
|Term Start3:||17 July 1984|
Peter Dunne (born 17 March 1954), a New Zealand politician and Member of Parliament, leads the United Future political party. He has served as a Cabinet minister in governments dominated by the centre-left Labour Party as well as by the centre-right National Party. From 2005-2008 he held the posts of Minister of Revenue and Associate Minister of Health as a minister outside of Cabinet with the Labour-led government. After Labour suffered an election defeat in 2008 to the National Party, United Future was reduced to having Peter Dunne as its sole MP. However, in a deal between United Future and National, Dunne retained his two portfolios outside cabinet.
Peter Dunne was born in Christchurch. He gained an MA in political science from Canterbury University before studying business administration at Massey University. He worked for the Department of Trade and Industry from 1977 to 1978 and then for the Alcoholic Liquor Advisory Council until 1984. He served as Deputy Chief Executive of the Council from 1980 onwards. He and his wife have two sons.
|45th>||Ohariu - Belmont>||1>||United>|
|46th>||Ohariu - Belmont>||1>||United>|
|47th>||Ohariu - Belmont>||1>||United Future>|
|48th>||Ohariu - Belmont>||1>||United Future>|
In the 1984 elections, Dunne successfully stood for Parliament, winning the seat of Ohariu as a candidate of the Labour Party, defeating National MP Hugh Templeton. He held that seat in the 1987 elections, after which he became a Parliamentary Undersecretary. Later, in 1990, he became Minister of Regional Development, Associate Minister for the Environment, and Associate Minister of Justice. He retained his seat again in the 1990 elections, but the Labour government suffered defeat, and Dunne lost his ministerial posts.
In the 1993 elections, Dunne won the seat of Onslow, which covered much the same area as his former Ohariu seat. He found himself, however, increasingly at odds with the majority of the Labour Party Dunne tended to support Labour's right-leaning faction rather than the party's more unionist wing. With the departure of leading right-wingers like Roger Douglas, Richard Prebble and David Caygill he found himself isolated. In October 1994 Dunne resigned from the Labour Party, becoming an independent. A short time later, he established the Future New Zealand party (not to be confused with a later party of the same name).
In 1995, however, a group of MPs from both Labour and National decided to band together and form a new centrist party. Dunne, who had already quit his party in a similar way, decided to join the larger group. Together, the defectors and Dunne established the United New Zealand party, with a total of seven MPs, led by Clive Matthewson. United eventually established a coalition with the National Party, with the deal seeing Dunne return to Cabinet as Minister of Internal Affairs and Inland Revenue. See http://www.executive.govt.nz/93-96/minister/dunne/index.html
The 1996 elections, however, saw United almost completely wiped out Dunne, by virtue of his personal support, won the newly-formed seat of Ohariu-Belmont, but all other United MPs suffered defeat. As the sole surviving United member in the House, Dunne became the party's leader. Towards the end of the parliamentary term, Dunne became part of a varied assortment of minor parties and independents who kept the National Party government in office after its coalition with New Zealand First collapsed in August 1998. Dunne re-won his seat in the 1999 elections. In this contest, the National Party put up no candidate in his electorate.
Shortly before the 2002 elections, Dunne's United merged with the Future New Zealand party (not to be confused with Dunne's own earlier party of the same name). Dunne remained leader of the new group, called United Future New Zealand. In the 2002 elections, Dunne retained his seat despite challenges from both major parties. Mostly as a result of a strong performance by Dunne in a televised political debate, United Future surged unexpectedly in support, winning 6.69% of the nationwide party vote. In Parliament, United Future came to an agreement to support the governing Labour Party, although the two parties did not enter into a formal coalition arrangement. Dunne remained United Future's leader.
United Future, like other minor political parties working in coalition, suffered in the polls. The United Future entered an agreement to work formally with the Outdoor Recreation Party, a registered political party formed to represent the views of hunters, fishers, trampers and recreational users of the marine and natural environment.
Dunne retained his seat in the 2005 general election but his party's proportion of the nationwide vote diminished considerably, with a corresponding loss of seats in Parliament.
Dunne’s decision to support a Labour-led Government disappointed some. During the election campaign Dunne and National Leader Don Brash publicly sat outside an Epsom café over a cup of tea as a demonstration to the electorate that Dunne could co-operate with the National Party. This demonstration saw the majority of National supporters in Ohariu-Belmont combine with United Future and other Dunne-supporters to return Peter Dunne with a comfortable majority. National won the party vote in his seat by 3.57 percentage points over Labour. Dunne's party received 5.55%,while the Green Party, which Dunne had criticised heavily in the campaign, received 5.84%.
Dunne's decision to work with Winston Peters also couterpointed Dunne's previous comments about Peters' reliability. In one well-publicised press release Dunne reworded one of Peters’ well-publicised campaign phrases by saying "Can we trust him? No, we can’t!"
Don Brash expressed a lack of amusement with Dunne's decision to support a Labour-led coalition government. Brash expressed astonishment at Dunne accepting the important ministerial portfolio of Revenue while remaining outside Cabinet. Asked if he considered Mr Dunne guilty of dirty dealing, Dr Brash said he would not use those words. Representatives of business, however, welcomed the appointment.
After the New Zealand general election 2005, United Future retained only two list Members of Parliament, Judy Turner and Gordon Copeland. Copeland left the party in May 2007 to re-form the Future New Zealand Party, after opposing Dunne over Sue Bradford's private members bill against parental corporal punishment of children. After Copeland's departure, Judy Turner remained the only United Future List MP in Parliament.
United Future's share of the party vote declined further in the 2008 election, to less than one percent. However Dunne retained his electorate. The National Party won most seats overall and formed a minority government with support from Dunne, the Maori Party and Act New Zealand. Dunne retained his position of Minister of Revenue and also became an Associate Minister of Health. However, like Ministers from the other support parties, he remained outside Cabinet.
Dunne sees himself as a centrist and generally describes his policies as based on common sense. His supporters promote him as sensible and reasonable. Opponents incline rather to criticise him as a right-wing conservative, pointing to his opposition to drug-law reform, his opposition to the Civil Union Act (although he did support the legislation giving legal recognition to the institution of civil unions), his support for the tobacco industry, and his party's emphasis on family values. His record in Parliament has also come under scrutiny; supporters regard his willingness to work with either side of the House as a sign of reasonableness, while critics accuse him of opportunism, and of doing deals with anyone who can offer him something.
Against this, however, Dunne consistently supported Sue Bradford's Child Discipline Act, despite aversion to other elements of the Greens' social reform agenda, like decriminalisation of marijuana. He also strongly supported the decriminalisation of homosexuality when it became an issue in the mid 1980s, and has consistently favoured more liberal drinking laws. In a recent interview, he suggested it may be time to review New Zealand's abortion laws and leave the decision to a woman and her doctor, based on informed consent.
Since 2007, Dunne has rebranded United Future as a modern centre party, based on promoting strong families and vibrant communities. He wants United Future to become New Zealand's version of Britain's Liberal Democrats. Dunne has summarised his political views in two books, Home is Where My Heart Is (2002) and In the Centre of Things (2005).
Dunne strongly supports New Zealand becoming a republic, and holding an early referendum on the future of New Zealand's head of state is now part of United Future's policy programme . In 2004, he chaired the Constitutional Arrangements Committee. Dunne also supports the creation of a New Zealand Day and has sponsored a members' Bill on the issue.