Fifth National Government of New Zealand

John Key, MP, Prime Minister of New Zealand and leader of the National Party.

The Fifth National Government of New Zealand is the current government of New Zealand, taking office on 19 November 2008. It is led by Prime Minister John Key.

After the 2008 general election the National Party and its allies were able to form a government, taking over from Helen Clark's Fifth Labour Government. It was subsequently reformed after the 2011 general election with a reduced number of seats, and after the 2014 general election with a reduced share of the party vote but the same number of seats. The Government has confidence and supply agreements with the following parties: ACT, United Future, and the Māori Party which gives the Government a majority on major legislation. The National Party also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Green Party after the 2008 election, but this lapsed in 2011 and was not renewed.

Significant policies


The Government was elected in the context of the late 2000s recession.


Social policy

National identity


Local government

In 2009 and 2010, the Government merged four city councils, three district councils and the Auckland Regional Council into one unitary "Super City". The Government's action differed from the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance.[18]

In March 2010, the Government removed the Environment Canterbury's Councillors and replaced them with appointed commissioners. The elections in 2010 of Environment Canterbury councillors which were pending in 2013 were postponed to ensure a Water Management Plan for Canterbury would be created.[19]




The 2008 election saw the Fifth National Government elected to power with 44.93 per cent of the popular vote, ending nine years of Labour government. National formed a minority government with confidence-and-supply support from the ACT, United Future and Māori parties. The Governor-General swore Key in as New Zealand's 38th Prime Minister on 19 November 2008.

2011 election

The 2011 election saw the Fifth National Government returned again and National in government with confidence-and-supply from the ACT, United Future and Maori parties, but with a reduced share of the votes and share of the seats in the House of Representatives.

The National Party increased its share of the party vote to 47.3 percent, but only increased one seat to 59 due to a reduced wasted vote (down to 3.4 percent from 6.5 percent in 2008), largely stemmed from the return of the New Zealand First party to Parliament after a one term absence. National's increased share of votes however largely came at the expense of other support parties, which saw decreases in vote share and seats. ACT only gained a third of its 2008 vote with 1.07 percent, reducing its seats from five to just one, while the defection of Hone Harawira to form the Mana Party saw the Maori Party's share of vote split, reducing the party to 1.43 percent and reducing the number of seats to three. The United Future Party saw its party vote drop by a quarter to 0.60 percent, but retained its single seat. The reformed Government therefore held 50.41 percent of the party vote and 64 of the 121 seats in Parliament.

2014 election

The 2014 election saw the Fifth National Government returned again; gaining a plurality with 47.0% of the party vote and 60 of the 121 seats. On election night counts the party appeared to hold the first majority since 1994 with 61 seats, but lost a list seat (for Maureen Pugh) to the Green Party on the official count (including special votes) of the party vote.[21] National re-entered confidence and supply agreements with the centrist United Future,[22] the classical liberal ACT Party,[23] and the indigenous rights-based Māori Party[24] to form a minority government.

Subsequently with the sudden resignation of Mike Sabin the National MP for Northland in January 2015, and his replacement in the subsequent 2015 by-election by New Zealand First leader Winston Peters, the government became more dependent on the support parties.

Electoral results

The following table shows the total votes* for National, plus parties supporting the National-led government. For more details of electoral results, see the relevant election articles.

Election Parliament Seats* Total votes* Percentage Gain/loss Seats won* Change Majority
2008 49th 122 1,215,371 51.84% - 69 - 7
2011 50th 121 1,127,952 50.41% –1.43% 64 −5 3
2014 51st 121 1,185,526 49.28% −1.13% 64 0 3

* 'Votes' means party votes only. 'Seats' means both list and electorate seats.

Prime Minister

John Key has been Prime Minister since the government was elected in the 2008 elections.

Cabinet Ministers

Portfolio Minister Term(s)
Deputy Prime Minister Bill English 2008–
Minister of Finance
Minister of Infrastructure 2008–2011
Minister for Economic Development Gerry Brownlee 2008–2011
Steven Joyce 2011–
Minister of Justice Simon Power 2008–2011
Judith Collins 2011–2014
Amy Adams 2014–
Minister of Health Tony Ryall 2008–2014
Jonathan Coleman 2014–
Minister for the Environment Nick Smith 2008–2012
Amy Adams 2012–14
Nick Smith 2014–
Minister of Police Judith Collins 2008–2011
Anne Tolley 2011–2014
Michael Woodhouse 2014-2015
Judith Collins 2015-
Minister of Education Anne Tolley 2008–2011
Hekia Parata, Lady Gardiner 2011–
Attorney-General Chris Finlayson 2008–
Minister of Agriculture David Carter 2008–2011
Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully 2008–
Minister of Trade Tim Groser 2008–2015
Todd McClay 2015–
Minister of Defence Wayne Mapp 2008–2011
Jonathan Coleman 2011–2014
Gerry Brownlee 2014–
Minister of Transport Steven Joyce 2008–2011
Gerry Brownlee 2011–
Minister for Courts Georgina te Heuheu 2008–2011
Chester Borrows 2011–2014
Amy Adams 2014–
Minister for Social Development Paula Bennett 2008–2014
Anne Tolley 2014–
Minister of Fisheries Phil Heatley 2008–2011
Minister for Ethnic Affairs Pansy Wong 2008–2010
Hekia Parata, Lady Gardiner 2011–2011
Judith Collins 2011–2014
Minister for Ethnic Communities Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga 2014–
Minister of Immigration Jonathan Coleman 2008–
Nathan Guy 2011-2014
Michael Woodhouse 2014–
Minister of Labour Kate Wilkinson 2008–2013
Simon Bridges 2013–2014
Minister for Workplace Health & Safety Michael Woodhouse 2014–
Minister of Internal Affairs Amy Adams 2011–2012
Chris Tremain 2012–2014
Peter Dunne 2014–
Minister of Local Government Nick Smith 2011–2012
David Carter 2012–2013
Chris Tremain 2013–2014
Paula Bennett 2014–
Minister for Primary Industries David Carter 2011–2013
Nathan Guy 2013–
Minister for Arts, Culture & Heritage Maggie Barry 2014–

Ministers outside Cabinet

Ministry Minister Term(s)
Minister of Customs Maurice Williamson 2008 –
Minister of Internal Affairs Richard Worth 2008 – June 2009
Nathan Guy June 2009 – 2011
Peter Dunne January 2014 –
Minister of Civil Defence John Carter 2008 – July 2011
Craig Foss July 2011 – December 2011
Chris Tremain December 2011 – April 2012
Nikki Kaye December 2011 –
Minister of Local Government Rodney Hide 2008 – 2011
Minister of Consumer Affairs Heather Roy 2008 – 2010
John Boscawen 2010 – May 2011
Chris Tremain 2011 – 2014
Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Paul Goldsmith October 2014 –
Minister of Māori Affairs Pita Sharples 2008 – 2014
Minister of Māori Development Te Ururoa Flavell 2014 –
Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector Tariana Turia 2008 – 2011
Jo Goodhew 2011 –
Minister of Revenue Peter Dunne 2008 – 2013
Todd McClay 2013 – 2015
Michael Woodhouse 2015 -


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External links

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