Jonathan Hunt (New Zealand politician)

For other uses, see Jonathan Hunt (disambiguation).
The Right Honourable
Jonathan Lucas Hunt

Jonathan Hunt in 2006, in the penthouse in New Zealand House, London
26th Speaker of the House of Representatives
In office
5 December 1999  3 March 2005
Prime Minister Helen Clark
Preceded by Doug Kidd
Succeeded by Margaret Wilson
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for New Lynn
In office
Preceded by Rex Mason
Succeeded by Phil Goff
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Labour Party list
In office
Personal details
Born (1938-12-02) 2 December 1938
Lower Hutt,
New Zealand
Nationality New Zealand
Political party Labour
Profession High school teacher

Jonathan Lucas Hunt, ONZ (born 2 December 1938) is a New Zealand politician, and was New Zealand's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom from 2005 to March 2008.[1] He formerly served as Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives. He is a member of the Labour Party, and was until recently the longest-serving MP in Parliament. Hunt is a member of the Order of New Zealand, New Zealand's highest civilian honour.

Early life

Hunt was born in Lower Hutt, but grew up in Palmerston North and Auckland. After studying at Palmerston North Boys' High School and later Auckland Grammar School, he enrolled at the University of Auckland, where he gained a BA (Hons) degree in history.

In 1958 Hunt was elected editor of the Auckland University Students' Association's (AUSA) Craccum magazine for the 1959 year. While at University Hunt is also credited with founding the Princes Street Labour branch.

After graduating, Hunt became a history teacher at Kelston Boys High School in West Auckland and then a university tutor. Hunt also has a long-standing relationship with the Department of Political Studies at the University, which for many years has collected and archived Hunt's personal and professional papers.

Member of Parliament

Parliament of New Zealand
Years Term Electorate List Party
19661969 35th New Lynn Labour
19691972 36th New Lynn Labour
19721975 37th New Lynn Labour
19751978 38th New Lynn Labour
19781981 39th New Lynn Labour
19811984 40th New Lynn Labour
19841987 41st New Lynn Labour
19871990 42nd New Lynn Labour
19931996 44th New Lynn Labour
19961999 45th List 7 Labour
19992002 46th List 6 Labour
20022005 47th List 3 Labour

In 1966, Hunt was elected to Parliament in Auckland's New Lynn electorate. He remained MP for New Lynn until 1996, when he became a list MP after losing in Tamaki to National's Clem Simich. Hunt was returned twice more as a list MP; losing Waitakere to National's Brian Neeson in the 1999 election, and as a list-only candidate in the 2002 election. At various times, he served as Minister of Telecommunications and Broadcasting, Minister of Tourism, Minister of Housing, and Postmaster General. He was the longest-serving member of Parliament, earning him the unofficial title of 'Father of the House'. In 1989, Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer nominated Hunt a member of the Privy Council in recognition of his long service.

Speaker of the House of Representatives

Hunt was elected Chairman of Committees and served from 1974 to 1975.[2] He was elected Speaker when the fifth Labour government came to power in 1999. He retained his position following the election in 2002 serving in total as Speaker for six years from 1999–2005.

High Commissioner to the United Kingdom

In December 2004, it was announced that he would retire from politics and replace Russell Marshall as New Zealand High Commissioner in London, a move that had long been anticipated. He was replaced as Speaker by Margaret Wilson on 3 March 2005, and left Parliament on 30 March. As a list MP, his vacant parliamentary seat was filled by the next available candidate on the Labour Party list, Lesley Soper.

Some controversy arose in mid-2005, when recently after he arrived in London, Hunt was told publicly by the New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark that he could not apply for the U.K pension as it was not appropriate given his position of New Zealand High Commissioner and the fact that he was already collecting a New Zealand parliamentary pension.[3]

On 21 November 2007 the New Zealand Foreign Minister, Winston Peters, announced that the next High Commissioner to London would be Derek Leask from March 2008.[4]

Personal life

Jonathan Hunt has never been married and has no children. On 31 December 2004 Jonathan Hunt was awarded the Order of New Zealand in the New Year's honours list.


Hunt was also the subject of a documentary, "Father of the House", directed by Simon Burgin and Xavier Forde, which was filmed in Wellington in 2005. The film was a finalist in the DocNZ film festival in the same year. It has also been regularly screened on the Documentary Channel on Sky Television since 2006.


  1. New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade web site
  2. Wilson 1985, p. 252.
  3. "Hunt not allowed British pension". Television New Zealand. 3 May 2005. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
  4. New Zealand High Commission web site
Political offices
Preceded by
Ron Bailey
Chairman of Committees of the House of Representatives
Succeeded by
Richard Harrison
Preceded by
Doug Kidd
Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives
Succeeded by
Margaret Wilson
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Rex Mason
Member of Parliament for New Lynn
Succeeded by
Phil Goff
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Russell Marshall
High Commissioner of New Zealand to the United Kingdom
Succeeded by
Derek Leask
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