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Responsibilities and powers

The Minister of Foreign Affairs is responsible for overseeing New Zealand's relations with foreign countries and the promotion of New Zealand's interests abroad.[3] The Minister is in charge of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, including New Zealand's diplomatic staff. The office is often considered to be one of the more distinguished ministerial posts, and has at times been counted as the most senior role below that of the Prime Minister. In terms of actual political power, however, the Minister of Foreign Affairs is not as prominent as in countries such as Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States, with the Minister of Finance being considerably more influential.

Historically, the Minister of Foreign Affairs has been a member of Cabinet, with the exception of the Rt Hon. Winston Peters between 2005 and 2008. This situation came about as the result of coalition negotiations in which it was agreed that New Zealand First would take a senior ministerial portfolio but would not join Cabinet.

History

The first New Zealand foreign minister was James Allen, appointed to the post of "Minister of External Affairs" by William Massey in 1919. Before this time, there was no dedicated ministerial portfolio for foreign relations. A Department of External Affairs was created in 1919 but its functions were limited to administering New Zealand's Island Territories in the Pacific; namely the Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau, and the League of Nations Mandate of Samoa.[4] In 1943, a new Department of External Affairs was created to conduct the country's external relations. The older department was then renamed the Department of Island Territories and a separate portfolio called the Minister of Island Territories was subsequently created.[5]

From 1943, the Minister of External Affairs became the main ministerial portfolio for conducting New Zealand's external relations.[6] Like its similarly named Australian and Canadian counterparts, the portfolio was called "External Affairs" rather than "Foreign Affairs" in deference of the British Government’s responsibility for conducting foreign policy on behalf of the British Empire and later the Commonwealth of Nations.[7] The title was changed to "Minister of Foreign Affairs" in 1970 after the Department was renamed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The title became "Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade" following the abandonment of the short-lived "Minister of External Relations and Trade" title, created in September 1988 when the Ministry of Foreign Affairs absorbed the Trade functions of the old Department of Trade and Industry. In 2005 responsibility for trade was split into a separate portfolio, with the title reverting to "Minister of Foreign Affairs".

Historically it has been common for Prime Ministers to take on the role of Foreign Minister themselves, particularly if they have an interest in the field. Several New Zealand Prime Ministers including Peter Fraser, Walter Nash, Keith Holyoake, and David Lange held the External Affairs portfolio.[6] The most recent Prime Minister to do this is Helen Clark in 2008 as Acting Minister, and prior to her was Mike Moore, in 1990. Thirteen Prime Ministers have served as Foreign Minister for all or part of their terms.

New Zealand has had 27 foreign ministers (regardless of exact title). The longest-serving was Keith Holyoake, who held the post for the duration of his 11-year premiership. The second longest-serving, and the longest-serving who was not also Prime Minister, was Don McKinnon, who became Commonwealth Secretary-General.

List of ministers of foreign affairs

Key

  Reform   United   Labour   National   NZ First

No. Name Portrait Term of office Prime Minister
1 James Allen James Allen portrait.jpg 24 November 1919 28 April 1920 Massey
2 Ernest Lee Ernest Lee.jpg 17 May 1920 13 January 1923
3 Francis Bell Francis Bell.jpg 7 June 1923 18 January 1926
Bell
Coates
4 William Nosworthy William Nosworthy.jpg 24 May 1926 24 August 1928
5 Gordon Coates Joseph Gordon Coates, 1931.jpg 25 August 1928 10 December 1928
6 Joseph Ward Joseph Ward c. 1906.jpg 10 December 1928 28 May 1930 Ward
7 George Forbes George William Forbes.jpg 28 May 1930 6 December 1935 Forbes
8 Michael Joseph Savage Michael Joseph Savage Portrait.jpg 6 December 1935 27 March 1940 Savage
9 Frank Langstone Frank Langstone.jpg 1 April 1940 21 December 1942 Fraser
10 Peter Fraser Peter Fraser.jpgNanaia Mahuta.[2]

The Minister of Foreign Affairs is responsible for overseeing New Zealand's relations with foreign countries and the promotion of New Zealand's interests abroad.[3] The Minister is in charge of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, including New Zealand's diplomatic staff. The office is often considered to be one of the more distinguished ministerial posts, and has at times been counted as the most senior role below that of the Prime Minister. In terms of actual political power, however, the Minister of Foreign Affairs is not as prominent as in countries such as Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States, with the Minister of Finance being considerably more influential.

Historically, the Minister of Foreign Affairs has been a member of Cabinet, with the exception of the Rt Hon. Winston Peters between 2005 and 2008. This situation came about as the result of coalition negotiations in which it was agreed that New Zealand First would take a senior ministerial portfolio but would not join Cabinet.

History

The first New Zealand foreign minister was James Allen, appointed to the post of "Minister of External Affairs" by William Massey in 1919. Before this time, there was no dedicated ministerial portfolio for foreign relations. A Department of External Affairs was created in 1919 but its functions were limited to administering New Zealand's Island Territories in the Pacific; namely the Cook Islands, Historically, the Minister of Foreign Affairs has been a member of Cabinet, with the exception of the Rt Hon. Winston Peters between 2005 and 2008. This situation came about as the result of coalition negotiations in which it was agreed that New Zealand First would take a senior ministerial portfolio but would not join Cabinet.

The first New Zealand foreign minister was James Allen, appointed to the post of "Minister of External Affairs" by William Massey in 1919. Before this time, there was no dedicated ministerial portfolio for foreign relations. A Department of External Affairs was created in 1919 but its functions were limited to administering New Zealand's Island Territories in the Pacific; namely the Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau, and the League of Nations Mandate of Samoa.[4] In 1943, a new Department of External Affairs was created to conduct the country's external relations. The older department was then renamed the Department of Island Territories and a separate portfolio called the Minister of Island Territories was subsequently created.[5]

From 1943, the Minister of External Affairs became the main ministerial portfolio for conducting New Zealand's external relations.[6] Like its similarly named [6] Like its similarly named Australian and Canadian counterparts, the portfolio was called "External Affairs" rather than "Foreign Affairs" in deference of the British Government’s responsibility for conducting foreign policy on behalf of the British Empire and later the Commonwealth of Nations.[7] The title was changed to "Minister of Foreign Affairs" in 1970 after the Department was renamed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The title became "Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade" following the abandonment of the short-lived "Minister of External Relations and Trade" title, created in September 1988 when the Ministry of Foreign Affairs absorbed the Trade functions of the old Department of Trade and Industry. In 2005 responsibility for trade was split into a separate portfolio, with the title reverting to "Minister of Foreign Affairs".

Historically it has been common for Prime Ministers to take on the role of Foreign Minister themselves, particularly if they have an interest in the field. Several New Zealand Prime Ministers including Peter Fraser, Walter Nash, Keith Holyoake, and David Lange held the External Affairs portfolio.[6] The most recent Prime Minister to do this is Helen Clark in 2008 as Acting Minister, and prior to her was Mike Moore, in 1990. Thirteen Prime Ministers have served as Foreign Minister for all or part of their terms.

New Zealand has had 27 foreign ministers (regardless of exact title). The longest-serving was Keith Holyoake, who held the post for the duration of his 11-year premiership. The second longest-serving, and the longest-serving who was not also Prime Minister, was Don McKinnon, who became Commonwealth Secretary-General.

  Reform   United   Labour   National   NZ First

No. Name Portrait Term of office Prime Minister
1 James Allen James

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