Mark Mitchell (politician)

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Mark Mitchell

Mark Mitchell 2017.jpg
39th Minister of Defence
In office
2 May 2017 – 26 October 2017
Prime MinisterBill English
Preceded byGerry Brownlee
Succeeded byRon Mark
Minister for Land Information
In office
20 December 2016 – 26 October 2017
Prime MinisterBill English
Preceded byLouise Upston
Succeeded byEugenie Sage
Minister of Statistics
In office
20 December 2016 – 2 May 2017
Prime MinisterBill English
Preceded byCraig Foss
Succeeded byScott Simpson
Member of Parliament
for Rodney
Assumed office
30 November 2011
Preceded byLockwood Smith
Personal details
Born (1968-05-22) 22 May 1968 (age 51)
Political partyNational Party
Spouse(s)Peggy Bourne
RelationsFrank Gill (grandfather)
Alma materThe Wharton School

Mark Patrick Mitchell (born 22 May 1968)[2] is a New Zealand politician and a member of the New Zealand House of Representatives. He is a member of the National Party.

Early life[edit]

Mitchell was born on Auckland's North Shore and lived his early years at Whenuapai air base, where his father was a flight lieutenant and his mother's father, Air Commodore Frank Gill, was the base commander.[3] Gill was later a National Party cabinet minister, between 1975 and 1980.[4] Mitchell attended Rosmini College.

He was in the New Zealand Police for thirteen years from 1989 to 2002, including time as a dog handler and in the Armed Offenders Squad.[3] After leaving the police, Mitchell undertook an Executive education short course at Wharton Business School.[5]

Mitchell worked for eight years as a private security contractor and spent time in Iraq, including the siege of the Italian-run An Nasiriyah compound in Southern Iraq by the Mahdi militia in 2004.[4][6]

Member of Parliament[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate List Party
2011–2014 50th Rodney 59 National
2014–2017 51st Rodney 42 National
2017–present 52nd Rodney 21 National

Fifth National Government, 2011–2017[edit]

Mitchell was selected as the National Party's candidate for Rodney on 26 April 2011, replacing Lockwood Smith.[7]

Mitchell voted against the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill, a bill allowing same-sex couples to marry in New Zealand.[8]

In 2014, Nicky Hager's book Dirty Politics presented evidence which suggested that Mitchell had hired political strategist Simon Lusk during the National Party selection process for the Rodney electorate. Lusk appeared to have collaborated with blogger Cameron Slater to discredit Mitchell's opponents, particularly Brent Robinson. Mitchell strongly denies ever paying Lusk or Slater.[9]

He served as Chairperson of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee from the 2014 general election, before being appointed Minister for Land Information and Minister of Statistics in December 2016. In May 2017, he was promoted to Cabinet and became the Minister of Defence, while dropping the Statistics portfolio.[10] In 2017, Mitchell said he would not quit politics if National lost the 2017 general election.[11]

Coalition Government, 2017–present[edit]

During the 2017 general election, Mark Mitchell was re-elected in the Rodney electorate, defeating Labour candidate Marja Lubeck by a margin of 19,561 votes.[12] Following the formation of a Labour-led coalition government, Mitchell was appointed as National's Spokesperson for the defence, disarmament, and justice portfolios.[10] On 22 January 2019, he was designated as National's Spokesperson for Pike River Re-entry.[13][14]

Personal life[edit]

Mitchell has two children and has had three marriages, including to Peggy Bourne, who is the widow of rally driver Possum Bourne.[7][15]


  1. ^ New Zealand Parliament. "Final Results for the 2011 New Zealand General Election and Referendum". Retrieved 28 October 2018.
  2. ^ The Dominion Post (17 March 2012). "Mitchell Primed for Next Battle". Press Reader. Retrieved 28 October 2018.
  3. ^ a b Mitchell, Mark (16 February 2012). "Mitchell, Mark: Address in Reply". Hansard. New Zealand Parliament. Retrieved 8 December 2018.
  4. ^ a b In the line of duty Sunday Star Times, 27 March 2011
  5. ^ "Local Matters – Mark Mitchell – National". Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  6. ^ Hager, Nicky (2014). "5. Simon Lusk's Plan". Dirty Politics. footnote 43. ISBN 9781927213360.
  7. ^ a b National selects Mark Mitchell for Rodney, 26 April 2011
  8. ^ "Gay marriage: How MPs voted". NZ Herald. 18 April 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2017.
  9. ^ Chang, Derek (26 August 2014). "Disclosures disgust defeated candidate". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  10. ^ a b "Mark Mitchell". New Zealand Parliament. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  11. ^ "Our most intriguing Defence Minister ever?". NZ Herald. 29 April 2017. Retrieved 30 April 2017.
  12. ^ "Rodney - Official Result 2017". Electoral Commission. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  13. ^ "Bennett named drug reform spokesperson in shadow cabinet reshuffle". Radio New Zealand. 22 January 2019. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  14. ^ Coughlan, Thomas (22 January 2019). "Bridges begins year with a reshuffle". Newsroom. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  15. ^ Peggy Bourne weds National Party politician New Zealand Herald, 13 November 2011

External links[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Lockwood Smith
Member of Parliament for Rodney