Mark Burton

Richard Mark Burton (born 16 January 1956) is a New Zealand politician. He is a member of the Labour Party, serving as Minister of Defence, Minister of Justice, Minister of Local Government, Minister in Charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, Deputy Leader of the House, and the Minister Responsible for the Law Commission in the Fifth Labour Government of New Zealand.

Mark Burton
34th Minister of Defence
In office
10 December 1999 – 12 October 2005
Prime MinisterHelen Clark
Preceded byMax Bradford
Succeeded byPhil Goff
44th Minister of Justice
In office
19 October 2005 – 31 October 2007
Prime MinisterHelen Clark
Preceded byPhil Goff
Succeeded byAnnette King
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Taupō
In office
6 November 1993 – 8 November 2008
Preceded byNew constituency
Succeeded byLouise Upston
Personal details
Born16 January 1956 (age 65)
Northampton, Northamptonshire, England
Political partyLabour


Early life

Burton was born in Northampton, England, but was brought to New Zealand by his family when ten years old. He attended high school in Wanganui, attending Wanganui Boys College and was in the year group ahead of future National MP Michael Laws. He has been involved in a wide range of social and community organisations, including the Red Cross, the Department of Social Welfare, the Central Plateau Rural Education Activities Programme, the Council of Social Services, the Taupo Employment Support Trust, and the Taupo Sexual Abuse Counselling Service. He received the New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal for his work.[2]

Member of Parliament

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate List Party
1993–1996 44th Tongariro Labour
1996–1999 45th Taupo 10 Labour
1999–2002 46th Taupo 18 Labour
2002–2005 47th Taupo 16 Labour
2005–2008 48th Taupo 16 Labour

In the 1993 election, Burton stood as the Labour Party's candidate for Tongariro, an electorate in the central North Island, defeating Ian Peters. This later became the seat of Taupo, which Burton retained.

From 1996 to 1999, he served as his party's Senior Whip.

Cabinet minister

When the Labour Party won power in the 1999 election, Burton became part of the new Cabinet, assuming the roles of Minister of Internal Affairs, Minister of Defence, Minister for State-Owned Enterprises, Minister of Tourism, and Minister of Veterans' Affairs. In 2002, Internal Affairs and Veterans' Affairs were transferred to George Hawkins. In February 2005 he became the Minister of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, and dropped the State-Owned Enterprises portfolio.

In late 2004, with Jonathan Hunt set to retire from politics, Burton was regarded by many as the Labour Party's preferred choice to replace him as Speaker of the House of Representatives. In the end, however, Labour decided to nominate Margaret Wilson for the position.

Burton sponsored the introduction of the Electoral Finance Act, which made election funding more transparent and open by making anonymous donations illegal if they exceed the sum of $12,000. The Act capped the highest donation to the sum of $120,000 and increased public funding in elections to allow for more funding to go to a wider range of parties. The Act extended the regulated period classifying an election year to 1 January of the election year.

In November 2007 Burton resigned from his Cabinet positions during Prime Minister Helen Clark's portfolio renewal. When Labour's party list was written prior to the 2008 general election, he was given a low placing of 39.[3] He then lost his seat in a nationwide swing to the National Party, and due to his place on the list, was not returned to parliament.[4]

Burton stood unsuccessfully for Taupo District Mayor in the 2010 local body elections.[5] After Darren Hughes resigned his list seat in 2011, and the next person on the Labour Party list, Judith Tizard, declined to take it up, Burton was entitled to reenter Parliament for the remainder of the term. However, he also declined the offer.[6]

Further reading

  • Briefing paper, Wellington, [N.Z.]: Local Government New Zealand, 1999–2000
  • Greener, Peter (ed.) (2005), Push for peace: commemorating the past, reflecting on the present, resolving conflict in the future, Auckland, [N.Z.]: Auckland University of Technology ; Auckland War Memorial Museum, ISBN 1-877314-45-5CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  • Burton's contribution is a paper entitled: " New Zealand defence: playing our part as a responsible world citizen."
  • Ruru, Jacinta (ed.) (2008), In good faith: symposium proceedings marking the 20th anniversary of the Lands case, Wellington, [N.Z.] ; Dunedin, [N.Z.]: New Zealand Law Foundation ; Faculty of Law, University of Otago, ISBN 978-0-473-13043-5CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  • Burton's contribution is a paper entitled: "Impact on government: a political perspective."


  1. ^ "2005 election results – Official Count Results – Taupo" . Electoral Commission. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 2 September 2007.
  2. ^ "Hon. Mark Burton" . New Zealand Parliament. 8 November 2008. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
  3. ^ Labour list 2008.
  4. ^ Taupo results 2008.
  5. ^ "Mark Burton" . Retrieved 15 October 2013.
  6. ^ "Tizard rejects return to Parliament" . The New Zealand Herald. 3 April 2011. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Ian Peters
Member of Parliament for Tongariro
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Taupo
Succeeded by
Louise Upston
Political offices
Preceded by
Max Bradford
Minister of Defence
Succeeded by
Phil Goff
Preceded by
Phil Goff
Minister of Justice
Succeeded by
Annette King
Party political offices
Preceded by
Jonathan Hunt
Senior Whip of the Labour Party
Succeeded by
Rick Barker


Information as of: 22.08.2021 11:12:20 CEST

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