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Sir Roger Douglas, politician





Sir Roger DouglasSir Roger Owen Douglas (born 5 December 1937), a New Zealand politician, formerly served as a senior New Zealand Labour Party Cabinet minister. He became arguably best-known for his prominent role in the radical economic restructuring undertaken by the Fourth Labour Government during the 1980s ("Rogernomics"). In 1993 he founded the Association of Consumers and Taxpayers (the forerunner of the ACT New Zealand Party) with Derek Quigley. In 2008 he returned to Parliament as an ACT Party backbencher.

Douglas was born in Auckland on 5 December 1937. His family had strong ties with the trade-union movement, and actively engaged in politics. His maternal grandfather Bill Anderton, who was Labour Member of Parliament for Eden from 1935 to 1946 and for Auckland Central from 1946 to 1960, was a cabinet minister in the Second Labour Government. His father Norman Douglas, a union secretary, was MP for Auckland Central from 1960 to 1975. His brother Malcolm Douglas was briefly Labour MP for Hunua 1978–79.

Douglas received his secondary education at Auckland Grammar School, and gained a degree in accountancy from the University of Auckland.

He was elected MP for Manukau (now Manurewa) in 1969. During the Labour government of 1972-75 he was given the portfolios of broadcasting and the post office, and in the 1974 reshuffle he took on housing in place of the post office. In opposition again, he moved from the shadow portfolios of trade and industry, and overseas trade, to his abiding interest, finance, in 1983.

In 1984 he became finance minister. Reform of the tax system, removal of subsidies and controls, conversion of many government departments into corporations in the name of efficiency, removal of import barriers, and introduction of other open market concepts - these were some of the changes introduced by Douglas. The policies were so closely identified with him that they spawned a new term in finance jargon: "rogernomics." Because they strained relations with the party's powerful trade union wing, the government had a great deal riding on the Douglas doctrine that moneymakers must be free to make money before government can use it to provide for the underprivileged. He was knighted in 1991.

In 1997, in a back-handed compliment, the founders of the annual award for "The Worst Transnational Corporation operating in New Zealand", as voted by "four or five eminent judges – academics, community leaders, artists, even sportspeople", named it the "Roger Award" after Sir Roger Douglas.

During his absence from national politics Douglas held senior positions at a number of prominent companies such as BIL which he briefly served as Executive Chairman. He also currently serves as the managing director of his own group, Roger Douglas Associates.


28 Sep 2011


Controversial New Zealand MP Sir Roger Douglas has delivered his farewell speech at Parliament.

It is the second time he has left but this time the 73-year-old, who first entered Parliament in 1969, says he is off for good.

Douglas changed the face of the New Zealand economy as the Finance Minister under David Lange's Labour Government in the 1980s. His brand of economic management became known as Rogernomics, and opponents blame him for increasing the gap between rich and poor. Douglas was responsible for deregulating New Zealand's economy, floating the dollar and introducing GST.

His second term in office was marked by conflict with Lange, and he was dramatically sacked in 1988.

In 1990 Douglas left politics, but his liberal economic policies continued under the subsequent National Government.

Douglas co-founded the Act Party in 1993 and came back as a backbench MP in 2008.

This time, Douglas says he is definitely not coming back.

"I'm going to watch cricket."



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