Ruth Dyson

New Zealand Labour Party Jacinda Ardern Chris Hipkins

Ruth Dyson

portrait photo of a woman
Ruth Dyson in 2011
Assistant Speaker of the House of Representatives
Assumed office
3 July 2019
Preceded byPoto Williams
Chief Government Whip in the House of Representatives
In office
26 October 2017 – 27 June 2019
Prime MinisterJacinda Ardern
Preceded byJami-Lee Ross
Succeeded byMichael Wood
28th President of the Labour Party
In office
LeaderDavid Lange
Geoffrey Palmer
Mike Moore
Preceded byRex Jones
Succeeded byMaryan Street
8th Minister for Senior Citizens
In office
28 January 2003 – 19 November 2008
Prime MinisterHelen Clark
Preceded byLianne Dalziel
Succeeded byJohn Carter
7th Minister for ACC
In office
15 August 2002 – 5 November 2007
Prime MinisterHelen Clark
Preceded byLianne Dalziel
Succeeded byMaryan Street
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Lyttelton
In office
1993 – 1996
Preceded byGail McIntosh
Succeeded byConstituency abolished
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Labour party list
In office
1996 – 1999
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Banks Peninsula
In office
1999 – 2008
Preceded byDavid Carter
Succeeded byConstituency abolished
Majority1,923 (4.78%)
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Port Hills
Assumed office
Preceded byNew constituency
Personal details
Ruth Suzanne Dyson

(1957-08-11) 11 August 1957 (age 63)
Wellington, New Zealand
NationalityNew Zealand
Political partyLabour Party

Ruth Suzanne Dyson (born 11 August 1957) is a New Zealand politician. She is a member of the Labour Party and became a Member of Parliament in 1993. She represented the Port Hills electorate from the 2008 election to 2020, when she retired.

Early years

Dyson was born in Lower Hutt. Her father served in the New Zealand Army, and so Dyson's family frequently moved around the country. Dyson joined the Labour Party in Westport in 1979, and worked as a campaign organiser for Labour MP Kerry Burke in the 1981 and 1984 election. In 1985, she moved to Wellington, where she worked with Labour MP Fran Wilde on the Homosexual Law Reform Bill. She worked for Wilde's re-election campaign in the 1987 election, and later held a number of senior offices in the Labour Party, including that of president.[1]

Member of Parliament

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate List Party
1993–1996 44th Lyttelton Labour
1996–1999 45th List 19 Labour
1999–2002 46th Banks Peninsula 15 Labour
2002–2005 47th Banks Peninsula 22 Labour
2005–2008 48th Banks Peninsula 14 Labour
2008–2011 49th Port Hills 14 Labour
2011–2014 50th Port Hills 5 Labour
2014–2017 51st Port Hills none Labour
2017–present 52nd Port Hills 24 Labour

Dyson first entered Parliament in the 1993 election, winning the Lyttelton electorate against National's David Carter.[2] In the 1996 election, the Lyttelton electorate was abolished, and Dyson stood in Banks Peninsula, losing to Carter, who had in the meantime become an MP through winning the 1994 Selwyn by-election. She became a list MP owing to her position on the Labour Party's list. In the 1999 election, however, she defeated Carter to win Banks Peninsula. She has remained the MP for the area since that time; however before the 2008 election the boundaries were changed and it was renamed Port Hills.

When the Labour Party won power in the 1999 general election, Dyson was appointed to a number of minor ministerial roles, including Disability Issues and Associate Health and Associate Social Development. However, she resigned them on 31 October 2000 after being caught drink driving.[3] She regained most of her ministerial responsibilities on 4 June 2001.[4]

In a reshuffle on 31 October 2007, Dyson took on the portfolio of Social Development, which she held until the Clark government lost power at the 2008 general election. Despite the swing against Labour at that election, Dyson won her new electorate of Port Hills with an increased margin than that of Banks Peninsula.[5][6]

In December 2009 Dyson's Resource Management (Requiring Authorities) Amendment Bill, which would amend the Resource Management Act 1991 to reintroduce a public interest test for projects seeking requiring authority, was drawn from the member's ballot.[7] The bill was defeated at its first reading.[7]

Dyson was re-elected as the MP for Port Hills at the 2011 general election. She then became the Labour spokesperson for Conservation, Senior Citizens, and Internal Affairs and chaired the Parliamentary Select Committee on Government Administration .[1] When Lianne Dalziel confirmed that she would contest the 2013 Christchurch mayoralty, her Christchurch Earthquake Recovery portfolio was split and assigned to Dyson and Clayton Cosgrove in July 2013.[8]

Dyson contested the 2014 election against Nuk Korako of the National Party and chose not to be placed on Labour's party list.[9] Based on preliminary counts, Dyson has a majority of 1,865 votes over Korako.[9]

Following the formation of the Sixth Labour Government in 2017, Dyson was elected Labour's Senior Whip.[10]

In March 2019, Dyson indicated that she would not seek re-election at the 2020 general election.[11]

Since 25 March 2020, Dyson has been a member of the Epidemic Response Committee, a select committee that considers the government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.[12]


  1. ^ a b "Ruth Dyson".
  2. ^ Part 1: Votes recorded at each polling place (Technical report). Chief Electoral Office. 1993.
  3. ^ Small, Vernon (1 November 2000). "$9.50 cab ride would have saved Dyson". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 5 September 2009.
  4. ^ "Dyson gets all her portfolios back". Television New Zealand. 5 June 2001. Retrieved 28 April 2009.
  5. ^ Port Hills results 2008
  6. ^ Decision 08: Port Hills
  7. ^ a b "Resource Management (Requiring Authorities) Amendment Bill". New Zealand Parliament. Retrieved 19 December 2009.
  8. ^ Cairns, Lois (11 July 2013). "Two MPs to take over Dalziel's portfolio". Retrieved 23 August 2013.
  9. ^ a b Mathewson, Nicole; Stylianou, Georgina; Fulton, Tim (20 September 2014). "Labour's Dyson keeps Port Hills". The Press. Archived from the original on 23 September 2014. Retrieved 23 September 2014.
  10. ^ Bracewell-Worrall, Anna (30 October 2017). "Ruth Dyson selected as Government whip". NewsHub. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  11. ^ "Port Hills MP Ruth Dyson to stand down at next election". 4 March 2019. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  12. ^ "Epidemic response". New Zealand Parliament. Retrieved 23 April 2020.