Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Margaret Wilson (20th May 1947 - ), a New Zealand politician, currently serves as Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives. She is a member of the Labour Party.
Born in Gisborne, Wilson studied law at Auckland University. She has worked as a lawyer, a teacher of law, and a trade unionist. From 1984 to 1987, she was president of the Labour Party, and from 1989 to 1990, she worked as chief political advisor to the Prime Minister, Geoffrey Palmer. She has also served on the Law Commission, and has functioned as a director of the Reserve Bank.
Wilson entered Parliament as a list MP in the 1999 elections, and immediately gained election to Cabinet. Her portfolios included those of Attorney-General and Minister of Labour. She remained a list MP after the 2002 elections, serving as Attorney-General, Minister of Commerce, Minister in Charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, Associate Minister for Courts, and Associate Minister of Justice.
Wilson strongly promotes various social causes such as feminism and multiculturalism, and opponents often paint her as Labour's most "politically correct" minister. She vocally advocated the controversial new Supreme Court.
In December 2004, the Clark Labour Government announced that they would nominate Wilson for the post of Speaker of the House of Representatives, a position which would become vacant with the pending retirement of Jonathan Hunt. Previous speculation had focused on Mark Burton, the Minister of Defence. On 3 March 2005, Parliament elected Wilson as their new Speaker over candidacies by Clem Simich and Ken Shirley. Wilson became New Zealand's first female speaker.
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