Template:Politics of New Zealand The Attorney-General is a political office in New Zealand. It is simultaneously a ministerial position and an administrative office, and has responsibility for supervising New Zealand law and advising the government on legal matters.
Responsibilities and powersEdit
The Attorney-General has two main areas of official responsibility. Firstly, the Attorney-General has ministerial jurisdiction over the Crown Law Office, the Parliamentary Counsel Office, and the Serious Fraud Office. Secondly, the Attorney-General is the principal law officer of the Crown, responsible for supervising the state's administration of the law and for providing legal advice to the government. In the latter role (but strictly not in the former), the Attorney-General is assisted by the Solicitor-General, a non-partisan official. This is to reduce the extent to which the Attorney-General's actions on behalf of the state (as opposed to the government) can be influenced by their political allegiance.
A more complete description of the Attorney-General's powers can be found in the 2004 ministerial briefing prepared by the Crown Law Office, which the Attorney-General supervises.
The position of Attorney-General is distinct from that of Minister of Justice, although the two posts are sometimes held by the same person.
At present, there is no statutory basis which establishes the office of Attorney-General, although the position is referenced by a number of other legal documents, such as the Constitution Act 1986.
The post of Attorney-General has existed since the separation of New Zealand as a distinct Crown Colony from New South Wales. Because of the dual nature of the role, however, it has sometimes been filled by politicians and sometimes by jurists — not all Attorney-Generals have been cabinet ministers.
The table below is an incomplete listing of New Zealand politicians who have sat in Cabinet as Attorney-General since 1856. It does not show non-political attorneys-general. There were two previous Attorneys-General before responsible government was introduced in New Zealand in 1856: Francis Fisher who held office for less than one year in 1841, and William Swainson who held office until 7 May 1856.
|Name||PM Served||Took Office||Left Office||Party|
|Frederick Whitaker||Sewell||7 May 1856||20 May 1856||None|
|William Fox||(himself)||20 May 1856||2 Jun 1856||None|
|Frederick Whitaker, 2nd time||Stafford||2 Jun 1856||12 Jul 1861||None|
|William Fox, 2nd time||(himself)||12 Jul 1961||2 Aug 1861||None|
|Thomas Gillies||Domett||2 Aug 1861||23 Aug 1862||None|
|Henry Sewell||Domett||23 Aug 1862||1 Jul 1863||None|
|Frederick Whitaker, 3rd time||Domett, (himself)||1 Jul 1863||24 Nov 1864||None|
|Henry Sewell, 2nd time||Weld||24 Nov 1864||16 Oct 1865||None|
|James Prendergast||Edward Stafford||16 Oct 1865||1 Sep 1876||None|
|Frederick Whitaker, 4th time||Atkinson||1 Sep 1876||13 Oct 1877||None|
|Robert Stout||Grey||13 Mar 1878||25 June 1879||None|
|Frederick Whitaker, 5th time||(himself)||21 Apr 1882||25 Sep 1883||None|
|Edward Conolly||Atkinson, Harry||25 Sep 1883||16 Aug 1884||None|
|Robert Stout, 2nd time||(himself)||16 Aug 1884||28 Aug 1884||None|
|Robert Stout, 3rd time||(himself)||3 Sep 1884||8 Oct 1887||None|
|Frederick Whitaker, 6th time||Atkinson||11 Oct 1887||24 Jan 1891||None|
|Patrick Buckley||Ballance, Seddon||24 Jan 1891||20 Dec 1895||Liberal|
|Albert Pitt||Seddon, Hall-Jones, Ward||22 Jun 1903||18 Nov 1906||Liberal|
|John Findlay||Ward||23 Nov 1906||26 Dec 1911||Liberal|
|Alexander Herdman||Massey||10 Jul 1912||4 Feb 1918||Reform|
|Francis Bell (New Zealand Prime Minister)||(himself), Coates||14 May 1925||18 Jan 1926||Reform|
|William Downie Stewart||Coates||18 Jan 1926||24 May 1926||Reform|
|Francis Rolleston||Coates||24 May 1926||26 Nov 1928||Reform|
|Thomas Sidey||Ward, Forbes||10 Dec 1928||22 Sep 1931||United|
|William Downie Stewart, 2nd time||Forbes||22 Sep 1931||28 Jan 1933||Reform|
|George Forbes||(himself)||28 Jan 1933||6 Dec 1935||United|
|Rex Mason||Savage, Fraser||6 Dec 1935||13 Dec 1949||Labour|
|Clifton Webb||Holland||13 Dec 1949||26 Nov 1954||National|
|Jack Marshall||Holland, Holyoake||26 Nov 1954||12 Dec 1957||National|
|Rex Mason, 2nd time||Nash||12 Dec 1957||12 Dec 1960||Labour|
|Ralph Hanan||Holyoake||12 Dec 1960||24 Jul 1969||National|
|Jack Marshall, 2nd time||Holyoake||22 Dec 1969||2 Feb 1971||National|
|Dan Riddiford||Holyoake||2 Feb 1971||9 Feb 1972||None|
|Roy Jack||Marshall||9 Feb 1972||8 Dec 1972||National|
|Martyn Finlay||Kirk, Rowling||8 Dec 1972||12 Dec 1975||Labour|
|Peter Wilkinson||Muldoon||12 Dec 1975||13 Dec 1978||National|
|Jim McLay||Muldoon||13 Dec 1978||26 Jul 1984||National|
|Geoffrey Palmer||Lange||26 Jul 1984||4 Aug 1989||Labour|
|David Lange||Palmer, Moore||4 Aug 1989||2 Nov 1990||Labour|
|Paul East||Bolger||2 Nov 1990||5 Dec? 1997||National|
|Doug Graham||Bolger, Shipley||5 Dec? 1997||5 Dec 1999||National|
|Margaret Wilson||Clark||5 Dec 1999||28 Feb 2005||Labour|
|Michael Cullen||Clark||28 Feb 2005||19 Oct 2005||Labour|
|David Parker||Clark||19 Oct 2005||20 Mar 2006||Labour|
|Michael Cullen||Clark||21 Mar 2006||incumbent||Labour|
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