MP Profiles

Every three years the company publishes the Saunders Unsworth guide to MPs. The guide is sold to clients only. It is edited by Mark Unsworth. The profile for Labour Cabinet Minister Chris Hipkins is below: (Written and approved in 2017).

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Hon Chris Hipkins




Full Name Christopher John Hipkins

MP Since 2008


Leader of the House

Education Minister

Ministerial Services Minister

State Services Minister

Electorate Rimutaka

Born 5th of September, 1978 – Lower Hutt

Family About to be married to Jade with one child

Early Life  Hipkins was raised in suburban Lower Hutt his father is a maintenance contractor and comes from a retail background with the DIC department store and Nees Mitre 10 Home Centre.  His mother works for the NZ Council for Educational Research and is a former secondary school teacher.  He attended Waterloo Primary, Hutt Intermediate and Hutt Valley Memorial College which was later named Petone College.  At Victoria University he completed a BA in Politics and Criminology.  In his second year he got hooked on student politics being voted onto the Student Executive and served two years full time as President of the Students Association.

Career After graduating Hipkins joined the Gas and Petrochemical Industry Training Organisation and was contracted to Shell Todd Oil Services in New Plymouth.  Here he managed in-house training systems and apprenticeship programmes.

In August 2003 he returned to Wellington to work as a political advisor to Trevor Mallard in the Beehive.  He worked on the 2005 election campaign before taking time off to travel to Ireland for his brother’s wedding.  In London he worked for the Health Professions Council.  This agency regulated health professionals in the UK.  In August 2007 he returned home to work for Cabinet Minister Steve Maharey and the Prime Minister and later part-time for David Cunliffe.

Political Life Involved in student politics since 1996 Hipkins worked in the Wellington Central campaign and on Trevor Mallard’s campaign teams for the 1999, 2002 and 2005 elections.  In 2007 he won Rimutaka.  In Parliament Hipkins was at times State Services, Internal Affairs, ACC and Sport Recreation Spokesperson. In 2011 he increased his majority in Rimutaka and was promoted to Chief Whip. He gained the Education portfolio and kept it under leaders David Cunliffe and Andrew Little. Hipkins served as Senior Whip until February 2017.

Traits  Likeable, hard worker. Young in looks, strategic thinker. Focussed and determined. Sure of himself socially. Hard worker. He is a good listener and not arrogant in any way. Continually one of Labour’s best performers. Centrist, which puts him at odds with many in the caucus. Business friendly. On his day Hipkins was perhaps Labour’s best performer and when Hekia Parata was Education Minister he made her look very average at first. He’s since found love and is a Dad.

Hobbies/ Interests Biking, skiing, body boarding, tramping, swimming, reading, hiking and cooking. Spending time at the Bach at Raumati.

Outlook Hipkins has been reborn, after years of having to serve under leaders he didn’t really respect he finally feels at home and is full of passion and drive. Taking both Education and Tertiary as well as State Services on top of the time consuming role as Leader of the House is a massive workload which would test anyone. Labour has a long list of education policy reforms to deliver as well so this is going to require a huge effort. He will do well as he has the ability and the people skills but he will need assistance. Watch this space.


Residence Upper Hutt