Fourth National Government of New Zealand

The Fourth National Government of New Zealand (also known as the Bolger–Shipley Government) was the government of New Zealand from 2 November 1990 to 27 November 1999. Following electoral reforms in the 1996 election, Jim Bolger formed a coalition with New Zealand First.[1] Following Bolger's resignation, the government was led by Jenny Shipley, the country's first female Prime Minister, for the final two years.

Fourth National Government
Ministries of New Zealand
Date formed2 November 1990
Date dissolved27 November 1999
People and organisations
MonarchElizabeth II
Governor-GeneralDame Catherine Tizard (1990–1996)
Sir Michael Hardie-Boys (1996–1999)
Prime MinisterJim Bolger (1990–1997)
Jenny Shipley (1997–1999)
Deputy Prime MinisterDon McKinnon (1990–1996)
Winston Peters (1996–1998)
Wyatt Creech (1998–1999)
Member partyNational Party (1990-99)
New Zealand First (1996-98)
Opposition partyLabour Party
Opposition leader
Outgoing election1999 general election
Legislature term(s)
PredecessorFourth Labour Government of New Zealand
SuccessorFifth Labour Government of New Zealand

For the first six years, the National Party governed alone under the leadership of Jim Bolger. Extreme dissatisfaction with both National and Labour led to the reform of the electoral system: the introduction of proportional representation in the form of mixed-member proportional (MMP) representation. The first MMP election was held in 1996, and resulted in a coalition between National and New Zealand First in which Bolger continued as prime minister. Bolger was ousted in 1997 and replaced as National leader and prime minister by Jenny Shipley. The National/New Zealand First coalition dissolved in 1998,[2] and the consequent cobbling together of another coalition between National and the deserters of various parties contributed to the government's defeat in 1999.

Following in the footsteps of the previous Labour government, the fourth National government embarked on an extensive programme of spending cuts. This programme, popularly known as "Ruthanasia" after Finance Minister Ruth Richardson, involved the reduction of social welfare benefits and the introduction of fees for healthcare and tertiary education. This was highly controversial, as was the retention of the superannuation surtax, a tax on old age pensions which National had promised to abolish. Also controversial, but in a different way, was the beginning of the Treaty settlement process.