Michael Cullen (politician)

Sir Michael John Cullen KNZM (5 February 1945 – 19 August 2021) was a New Zealand politician. He served as the 16th deputy prime minister of New Zealand, also as the minister of Finance, minister of Tertiary Education, and attorney-general. He was the deputy leader of the Labour Party from 1996 until November 2008, when he resigned following a defeat in the general election. He resigned from Parliament in April 2009, to become the deputy chairman of New Zealand Post from 1 November 2009[1] and chairman from 1 November 2010 until leaving the role in 2016. On 6 March 2020 he announced that he had resigned from the Lakes and Bay of Plenty district health boards, respectively. At the same time he also announced that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 small-cell lung cancer, which had also spread to his liver.[2]


Michael Cullen

Official portrait of Cullen, 2008
16th Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand
In office
15 August 2002  19 November 2008
Prime MinisterHelen Clark
Preceded byJim Anderton
Succeeded byBill English
40th Minister of Finance
In office
10 December 1999  19 November 2008
Prime MinisterHelen Clark
Preceded byBill Birch
Succeeded byBill English
26th Minister of Revenue
In office
10 December 1999  17 October 2005
Prime MinisterHelen Clark
Preceded byBill Birch
Succeeded byPeter Dunne
4th Treasurer of New Zealand
In office
10 December 1999  15 August 2002
Prime MinisterHelen Clark
Preceded byBill English
Succeeded byPosition Abolished
13th Deputy Leader of the Labour Party
In office
11 June 1996  11 November 2008
LeaderHelen Clark
Preceded byDavid Caygill
Succeeded byAnnette King
18th Minister for Social Welfare
In office
24 August 1987  2 November 1990
Prime MinisterDavid Lange
Geoffrey Palmer
Mike Moore
Preceded byAnn Hercus
Succeeded byJenny Shipley
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Labour Party List
In office
27 November 1999  29 April 2009
Succeeded byDamien O'Connor
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for St Kilda
Dunedin South (1996–1999)
In office
28 November 1981  27 November 1999
Preceded byBill Fraser
Succeeded byDavid Benson-Pope
Personal details
Born(1945-02-05)5 February 1945
London, England
Died19 August 2021(2021-08-19) (aged 76)
Whakatāne, New Zealand
Political partyLabour
Spouse(s)
Rowena Joy Knight
(m. 1967; div. 1989)

(m. 1989)
ProfessionHistorian
Academic background
Alma materUniversity of Canterbury (BA & MA)
University of Edinburgh (PhD)
ThesisSocial statistics in Britain 1830–852 (1971)
Academic work
DisciplineHistory
InstitutionsUniversity of Otago