Chris Hipkins

MP for Rimutaka

Spokesperson for Education (including Tertiary and Early Childhood Education)
Shadow Leader of the House
Senior Whip

Contact Chris Hipkins

Chris is passionate about education, having worked as a training consultant in the oil and gas industry and coordinated education programme approvals in the health sector in the UK. He has worked as a Senior Advisor to two New Zealand Ministers of Education and the former Prime Minister Helen Clark.

Chris is an outdoor enthusiast and enjoys mountain biking, hiking and body surfing. He is a proud resident of Upper Hutt and is committed to ensuring the residents of the Hutt Valley have access to world-class public services and can live in a safe, caring and supportive community.

Career Highlights

  • MP for Rimutaka 2008 - present
  • Opposition Chief Whip 2011-13
  • Senior Advisor to Rt Hon Helen Clark & Hon Trevor Mallard 2003-2008
  • Education Officer, Health Professions Council (UK) 2006-2007
  • Training Consultant 2002-2003
  • Bachelor of Arts, Victoria University of Wellington 2001

Contact Chris Hipkins


Rimutaka Electorate Offices
Upper Hutt

Address: 216 Main Street, Upper Hutt
Phone: 04 528 5715


Address: 1195 High Street, Taita
Phone: 04 567 0156

Parliamentary Office

Address: Freepost PO Box 18 888, Parliament Buildings, Wellington 6160
Phone: 04 817 6584

Latest from Chris Hipkins

Fingers in Pies as Ministry spends $100K a day on consultants

February 11, 2016

The Ministry of Education forked out a whopping $100,000 a day on consultants and contractors last year – eight times more since National came to office in 2008, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“The Ministry appears to be throwing money at consultants so fast it often doesn’t even bother to use government rules for tendering.

Concierge and plaza for ministry staff – leaky, mouldy classrooms for kids

February 09, 2016

Parents will be horrified Hekia Parata is overseeing a $19.5 million refit for Education Ministry staff which includes a “concierge style reception” and “Koru Lounge” while some of their children sit in leaking mouldy classrooms, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

Joyce’s claims hollow after cuts to tertiary education

February 04, 2016

It beggars belief that Steven Joyce will use a downturn in student numbers to reinvest in tertiary institutions when he has acted like one man razor gang against the sector, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“The Tertiary Education Minister today claimed he would reinvest some of the $120 million fall in Government funding that universities and other tertiary institutions face because of a forecast loss of 10,000 students over the next three years.

Spiralling student debt deterring further education

January 22, 2016

Student loan debt has increased by over 50 per cent since National became the government, hitting $15 billion this year and projected to continue increasing year on year, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“This is getting out of control. Over two decades after the student loan was introduced, we still haven’t reached the stage where repayments exceed borrowing, and projections suggest we’re not going to get there anytime soon.

Parents feeling school costs pinch

January 18, 2016

The increasing cost of technology is placing the whole notion of free school education at risk, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“New Zealand parents are now being asked to fork out hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to provide digital devices for their kids’ schooling. Many families are struggling to find the money.

Special education review lost on Ministry

December 03, 2015

The Ministry of Education is using a review of special education to push for further cost cutting instead of hearing pleas to properly fund services, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“This fantastic opportunity to improve the lives of children with special needs has been lost on the Ministry.


Fewer frontline staff in education despite spin

November 26, 2015

While National is busy trumpeting less back office public servants, it has glossed over the fact there are fewer frontline staff in special education and teacher numbers are falling, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“There are now 41 fewer front line special education staff than there were in 2011. Special education advisors have also been cut by 33 per cent from 171 in 2008 to 116 last year. 

Broken promise leaves schools chasing truants

November 19, 2015

The Government’s broken promise to provide extra funding to tackle truants has left schools picking up the tab for chasing absent students, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“National promised in 2008 it would give schools an additional $4 million a year to reduce truancy.

Ministry covers up damning NCEA report

November 15, 2015

New documents show the Education Ministry succumbed to political pressure and covered up an attempt to help hundreds of special needs students at our poorest schools during their NCEA exams, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

"Figures just released show hundreds of students with learning difficulties at low decile schools are sitting exams without support they need and are entitled to.

Independence of the ERO called into question

November 13, 2015

The independence of the Education Review Office has been seriously called into question following news they re-wrote a damning report on the state of early childhood education following pressure from the government, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. 

“The Education Review Office (ERO) are supposed to be an independent watchdog. Their reports and research are supposed to be independent. Re-writing their reports after government pressure is applied through the Ministry of Education seriously compromises that independence.

Parata in denial over early childhood education cuts

November 03, 2015

Hekia Parata is living in a parallel universe if she thinks cutting funding for early childhood services with fully qualified staff will result in higher quality and better outcomes for children, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“Today in Parliament the Education Minister first tried to blame Labour, then she tried to deny National made the funding cut, then she claimed she didn’t know, then she tried to say it wouldn’t matter.

Review timely but ineffective without funding

November 02, 2015

A review of education law is timely but the Government must ensure it is a genuine examination of New Zealand’s education system and the future needs of schools, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“Since the Education Act came into effect 26 years ago a lot has changed for teachers, students and school communities.

Complaints soar as Govt sacrifices quality ECE

October 20, 2015

Education Minister Hekia Parata’s decision to prioritise participation over quality has resulted in complaints about early childhood education centres soaring by 46 per cent in a year, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“The Ministry of Education’s annual summary of complaints against ECE services and Kohanga Reo shows 360 were lodged in 2014, up from 246 the year before.


Teaching still the key to student success

October 18, 2015

Quality teaching will always be far more important than school buildings, but that doesn't mean we can't deliver on both, Labour's Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

"The Government is spending hundreds of millions of dollars rebuilding old schools, and that's a good thing, but they need to invest in teachers’ professional development and the support to go with it.

Kindy teacher lay off after Govt funding cuts

October 15, 2015

Government funding cuts are hitting home with kindergartens being forced to lay off teachers, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

Whānau Manaaki Kindergartens – formally the Wellington and Rimutaka Kindergarten Association – this week wrote to parents advising them that Government funding cuts meant they would have to make changes to ensure their 85 kindergartens and home-based services stay viable. 

Big questions over explosion in subsidies for nannies and au pairs

October 12, 2015

Hekia Parata’s decision to cancel a review of home-based early childhood services is just the latest in a long line of embarrassingly poor judgements that have blown up in her face, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“Not long ago Hekia Parata quietly shelved a review of home-based services, saying the National government would rather focus on boosting participation.

Parents feel the squeeze from school funding shortfall

October 09, 2015

Parents are being forced to shell out more and more for their kids’ education as government underfunding really starts to bite, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. 

“A survey released today confirmed what we already know, the vast majority of parents are struggling to cover the increasing cost involved in giving their kids a solid start in life.

Parata puts brakes on charter school appraisal

October 08, 2015

A former ACT party president and current chair of the Board overseeing charter schools has slammed the Government’s attempt to whitewash an ‘independent’ evaluation of the schools, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

Documents released by the Ministry of Education show charter school cheerleader and former ACT Party president Catherine Isaac expressed serious concerns about the government-commissioned charter school evaluation by consultancy firm Martin Jenkins.

Schools hire debt collectors for ‘voluntary’ donations

September 23, 2015

The use of third parties to collect so-called ‘voluntary’ donations shows underfunding of education is forcing schools to rely on handouts from parents, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“This week the Ministry wrote to all schools warning them against using third party agencies such as debt collectors

Cutting financial advice for students doesn’t add up

September 09, 2015

Schools and taxpayers will pick up the costs of StudyLink’s decision to cut its Sussed financial literacy seminar for secondary students, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“This seminar was cut last year despite a concerted campaign by the Careers and Transition Education Association to keep it going. The Association even employed lawyer Mai Chen to take the matter up with the Government.

Charter application skew assists rich American

September 03, 2015

The Government has skewed the latest round of charter school applications to assist an American millionaire’s goal of ‘revolutionising” New Zealand’s education system, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

ACT Leader David Seymour and Ngāi Tahu’s Sir Mark Solomon in January visited charter schools in the United States set up by the Hong-Kong based businessman Marc Holtzman based around science, technology, engineering and maths.

National’s health and safety shambles puts school camps at risk

August 26, 2015

Reports that schools are considering scrapping student camps and tearing out playgrounds highlights just how badly National has managed its health and safety reforms, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“Schools have been left completely in the dark about the implications of the new law and that’s clearly leading to knee-jerk reactions and panic.

National’s asset stripping agenda hits schools

August 26, 2015

National’s fire-sale of school houses and land is short-sighted, mean-spirited, and will have huge unintended consequences that we will pay for in years to come, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

Documents obtained by Labour show the Ministry of Education plans to sell off $160 million of school houses.

Government targets put ahead of students’ education

August 25, 2015

The Government must urgently reassess the way it sets NCEA targets after a new report found they are forcing schools to “credit farm” and are undermining the qualification, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“A PPTA report released today says National’s 85 per cent pass target for NCEA Level 2 puts pressure on students to get as many credits as possible without considering the quality of the courses they study or their wider learning goals.

Shiny new system leads to record truancy

August 21, 2015

Record high truancy rates shows the Government’s much-vaunted new attendance system is an abysmal failure, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“Data released today shows truancy rates have spiked more than 15 per cent in 2014 and are now at record levels.

Good money after bad for failed experiment

August 14, 2015

The National government are throwing good money after bad with their decision to pump even more funding into their failed charter school experiment, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. 

“There are already major problems with several of the first charter schools that haven’t been addressed. Why on earth plough ahead with opening more schools when there have been so many problems with the ones already operating?

Troubled school wanted $25,000 dollars to fence farm

July 30, 2015

The troubled Whangaruru charter school asked Hekia Parata for $25,000 to fence the school farm at the expense of spending on teaching, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“This unbelievable revelation comes hard on the heels of Hekia Parata’s decision to ignore a damning audit, overrule her officials and spend another $129,000 dollars on the school. The audit listed a catalogue of wasteful failures at Whangaruru which is costing five times as much per pupil as state schools.

Hekia just won’t face the facts

July 24, 2015

Hekia Parata’s decision to keep troubled Whangaruru Charter school open despite being presented with a catalogue of failure defies belief, goes against official advice and breaks a Government promise to close these schools if they were failing, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. 

“Both Hekia Parata and the Prime Minister John Key have said that if charter schools fail they will not remain open. A damning audit of the Whangaruru school has found there were grounds for closure but the Minister has ignored this and overruled her own officials advice.

Charter school experiment turns into shambles

July 22, 2015

The National Government’s charter school experiment has descended into chaos and it’s time for Hekia Parata to stop trying to cover up the full extent of the problems, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“The Education Minister must release all of the information about charter schools she has been sitting on for months.

Botched contract leads to charter school rort

July 20, 2015

A botched Government contract has allowed an Auckland charter school to double dip by getting funding for students it has accommodated for free, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“Information received by Labour through written Parliamentary questions show the Ministry of Education failed to check whether the Villa Education Trust had enough room to house the 160 students it is being funded for at the new Middle School West Auckland.

Trades funding cut short-sighted

July 19, 2015


Short-sighted funding cuts could lead to fewer school students learning trades, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

"Schools are now being financially penalised for enrolling students in trades academies. They could lose teachers and school management positions as a result. It’s a huge disincentive.


More testing won’t lift student achievement

July 02, 2015

Hekia Parata’s latest plan to subject school students to even more testing and assessment won’t do anything to lift the educational achievement of the kids who are struggling, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“New Zealand school students are already amongst the most tested kids in the world. We don’t need more assessment to tell us who the kids are that are falling behind. What we need is more targeted support so that they can catch up.

Cash for charter schools, mould for state schools

July 01, 2015

At a time when state schools are struggling in old, cold, mouldy buildings and can barely make ends meet, the National Government is shovelling cash at charter schools which aren’t even spending the funding on kids’ education, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“Recently released financial statements show the Whangarei charter school He Puna Marama received $3.9 million in government funding to the end of last year. Yet their audited accounts show they only spent $1.4 million on education, leaving almost $2.5 million over two years unaccounted for.

Axing of grant will add to looming teacher crisis

June 12, 2015

The scrapping of grants aimed at solving teacher shortages will only add to the looming teacher crisis the Government refuses to address, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“National announced it was axing these grants in the 2013 Budget and they have been slowly phased out since April this year. From Monday they will no longer be available.

Underfunding schools sells our kids short

June 03, 2015

Student learning will suffer and parents will be asked to fork out even more for their children’s education because of National’s underfunding of education in this year’s Budget, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“A survey of principals found cash-strapped schools have had to stop classroom activities, cancel field trips and drop some courses. One school even had to ask the Qualifications Authority for special permission to alter its assessment requirements so its students wouldn’t fail NCEA.

More proof that National Standards a failed experiment

June 03, 2015

New reports from the Ministry of Education further highlight what parents and teachers have known for ages – the National Standards data being touted by the Government isn’t worth the paper it is written on, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“A study of 15,838 children at 100 schools found that 60 percent of teachers’ judgments against the standards were wrong. National has repeatedly ignored advice from teachers that the standards are flawed and inconsistent. Their chickens are now coming home to roost.

Government cuts corners on school bus funding

May 27, 2015

The safety of children – not cost cutting – should be the main objective behind the Government’s funding of school buses, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“Buried in the detail of this year’s Budget are $19 million of funding cuts for school transport.

Teachers turn backs on new professional body

May 26, 2015


The fact that just 56 per cent of nominations for the Education Council came from registered teachers shows the profession has turned its back on Hekia Parata’s new professional body, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

Answers to written questions from Labour show 81 of 145 people nominated hold full teaching registration while a further 12 have provisional or yet to be confirmed registration.

Secret moves could undermine education system

May 06, 2015

The Government must explain why it is pushing to open doors to multinational private education providers through a controversial international free trade agreement, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

Documents leaked today show our Government is one of a handful wanting to protect the rights of multinational school franchises to set up operations here through the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA).

National still splashing cash on charter school experiment

May 02, 2015

New figures confirming that charter schools are still being funded at up to four times the rate of their state school counterparts shows just how desperate the National Government is to make its experiment a success, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

"It’s quite amazing that National continues to pour taxpayer dollars into charter schools, despite their mixed results, even when they’re failing to meet their cornerstone pledge to get the government books back into the black.

PPP schools not at expense of community groups

May 01, 2015

The Government must guarantee community groups will not be the losers out of its signing of a $298 million deal for four more public private partnership (PPP) schools, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“Community groups will find it more difficult to gain access to facilities at these schools after-hours and the Ministry of Education has previously admitted in some cases they will face additional costs for using them.

Report proves troubled school shouldn’t have opened

February 24, 2015

The long-awaited release of an Education Review Office report into Northland’s troubled Whangaruru charter school proves it should never have been approved in the first place, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“This report identifies problems with absenteeism and disengaged students and found the school’s board received numerous official complaints from parents concerned about health and safety issues.

RIP teachers’ autonomy

February 10, 2015

Labour is tonight in mourning for the autonomy teachers have lost over their own profession with the passing of the Education Amendment Bill, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

"Education Minister Hekia Parata’s new law is the final nail in the coffin for teachers wanting representation on their own professional body.

Confirmation of no confidence in schools plan

December 09, 2014

That just 90 of the country’s 2500 schools have signed up to the Government's one-size-fits all performance pay scheme confirms a wide-spread lack of confidence in it, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“The scheme, which creates ‘executive’ and ‘lead teacher’ roles – positions that will be paid significant bonuses to advise outside of their own schools – was overwhelmingly rejected by primary teachers.

Zero tolerance for forestry accidents a must

October 31, 2014

The Government must adopt a zero tolerance approach to workplace accidents in the forestry sector to stop people being killed, Labour’s Forestry spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“It is time for the Government and the forestry sector to put an end to the dangerous practises which resulted in the deaths of 10 workers last year alone.

Charter school crisis shows time to axe costly experiment

September 09, 2014

Dysfunction from day one at a Northland charter school shows it is time to dump this costly and failed experiment by the National-ACT Government, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“Te Kura Hourua ki Whangaruru received $27,000 in government funding for each of its 56 pupils. That is more than four times the funding nearby state schools receive for their students.

Candles out on teachers’ slice of birthday cake

September 05, 2014

Today may be Novopay’s second birthday, but there’s little to celebrate, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“Novopay has cost the taxpayer tens of millions of dollars already, and the cost is still climbing.

Underhand tactics prove case for axing donations

August 25, 2014

Revelations that schools are using underhand tactics to coerce donations from cash-strapped parents further highlights the need for Labour's plan to increase funding so they aren't dependent on contributions from parents, Labour's Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“By law New Zealand children are guaranteed a free school education, but government funding simply hasn't kept up with the cost of delivering that.

Cornered Government comes out swinging

August 22, 2014

The National Government is so desperate to keep its dead-in-the-water expert teachers policy alive, it has refused to rule out forcing schools to participate through legislation, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“John Key today attacked the Educational Institute for releasing a survey showing 93 per cent of primary teachers have no confidence in the Government’s plans to pay a handful of educators more.

National’s flagship education policy dead in the water

August 21, 2014

National’s plan to create executive principals and expert teachers is effectively dead in the water with news that 93 percent of primary teachers have no confidence in the scheme, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“The fact that teachers are so overwhelmingly opposed to National’s plan to pay a handful of school managers more comes as no surprise and simply reinforces the fact that there are far better ways to use that money.

Teachers line up for last chance at democracy

August 07, 2014

Plans by National to scrap the democratically-elected Teachers Council have prompted 37 nominations for just four places, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“This is the last chance teachers have to elect their own council before the Government replaces it with the newly formed Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand (EDUCANZ).

Taxpayer to fork out millions for Novopay rescue

July 30, 2014

It will be cold comfort to teachers and school staff still struggling with Novopay that the National Government has finally stepped in to rescue the failed payroll system two years after it was introduced, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“How on earth did the Education Minister sign off on a system that was so deficient? And why did it so long for the minister who took over responsibility, Steven Joyce, to finally decide to take action?

ACT trying to have it both ways on zoning

July 24, 2014

ACT Party candidate David Seymour’s campaign against changes to school zones in the Epsom electorate looks hollow given his party’s commitment to the abolition of school zoning altogether, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“It’s disingenuous for David Seymour to argue against changes that would impact on Auckland Grammar and Epsom Girls Grammar School when, if his party had their way, there would be no zones at all.

School told to manipulate national standards data

July 23, 2014

Parents can have little confidence in the Government’s National Standards after an Auckland school was told to manipulate its data so it added up, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.

“Valley School in Pukekohe was advised in an email from the Ministry of Education to arbitrarily adjust student results from ‘below standard’ to ‘above standard’ to make their data add up.

Parata ploughs ahead with anti-democracy plan

July 16, 2014


Hekia Parata is ignoring overwhelming opposition by ploughing ahead with plans to gut the political independence of the teaching profession and stifle democracy on tertiary institution councils, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“It is no surprise a massive 91 per cent of submitters completely opposed the Education Amendment Bill. Only six submitters out of 937 fully supported the Government’s proposals.

Labour to support gifted kids and special character schools

July 10, 2014

A Labour Government will help gifted children reach their full potential by properly funding dedicated and effective programmes outside their regular classes, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“Labour will restore a ring-fenced fund to support these programmes, as well as re-establish the Gifted Advisory Board to identify and share evidence-based best practise. We will also ensure teacher programmes for professional development in this area have sufficient funding.

Survey shows parents want smaller class sizes

July 08, 2014

A new survey finding most parents believe class sizes are too big shows Labour is right to reduce them, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“The Post-Primary Teachers' Association survey of 750 people conducted by UMR Research found 54 per cent of people with dependent children believed class sizes were too big.

Minister fails to learn from class size debacle

July 07, 2014

Hekia Parata has learnt nothing from two years of public outcry and still believes class sizes don’t matter, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

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