David Parker

Labour List MP

Spokesperson for the Environment, Water, Regulatory Reform, State Owned Enterprises, ICT, and Entrepreneurship
Shadow Attorney General

Contact David Parker

Born in Roxburgh in 1960, David Parker grew up and studied in Dunedin, graduating with a BCom (Acctg)/LLB from the University of Otago.

He had a long career in business and law before being elected to Parliament as Labour MP in the normally safe National seat of Otago in 2002.

In earlier years, he joined a group of law students to co-found the Dunedin Community Law Centre, and later became a managing and litigation partner in South Island law firm Anderson Lloyd.

He has been involved in many businesses, including innovative bio-tech export start-ups A2 Corporation, BLIS Technologies, Botryzen and Pharmazen, as well as in more traditional industries. He is an experienced CEO and company director.

David was appointed to Cabinet in 2005, and served as Minister of Energy, Climate Change, Transport, State Services, Attorney-General, and Land Information under the Helen Clark Government.

In opposition David Parker has served as Deputy Leader, Shadow Attorney General, and in Finance, Economic Development and various other roles.

David wants Labour to rally New Zealand behind a central goal of delivering prosperity and fairer economic outcomes for New Zealanders. A fair go and a fair share. This requires lifting exports, more productive investment and discouraging speculation. He wants the benefits of economic growth to be fairly shared so as to prevent extremes of rich and poor becoming entrenched in New Zealand, and to fund essential services for the community.

In 2013 he travelled to the United States and Europe, meeting with experts to discuss innovations to monetary and tax policy to boost growth and exports.

David is an avid tramper and is also dedicated to lifting New Zealand’s environmental performance. In 2008 he was named by the Listener magazine as environmentalist of the year for his work as Minister of Energy and Climate Change.

He also features in the most-viewed Parliamentary question ever – a humorous exchange with Gerry Brownlee on going tramping in conservation areas then threatened with mining.

David has three children, spends time in his home town of Dunedin, and in Auckland with his partner Barbara. 

Contact David Parker

Parliamentary office

Address: Freepost PO Box 18 888, Parliament Buildings, Wellington 6160
Phone: 04 817 8280

Latest from David Parker

Scandalous Saudi sheep saga rolls on

January 28, 2016

It is scurrilous that the Government is pushing ahead with plans to spend many millions of taxpayer money on an abattoir in Saudi Arabia without knowing who’ll end up owning it, Labour MP David Parker says.

“More than $12 million of taxpayer money has been wasted on the Al Khalaf ‘demonstration’ farm in the desert, including the scandalous $4m cash payment exposed last year.

Landmark ruling finds Police acted illegally

December 17, 2015

Today’s landmark ruling from Justice Clifford that a raid on the home of journalist Nicky Hager was illegal means there was unlawful action by police during two elections in a row, Labour’s Shadow Attorney-General David Parker says.

"For the past two elections complaints in the media from the Prime Minister have led to inappropriate and excessive action by the police against journalists.

Govt gets its way – phone line prices going up

December 15, 2015

Consumers in rural and regional New Zealand are the biggest losers in today’s Commerce Commission decision to hike copper phone line prices, Labour’s ICT spokesperson David Parker says.

“Today’s shock announcement of a 10 per cent increase in the regulated wholesale copper phone line price will cost all households – particularly in areas where they are still waiting for ultra-fast broadband. 

ETS review a farce as Groser evades advice

December 11, 2015

The Secretary for the Environment has admitted that the Ministry for the Environment gave no advice to Tim Groser about excluding agricultural greenhouse gas emissions from the review of the emissions trading scheme, says Labour’s spokesperson for the Environment David Parker.

“Vicky Robertson’s admission at the Select Committee review of the Ministry for the Environment follows the announcement by Tim Groser in November that the review of the ETS will exclude the growing half of New Zealand’s emissions which come from agriculture.

Cash for cans and bottles scheme a great initiative

December 08, 2015

The new Incentive to Recycle Report from Envision NZ recommending a return to offering cash for empty drink containers is a great initiative, says Labour’s Environment spokesperson David Parker.

“It’s disheartening to see that millions of dollars of Government grants to boost beverage container recycling have had no impact on our poor rate of recycling.

Labour will back RMA changes at first reading

December 01, 2015

Labour will back changes to the Resource Management Act because it is a step in the right direction, Labour’s Environmental spokesperson David Parker says.

“We have always said we would support sensible process improvements to the RMA. We are pleased National lost the battle to undermine the core environmental protections in the Act. 

Sheep cover-up ridiculous as minister doesn’t read NZTE report

November 18, 2015

The ongoing cover-up of the Saudi sheep scandal has reached new lows with the Primary Industries Minister saying releasing a taxpayer-funded report into the lamb deaths isn’t in the public interest despite admitting he hasn’t read it, says Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson David Parker.

“Question Time is becoming a farce when ministers are able to dodge questions in this way. Nathan Guy was asked a direct primary question on the NZTE report into the 80 per cent death rate of lambs on the Saudi sheep farm but admitted he had not even read the report.

Groser bungle means Koreans can ban NZ buyers but we can’t ban theirs

November 10, 2015

Trade Minister Tim Groser has been forced to admit in Parliament that South Korea can ban New Zealanders buying Korean homes after refusing to acknowledge this previously, Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson David Parker says

“National has blundered badly in its Korean free trade agreement.


Saudi tender process reeks of SkyCity approach

August 19, 2015

The tender process for the $6m investment in a Saudi sheep farm reeks like the SkyCity convention centre deal and once again contravenes the government’s own procurement rules, says Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson David Parker.

“The $6m contract for the Saudi sheep farm was awarded to Brownrigg Agriculture – long-time business associates and now partners of the Saudi businessman Hmood Al-Khalaf. This is separate to the $4 million cash payment to the Al Khalaf Group.

Crucial Auditor General investigation welcomed

August 18, 2015

The Auditor General’s decision to investigate the Saudi sheep scandal is important, necessary and welcome, Labour’s Trade and Export Growth spokesperson David Parker says.

“The independent functions of the Auditor General are a cornerstone of the New Zealand system of government. The Auditor General’s oversight powers are intended to ensure taxpayer money is applied legally, and uphold proper standards of ministerial and departmental conduct.

Did Murray McCully break Public Finance Act?

August 12, 2015

Murray McCully appears to have breached the Public Finance Act by dressing up the cash payment paid to Al Khalaf as a joint venture, new documents show, Labour’s Trade and Export Growth spokesperson David Parker says.

“In a briefing to Murray McCully on 19 April 2012, MFAT officials said they would find a way to meet Al Khalaf’s previously stated desire for compensation ‘possibly through the joint venture’. They did this after Mr McCully had earlier insisted the $4 million payment not be called compensation because that would cause “a plethora of layers and bureaucrats” to become involved. 

John Key must take responsibility for Saudi Sheep Scandal

August 05, 2015

John Key must take responsibility for his Government’s Saudi sheep scandal, and apologise to New Zealanders for sullying the reputation of our country for fair dealing, says Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson David Parker.

“His ham fisted attempt to blame everyone but his own Government has now unravelled with yesterday’s release of official papers. He stands guilty of having sullied New Zealand’s international reputation, and wasting over $11 million of taxpayers money.

$4 million was to advance trade not settle legal claim

August 04, 2015

It is now even more apparent that the $4 million payment to the Al Khalaf group was to advance trade with Saudi Arabia, not to settle a legal claim, says Export Growth and Trade spokesperson David Parker.

“Documents released today show the Auditor General found the Indicative Business Case raised more questions than it answers.

Will poor TPP dairy outcome stop National selling out our homes?

July 31, 2015

After failing to protect the right to stop foreign speculators buying our houses it’s clear the Government is not going to get wins on dairy in their TPP negotiations either, Labour’s Trade and Export spokesperson David Parker says.

“Labour has set out our bottom lines on the TPP, but it appears National’s keep sliding

Minimum Wage Amendment Bill to protect contractors

July 22, 2015

All New Zealanders should be treated fairly at work. Currently, the law allows non-employment relationships to be used to get around the minimum wage. This is unfair, says Labour MP David Parker.

“The Minimum Wage (Contractor Remuneration) Amendment Bill, a member’s bill in my name, is due to be considered in Parliament this evening. It protects New Zealanders who are paid less than the minimum wage on contract.

Treasury latest to withhold Saudi sheep scandal information

July 17, 2015

The Labour Party will today lodge a complaint with the Ombudsman after the Treasury became the latest government department to withhold information on the Saudi sheep scandal.

Labour’s Trade and Export Growth spokesperson David Parker says the Government has been trying to hide facts from the public since it was revealed two months ago it flew sheep to Saudi Arabia, spent millions on a farm in the desert and provided a $4 million facilitation payment to the Al Khalaf group.

Response to comments by Susan Devoy

July 13, 2015

Race Relations Commissioner Susan Devoy’s comments are wrong and undermine her role, Labour’s Shadow Attorney-General David Parker says.

Ms Devoy has said today that the use of "half-baked" housing data to suggest overseas Chinese nationals are increasingly buying property in Auckland is "disappointing". “Chinese New Zealanders deserve better than this and so does anyone keen on actually solving this issue."

More questions – why was the Former National Party President involved with Saudi Farm Deal in 2011?

June 24, 2015

Today in Parliament Murray  McCully said the reason Michelle Boag was involved in 2011 in the Saudi farm scandal was in her capacity as a member of the New Zealand Middle East Business Council. The problem with that answer is that she was not on that council until 2012, says Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson David Parker.

“Ms Boag was on TV on the 31 May of this year defending the government. Asked then about her involvement, she said she worked for the Middle East Business Council. Asked if she helped with the farm deal she said: ‘ No, no it was done entirely by officials.’

PM must explain Saudi sheep scandal backflips

June 22, 2015

John Key’s explanations of the Saudi sheep scandal continue to be riddled with inconsistencies and irreconcilable backflips, Labour’s Trade Spokesperson David Parker says.

“Either he has been misled by his Minister Murray McCully or the Prime Minister is deliberately obfuscating in order to confuse the public;

Operation Desert Storm

June 18, 2015

Blaming Saudi sand storms for the deaths of 70 per cent of Kiwi lambs born on a model farm meant to showcase New Zealand agricultural expertise is another part of the ludicrous attempt to disguise buying the cooperation of a wealthy Saudi Arabian businessman, Labour’s Trade Spokesperson David Parker says.

“Ministers are now trying escape being caught up in the scandal caused by Murray McCully.

Saudi sheep papers released at 1pm if the Government does not do so

June 17, 2015

The 2007 cabinet papers relating to the prohibition on the export of live sheep for slaughter will be released  at 1pm today if the Government fails to do so, says Labour’s Export and Trade spokesperson David Parker.

“It is now three weeks since the Prime Minister and Mr McCully claimed that former papers from the last Labour government proved that the $4 million facilitation payment to the Al Khalaf group, the $6 million model farm and the million dollar sheep flight were justified, and were to settle a claim for $20m to $30m by the Saudi group.

More murk over Saudi desert farm deal

June 16, 2015

 The Foreign Minister’s refusal to answer questions around the tender process for the multi-million farm in the Saudi desert is appalling, says Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson David Parker. 

“We are now four weeks into the unfolding scandal about the $4 million facilitation payment - in other jurisdictions called a bribe - and the so-called model farm. 

Govt must end secrecy on sheep exports

June 11, 2015

Questions remain about secrecy surrounding a shipment of 50,000 sheep to Mexico this week, following years of controversy and problems with live exports, Labour’s Trade spokesperson David Parker says.

“New Zealand’s international reputation for humane treatment of animals is very important to the premium price New Zealand farmers get for chilled lamb exports.

National must back up bluster and immediately release papers

June 04, 2015

Labour is calling John Key’s bluff and insists he immediately release papers he claims show Labour was aware of a supposed legal threat by Saudi businessman Hamood Al Ali Al Khalaf, says Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson David Parker.

“Today I tried to table in Parliament the Cabinet Papers from the previous Labour Government in 2007 that John Key claims show Labour caused the legal threat he says justified the multimillion dollar payment to the Khalaf group in 2013.

McCully excuses unravel in Saudi sheep scandal

May 28, 2015

Murray McCully has misled New Zealanders, Parliament and his Cabinet colleagues on the real reasons for paying millions of dollars in the Saudi sheep scandal – it’s time for him to clean, says Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson David Parker.

“Mr McCully insisted on his Saudi sheep stitch-up being under the table so didn’t seek advice on whether the deal contravened OECD conventions, ask for legal advice on Al-Khalaf’s threatened lawsuit and didn’t tell Cabinet the lawsuit threat had been withdrawn before his colleagues agreed to the first $4 million payment.

Wilkinson appointment wrong in principle

May 27, 2015

The appointment of former Conservation Minister Hon Kate Wilkinson as an Environment Commissioner is wrong in principle, says Labour’s Shadow Attorney-General David Parker.

“The doctrine of separation of powers requires judicial processes to remain separate and independent from the legislature for important reasons. Citizens need confidence that the law will be, and will appear to be, applied impartially.

McCully doesn’t deny bribe in Saudi sheep scandal

May 27, 2015

“In Parliament today I asked Murray McCully directly: Why is he the first Minister in history to back a multi-million dollar facilitation arrangement which in other jurisdictions is called a bribe? says Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson David Parker.

“In response the Minister refused to deny the allegation, which is scandalous.

Housing crisis hurting export growth

April 24, 2015

If Steven Joyce wants to revive his failing export growth target he needs to make sure the Government gets to grips with the housing crisis, says David Parker, Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson.

“Our exporters are struggling to compete overseas because the overvalued dollar is being pushed up by interest rates that are being kept higher than needed to tackle Auckland’s rampant property bubble.

Government must be more transparent on investor state clauses

March 27, 2015

The Government must be more transparent around the draft investor state dispute settlements in the TPPA, says David Parker, Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson.

“Labour is pro trade, and is proud of the FTA we negotiated with China, which includes well drafted ISDS provisions. We also support the FTA with South Korea.

Reserve Bank’s dairy warning must be heard

November 12, 2014

The Reserve Bank’s warning that falling dairy prices are creating greater risks for the New Zealand economy must be taken seriously by Bill English and John Key, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker.

“Dairy prices have nearly halved since February and the Reserve Bank today said a low dairy pay out could increase the number of loan defaults in coming years.

Govt books getting worse as economy slows

November 07, 2014

National’s economic credibility is under serious scrutiny with its search for surplus becoming harder due to an economy far too reliant on the dairy industry, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker.

“National promised New Zealanders would get into surplus by improving the economy. It has been six years in government and more than three years since the financial crisis ended and they still haven’t run a surplus.

Journalists have right to protect sources

October 07, 2014

Legal authorities must respect the right of journalist Nicky Hager to protect the source of his material for his Dirty Politics book under Section 68 of the Evidence Act, Acting Labour Leader David Parker says.

“It is crucial in an open democracy that journalists are not forced to reveal their sources so whistle-blowers feel able to come forward with information.

Is this really necessary?

October 03, 2014

No one denies chief executives should be well paid for their skills and experience, but it is the efforts of all employees which contribute to company profits, Labour’s Acting Leader David Parker says.

“Salaries paid to chief executives come at the expense of other working Kiwis and consumers.

Lyttelton Port workers also deserve pay rises

October 03, 2014

Hard slog by Lyttelton Port workers contributed to strong financial growth for the company and they deserve to be rewarded for their work as much as its chief executive, says Labour’s Acting Leader David Parker.

“Lyttelton Port chief executive Peter Davie is being rewarded for the company’s strong results with an almost $200,000 pay rise, increasing his salary by 18 per cent from $1.04 million to $1.24 million.

Dairy price fall shows urgent need to diversify

October 03, 2014

The overnight drop in milk prices shows New Zealand’s overreliance on the dairy industry puts our economy in a vulnerable position, says Acting Labour Leader David Parker.

“Dairy prices fell 7.3 per cent overnight and have almost halved since February. This is bad news that will have knock-on effects for the rest of the economy.


Voting has started and still no tax plan or fiscal budget for voters to see

September 06, 2014

"Even though voting for the election has already begun, National still refuses to provide any details of its proposed tax cuts. And Bill English admitted this morning that he won’t provide any specifics until after the election", Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker says.

“National is now dangling the prospect of vague and undefined tax cuts just weeks after Bill English said nothing substantial was affordable.

National’s partners’ tax plans cost at least $42 billion

September 05, 2014

If National forms the next government its partners’ tax plans will cost the country at least $42 billion, and maybe as much as $50 billion, wreaking havoc with the books, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker.

“National claims to be extremely concerned about the fiscal prudence of the next Labour Government. This is despite Labour producing a fully costed alternative budget with headroom for coalition arrangements after the election.

Commission of Inquiry must have bipartisan support

September 01, 2014

The Labour Party is drafting terms of reference for a Commission of Inquiry, Labour’s Shadow Attorney-General David Parker says.

“It is abundantly clear there is a need for an independent Commission of Inquiry, chaired by a High Court Judge, into practices in Ministerial offices.

It’s downhill from here under National

August 19, 2014

The forecast drop in exports and predicted halving of growth shows that it’s downhill from here with National, Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker says.

“Growth under this Government peaked in June and halves to two per cent in coming years. At the same time wages will stagnate and interest rates will rise relentlessly.

PREFU likely to confirm dropping exports

August 18, 2014

National’s economic management will be put under the spotlight in tomorrow’s PREFU given clear signs the so-called rock star economy has fallen off the stage, with plummeting prices for raw commodity exports, Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker says.

“Under National, New Zealand has become ever more reliant on raw commodities such as milk and logs while non-primary manufacturing exports and other industries struggle.

Nats sold 500 rugby fields of land a day offshore

August 11, 2014

Under National over one million hectares of land has been approved for overseas sale – 16 times the size of Lake Taupō or the equivalent of five hundred rugby fields a day, Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker says.

“According to the Overseas Investment Office’s records, 1,002,591 hectares of land (10,000 square km) has been approved for sale to wholly and partially controlled overseas interests since John Key took office.

Joyce’s dodgy sums fool no-one

August 11, 2014

Steven Joyce's attempt to attack Labour's positive plan for affordable healthcare will fool no-one.

"We knew that National would try to say that we can't afford free GP visits and prescriptions for the New Zealanders who need it. But, as David Cunliffe said in his speech today:

National’s meaningless farm sales criteria

August 06, 2014

While John Key claimed to be tightening up overseas farm sales Bill English was quietly defining ‘large farms’ that would be subject to overseas investment restrictions as being ten times the size of an average farm, Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker says.

“Bill English issued a new ministerial directive to the OIO in December 2010 telling it to consider ‘large farms’, to be at least ten times the size of an average farm.

Labour will keep Kiwi land in Kiwi hands

August 04, 2014

The next Labour Government will keep rural and residential land in Kiwi hands, Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker says.

“New Zealanders are sick of seeing their farms and homes sold to overseas buyers with the profits and opportunities going offshore. No overseas person has the right to buy our land.

Joyce’s bluster distraction from land sale double-speak

August 03, 2014

Steven Joyce’s accusation that Labour is xenophobic is a blatant attempt to hide National’s broken promise over land sales, Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker says.

"The Economic Development Minister showed extreme rudeness when he talked over others during an interview on the Nation this weekend.

Interest rate rise will hit the regions

July 24, 2014

The latest interest rate rise will hit the fragile regional economies of  New Zealand and hurt exporters by putting more upward pressure on the exchange rate, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. 

“The regions are already hit by dropping  export prices for dairy products and timber prices plus they have flat housing markets from LVRs . Now they have  to endure another interest rate rise which is a direct result of the Auckland housing price bubble.

KiwiSaver innovations needed to build wealth

July 21, 2014

The innovative changes to KiwiSaver suggested by the Financial Services Council today will be seriously considered by Labour as part of plans to make KiwiSaver universal, Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker says.

“Universal KiwiSaver is an essential part of Labour’s plan to grow the wealth of New Zealand and create better jobs that pay higher wages.

Labour won’t abandon regional New Zealand

July 17, 2014

Labour will ensure no regions in New Zealand are ‘red-zoned’ by tailoring Regional Growth Plans for each province as part of our Economic Upgrade, Labour’s Finance spokesperson and Deputy Leader David Parker says.

“The Royal Society of New Zealand’s Our Future report highlights the hollowing out of our regions under National, a trend that Labour has long warned of.

Milk price fall shows need for Economic Upgrade

July 16, 2014

The 35 per cent fall in milk prices since February shows New Zealand needs an Economic Upgrade to limit its overreliance on the dairy industry, Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker says.

“New Zealand is too reliant on one industry – recent falls in the milk price shows our vulnerability.

No encore for the ‘Rock Star’ economy?

July 08, 2014

Another significant shortfall in the Government’s books suggests the economic recovery may have already passed most New Zealanders by, Labour’ Finance spokesperson David Parker says.

“With unemployment still high, wage rates stagnating and inequality widening, only the lucky few are benefiting from National’s much-hyped ‘rock star’ economy.

SPEECH: David Parker's speech to New Zealand Labour Party Congress 2014

July 05, 2014

Speech to the New Zealand Labour Party Annual Congress 2014

Kia ora tatou,

I’m delighted to speak with you this morning.

KiwiSaver’s 7th birthday something to be proud of

July 01, 2014

“KiwiSaver celebrates its seventh birthday today with 2.3 million people now enrolled, making it the most popular retirement saving scheme in New Zealand history, Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker says.

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