Rodney Hide

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Rodney Hide

Rodney Hide at parliament.JPG
13th Minister of Local Government
In office
24 November 2008 – 14 December 2011
Prime MinisterJohn Key
Preceded byNanaia Mahuta
Succeeded byChris Tremain
Minister for Regulatory Reform
In office
19 November 2008 – 14 December 2011
Prime MinisterJohn Key
Succeeded byJohn Banks
Leader of ACT New Zealand
In office
13 June 2004 – 28 April 2011
DeputyMuriel Newman
Heather Roy
Preceded byRichard Prebble
Succeeded byDon Brash
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for ACT List
In office
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Epsom
In office
Preceded byRichard Worth
Succeeded byJohn Banks
Majority3102 (8.67%)
Personal details
Born (1956-12-16) 16 December 1956 (age 64)
Oxford, New Zealand
NationalityNew Zealand
Political partyACT New Zealand
Spouse(s)Louise Crome

Rodney Philip Hide QSO (born 16 December 1956) is a former New Zealand politician of the ACT New Zealand party. Hide was a Member of Parliament for ACT from 1996 until 2011, was ACT's leader between 2004 and 2011, and represented the Epsom constituency from 2005 to 2011. In the Fifth National Government, Hide was Minister of Local Government, Associate Minister of Commerce and Minister of Regulatory Reform until 2011.[1]

He stepped down as ACT leader in April 2011 after a leadership challenge from Don Brash and retired from Parliament at the general election later that year.[2]

Early life[edit]

Rodney Philip Hide[3] was born in Oxford in Canterbury. His father, Philip Hide, owned a small mixed-farm at Cust and also drove trucks. In 1960, due to sickness, Philip Hide sold the small farm and moved to Rangiora, continuing to drive trucks until his retirement. Rodney Hide attended Rangiora High School, before gaining a degree in zoology and botany from the University of Canterbury. After completing his degree, he travelled overseas, eventually finding himself in Scotland. He worked for some time on oil rigs in the North Sea. Hide eventually returned to New Zealand by way of Romania, Egypt, India, Bangladesh, and Malaysia. In Malaysia he re-met Jiuan Jiuan—with whom he had shared a house in Christchurch—and the two married in 1983. They were to separate in 2007.[4]

After returning to New Zealand, Hide gained a degree in resource management from Lincoln College, Canterbury. He then took up a teaching position at Lincoln, first in resource management and later in economics. He completed his master's degree in economics from Montana State University with a thesis on New Zealand's transferable fishing quotas.[3]

In 1993, Alan Gibbs, an Auckland businessman, offered Hide a job as an economist. He accepted, and also began working at a radio station owned by Gibbs. Later, Hide also met Roger Douglas, a former Minister of Finance whose radical economic reforms Rogernomics had made a considerable impression on him.

When Douglas established the Association of Consumers and Taxpayers (which later formed the ACT party), Hide had close involvement as the organisation's first chairman and president.

Member of Parliament[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate List Party
1996–1999 45th List 7 ACT
1999–2002 46th List 5 ACT
2002–2005 47th List 2 ACT
2005–2008 48th Epsom 1 ACT
2008–2011 49th Epsom 1 ACT

Hide first entered Parliament in 1996 as a list MP. He won the party parliamentary leadership role in a closely contested primary after the retirement of Richard Prebble in 2004. He then went on to win the Epsom electorate from sitting National Party MP Richard Worth in 2005 with the campaign message "ACT is back". He retained this seat in the 2008 election.

Hide had a reputation for strong views, for his media profile, and for his confrontational style. In 2002, when Hide still sat on the back benches, one commentator[who?] described him the "leader of the opposition".[5] Hide's supporters often described him as one of the most effective opposition MPs, and praised him for his motivation and commitment.[citation needed]

Entry into Parliament[edit]

Hide held the seventh place on the ACT party list for the 1996 election. ACT received enough votes for Hide to enter Parliament, making him one of the party's "founding" MPs. He gradually rose through the party's ranks, reaching second place in the ACT list for the 2002 election.

In his maiden speech, Hide made a specific attack on "perks" enjoyed by MPs, and this "perk-busting" became a characteristic of his political career until he was himself exposed for taking advantage of such perks, in taking his girlfriend on a tax payer funded trip to London and Hawaii.[6] Hide still however claims to have developed a substantial reputation for finding and exposing "scandals", whether they relate to MPs' perks or to other governmental matters. Hide's critics often claim that his "scandals" rely on sensationalism and exaggeration, and have as their only purpose the gaining of media attention; but his supporters believe that Hide's constant scrutiny "keeps the government honest" and ensures that the administration does not waste taxpayers' money.

Roger Douglas himself has emerged as one of Hide's more prominent critics, referring to Hide's "stunts" as detracting from ACT's core economic message, shifting focus to populist issues of law and order and to provocative race relations policies. At a party conference, Douglas condemned MPs "who run any fickle line capable of grabbing short-term votes and attention", a comment allegedly directed at Hide or at his supporters. Hide acknowledges the criticism, but defends himself on the grounds that a focus on pure economic theory will not attract interest: "the problem is that the so-called stunts are particularly well-reported and my work explaining free market ideas disappears without trace." The tension between Douglas and Hide increased when Hide made a bid for the vice-presidency of ACT in 2000: supporters of Douglas interpreted this action as a challenge to Douglas' organisational authority within the party. Both Douglas and Hide stood down from their roles as president and vice-president, suggesting an uneasy truce between these two factions. In 2008 the two men worked closely together with Douglas holding third place on the party list following Hide and Heather Roy.

ACT Party leadership[edit]

Many people had known for some time that Hide saw himself as a potential parliamentary leader of the ACT party, and he himself showed no reluctance in saying so. At several points, rumours circulated that Hide planned to challenge party leader Richard Prebble for his position, although such a challenge never emerged. When Prebble eventually announced his retirement, his critics[who?] claimed that this had been brought about by secret campaigning by Hide. However, Prebble himself has denied this claim and it appears more likely that he stood down for personal reasons, as he publicly claimed.

When Prebble announced his retirement, Hide quickly indicated that he would seek the caucus leadership. Prebble, however, appeared unenthusiastic about the prospect of Hide succeeding him, and in a speech praising each of the new leadership contenders, pointedly dwelled on the others. The succession method chosen by Prebble also appeared to disfavour Hide: rather than a simple caucus vote, which a conventional leadership challenge would have called, a four-way election involved all ACT party members (although the election remained only "indicative"). Many people consider[who?] that the party organisation, in which Douglas has considerable influence, dislikes Hide.[citation needed]

Hide campaigned against Stephen Franks, Ken Shirley, and Muriel Newman for the ACT party parliamentary leadership. In the race he claimed that his high public profile and his image of strength would prove crucial to ACT's political survival. Stephen Franks, seen as the primary "anti-Hide" candidate and a social conservative, had the backing of Roger Douglas. In the end, however, Hide prevailed, and the party introduced Hide as its new leader on 13 June 2004.

Under Hide's leadership, the vote in the September 2005 election severely reduced ACT's party parliamentary representation. ACT's share of the party vote dropped from over 7% of the total in 2002 to around 1.5%; its representation in Parliament fell from nine MPs to two. Despite this reduction, the party remained in parliament due to Hide winning the Epsom seat. As a consequence of its reduced share of the vote, ACT received a significant cut in taxpayer-funded Parliamentary resourcing and Hide shifted his electorate office in Remuera to Newmarket, the same location as that of ACT's head office.

As a post-election strategy, Rodney Hide focused on his high-profile attacks on prominent Labour Party MPs. His campaign against alleged abuse of schoolchildren by Labour Party minister David Benson-Pope, which was verified by the now grown children involved, continued to make headlines in late 2005.[citation needed] In 2006, Hide voiced speculation on the leadership cadre of the National Party (then led by Don Brash), a strategy which gained him headlines but complicated the once co-operative relationship between ACT and National.[citation needed]

Dancing with the Stars[edit]

In 2006, Hide appeared as a contestant in the celebrity-based Dancing with the Stars television series, in which he, paired with a professional dancer, competing against other celebrities. Funds raised through his performance went to St John's Ambulance. Hide stated that he appeared on the show as a personal challenge, having never danced before, and despite harsh criticism from the show's judges placed fourth.[7]

ACT in Government[edit]

At the 2008 election, Hide retained his Epsom seat;[8][9] with a subsequent rise in party popularity, ACT increased its representation in parliament from two seats to five.[10] The National Party won the most seats and formed a minority government with the support of ACT, the Māori Party and United Future. Hide was appointed as a Minister outside Cabinet[11] and was appointed to the office of the Minister of Local Government, Minister for Regulatory Reform and Associate Minister of Commerce.[12]

One of the main focuses of Hide's work in cabinet was the Auckland 'Super City' proposal for unification of the various local authorities of Auckland. This initiative was started by the then-Labour government in 2007, which set up a Royal Commission to investigate the local government arrangements in the Auckland region.[13] The Commission reported back in 2009, but Hide and Prime Minister John Key announced that several of the commission's recommendations would not be accepted. In particular, the proposed six district sub-councils would be replaced by a local structure of 20-30 community boards. The recommendation to have separate concept Maori representation was also not accepted.[14]

Hide faced criticism from various parties over the local authority amalgamation. Issues of satellite city boundaries, assets, financing & political consolidation were raised by North Shore City mayor Andrew Williams in 2009.[15][16] That same year, the Labour Party accused Hide of mismanaging the Auckland reform process and criticised Hide's advocacy of privatising council assets and services. Labour also alleged that a bad process had led to the centralisation of power in the hands of a privileged few.[17] In 2010, a New Zealand Herald editorial made five further criticisms of Hide's implementation of the 'super city' amalgamation:

  1. Hide had a bad track record of consultation in the design of the single city,
  2. He was plainly driven by his ideological agenda,
  3. He had threatened to resign if the Prime Minister acceded to a strong call for Maori seats,
  4. He had ignored concerns about the lack of power of local boards, and,
  5. as much as 90 per cent of services were to be run by seven Government-appointed boards.[18]

Despite these criticisms, the amalgamation went ahead and the first Auckland Council elections were held in 2010.

Leadership questioned[edit]

In November 2009, a special ACT-party caucus meeting was held to discuss the Hide's position as party leader, where he was chosen to be retained.[19]

On 28 April 2011, he resigned as leader of ACT after a successful challenge from former National leader Don Brash.[2] Hide indicated to Brash he would not be standing in the 2011 general election.[20] When he left parliament he chose not to give a valedictory speech.[21]

Political views[edit]

Perk busting[edit]

Hide was criticised in November 2009 for taking his girlfriend Louise Crome on a tax-payer funded private holiday to Hawaii and on a tax-payer funded trip to London, Canada and the United States. He repaid the money for the Hawaii trip.[22][23] These allegations were particularly notable given Hide's history as a self-styled parliamentary perk-buster, particularly in Opposition.[24]

Climate change[edit]

As ACT leader, Hide criticised Labour's emissions trading scheme in September 2008 and said climate change and global warming were a "hoax". He said that the data and the hypothesis did not hold together, and that the legislation would drive up the cost of basic goods, ruining businesses and farmers.[25] Hide stated "the entire climate change - global warming hypothesis is a hoax, that the data and the hypothesis do not hold together, that Al Gore is a phoney and a fraud on this issue, and that the emissions trading scheme is a worldwide scam and swindle".[26] In November 2008, after ACT had negotiated with National for a review of the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme, New Zealand Herald journalist Brian Rudman commented that Hide had "fruitcake views on global warming".[27]

In 2010, in a speech to Parliament, Hide compared government-funded climate science to the Spanish inquisition. He also accused the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research of being involved in a scandal with its temperature data and claimed that its scientific credibility was shredded.[28]

In 2012, Hide continued to write opinion articles in the press questioning climate science and emissions trading schemes. In the National Business Review, Hide claimed that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report in 2007 was 'infamously wrong' and contained schoolboy errors and had been written by people who had to 'believe the human-induced global warming nonsense before they start'.[29] In the Herald, Hide said that the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is a 'scam and a waste'. Hide agreed that CO2 from fossil fuels is a greenhouse gas that has caused warming, but that the warming wasn't worrying until the effect had been multiplied with computer models that are programmed to cause scary climate change. [30]

Life after Parliament[edit]

In December 2011 Hide was granted the right to retain the title of The Honourable[31] in recognition of his term as a Member of the Executive Council of New Zealand. He was also appointed a Companion of the Queen's Service Order in the 2013 New Year Honours, for services as a member of Parliament.[32]

Hide wrote a political column for the New Zealand Herald for a time, and has also worked as a casual labourer.[33] Following news of Operation Yewtree in Britain and the subsequent trial of Australian entertainer Rolf Harris, a member of the New Zealand Parliament, Maggie Barry, described a groping by Harris during a studio interview she conducted in her previous broadcasting career.[34] Hide taunted her in his newspaper column, urging her to use her parliamentary privilege to breach the name suppression order protecting the defendant in the Queenstown suppressed indecency case.[35]

Hide is now married to Louise Crome, and the couple have three children, Liberty, Grace, and Erisson, and Hide has a son from his previous marriage.[36]

Selected works[edit]

  • Ackroyd, Peter, Rodney P. Hide, and Basil Sharp. New Zealand's ITQ system: Prospects for the evolution of sole ownership corporations. MAFFish, 1990.
  • Hide, Rodney P., and Peter Ackroyd. Depoliticising fisheries management: Chatham Islands' paua (abalone) as a case study. 1990.
  • Hide, Rodney P. Property rights and natural resource policy. Centre for Resource Management, Publications Section, Lincoln College, 1987.


  1. ^ Kay, Martin (17 November 2008). "New groups part of deals". The Dominion Post.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ a b Satherley, Dan (27 April 2011). "Rodney Hide resigns, makes way for Brash". 3 News. Archived from the original on 1 October 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
  3. ^ a b Hide, Rodney Phillip (1992). "Monopolizing individual transferable quota: theory and evidence" (PDF). Montana State University. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
  4. ^ Cook, Stephen (11 March 2007). "Rodney Hide's marriage ends after 23 years". The New Zealand Herald.
  5. ^ Miller, Geoffrey (27 April 2011). "Don Brash's move from National to Act". Liberation. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  6. ^ Gower, Patrick (28 April 2011). "Hide's hypocrisy cost him his job". News Hub.
  7. ^ McNaughton, Maggie (11 June 2006). "Hide out after he drops his partner". The New Zealand Herald. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  8. ^ "2008 General Election Results of the Official Count" (22 November 2008) 180 The New Zealand Gazette 4649.
  9. ^ Epsom results 2008. Archived 11 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Election results 2008. Archived 9 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Members of Executive Council Appointed" (19 November 2008) 179 The New Zealand Gazette 4634
  12. ^ "Appointment of Ministers" (19 November 2008) 179 The New Zealand Gazette 4635.
  13. ^ Auckland governance inquiry welcomedNZPA, via '', Tuesday 31 July 2007. Retrieved 29 October 2007.
  14. ^ Orsman, Bernard (8 April 2009). "Super City: More regional representation, but less power". The New Zealand Herald.
  15. ^ "Andrew Williams: Downsize this Super City madness". The New Zealand Herald. 8 May 2009.
  16. ^ Orsman, Bernard (13 April 2009). "Banks calls Williams a lunatic as Super City debate gets ugly". The New Zealand Herald.
  17. ^ "Super city Bill flawed and undemocratic" (Press release). New Zealand Labour Party. 4 September 2009.
  18. ^ Editor (14 March 2010). "Editorial: CCO plan mocks democracy". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 21 August 2012.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  19. ^ Young, Audrey (19 December 2009). "Key steps in to save Hide's Act job". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 30 December 2009.
  20. ^ "Hide won't contest general election". The New Zealand Herald. 3 May 2011.
  21. ^ "Parliament's heavy hitter bids adieu". 8 October 2011. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
  22. ^ "Rodney Hide's other holiday perk". New Zealand Press Association. 7 November 2009.
  23. ^ "Hide against travel perk, but still used it". New Zealand Press Association. 30 October 2009.
  24. ^ Ventner, Nick (8 October 2011). "Parliament's heavy hitter bids adieu". The Dominion Post. Wellington. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  25. ^ NZPA (2 September 2008). "Climate Change Bill attacked in Parliament". National Business Review. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 5 November 2011.
  26. ^ Hide, Rodney (3 September 2008). "Hide: Emissions Trading Bill". Press Release ACT Party Speech to Parliament. ACT Party. Retrieved 12 January 2010.
  27. ^ Rudman, Brian (19 November 2008). "Ditch fruitcake views on climate change". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
  28. ^ "Speech on Prime Minister's Statement". ACT New Zealand. 9 February 2010. Retrieved 21 August 2012. Government sponsored climate science has proved to have more in common with the Spanish inquisition than Popperian science
  29. ^ Hide, Rodney (30 July 2012). "Audit exposes fake science of climate change". The National Business Review. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
  30. ^ Hide, Rodney (15 July 2012). "Trading scheme is a scam - Opinion". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
  31. ^ "Retention of the Title ‘The Honourable’" (15 December 2011) 200 The New Zealand Gazette 5729.
  32. ^ "New Year honours list 2013". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 31 December 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  33. ^ Hill, Marika (1 July 2012). "Rodney Hide's still raking muck". The Dominion Post. Wellington. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  34. ^ "Maggie Barry: I was groped by Rolf Harris". New Zealand Herald, dated 2014-07-04, viewed 2014-07-21
  35. ^ "Rodney Hide: Forget Rolf, Maggie. We have our own sexual predator to name and shame". New Zealand Herald, dated 2014-07-13, viewed 2014-07-21
  36. ^ "Rodney Hide: Old girl gets makeover for new boy". The New Zealand Herald. 3 August 2014.

External links[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Richard Worth
Member of Parliament for Epsom
Succeeded by
John Banks
Party political offices
Preceded by
Richard Prebble
Leader of ACT New Zealand
Succeeded by
Don Brash
Political offices
Preceded by
Nanaia Mahuta
Minister of Local Government
Succeeded by
Nick Smith
New title Minister for Regulatory Reform
Succeeded by
John Banks