Simon O'Connor

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Simon O'Connor

Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Tamaki
Assumed office
30 November 2011
Preceded byAllan Peachey
Majority15,402
Personal details
Born (1976-02-25) 25 February 1976 (age 44)
NationalityNew Zealander
Political partyNational Party
Spouse(s)
Rachel Trimble
(m. 2016)
RelationsSimon Bridges (brother-in-law)
CommitteesForeign Affairs, Defence, and Trade
PortfolioSpokesperson for customs, associate spokesperson for housing (social), associate spokesperson for social development
Websitesimon.org.nz

Simon David O'Connor MP (born 25 February 1976) is a New Zealand politician and a member of the New Zealand House of Representatives. He is a member of the National Party and is spokesperson for customs, and associate spokesperson for housing (social) and social development. He is also Chair of the Foreign Affairs, Defence, and Trade committee.

Early life[edit]

O'Connor was raised in Whangarei, the eldest of three children, where he attended St Mary's Primary School and Pompallier College. He was a keen fencer and was president of the Auckland University Fencing Club.

O'Connor completed training to be a Catholic priest, which involved working on the island of Taveuni in Fiji for two years at a vocational training centre, prison chaplaincy at Mount Eden Prison, military chaplaincy at Waiouru Army Base, and spending time with people in hospitals and hospices. He did not seek ordination, deciding instead to study and pursue a career in politics.[1]

O'Connor has completed four degrees including a bachelor of geography and political studies, an honours in political studies looking at the works of Rene Girard, a bachelor of theology, and a master of arts in political studies. He has also worked as a contracts manager for Southern Cross Insurance.[2]

O'Connor was the chairperson of Monarchy New Zealand between 2010 and 2012 and remains a board member.

Political career[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate List Party
2011–2014 50th Tāmaki 62 National
2014–2017 51st Tāmaki 43 National
2017–2020 52nd Tāmaki 38 National
2020–present 53rd Tāmaki 35 National

In Government, 2011–2017[edit]

O'Connor has been involved in the National Party since 2005, and was Deputy Chair of the Northern Region of the National Party prior to seeking the National Party nomination for Maungakiekie in 2008. He lost the selection contest to Sam Lotu-Iiga, who went on to win the seat. However, O'Connor was appointed as a list candidate for National in the 2008 general election and was selected as National's candidate in the Tāmaki electorate following the withdrawal of sitting MP Allan Peachey shortly before the 2011 elections.[3]

From October 2014 to August 2017 he was Chair of the Health Select Committee where he chaired the then-largest enquiry in New Zealand Parliament's history, into euthanasia. He has also served as Deputy Chairperson of the Finance and Expenditure Committee and spokesperson for corrections.

In terms of conscience votes, in 2012 O'Connor opposed raising the drinking age from 18, and in 2013 opposed the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill, a bill allowing same-sex couples to marry in New Zealand.[4] In 2015 he opposed a bill which would ban street prostitution,[5] in 2016 supported a bill to allow Easter Sunday trading,[5] and in 2017 opposed the End of Life Choice Bill.[5]

In August 2015, O'Connor uploaded a Facebook video in which he looked at the 40 alternative flag designs shortlisted by the Flag Consideration Panel and responded with "no" to each flag until he turned to the current flag and said "yes".[6]

On 10 September 2017, two weeks before the general election and on World Suicide Prevention Day, O'Connor posted on Facebook that it was "strange" how Labour leader Jacinda Ardern was "concerned about youth suicide" but was "happy to encourage the suicide of the elderly, disabled, and sick" by way of her support of the End of Life Choice Bill.[7] The post was condemned by some politicians and social media.[8]

In opposition, 2017–2020[edit]

During the 2017 general election in September, O'Connor was re-elected in the Tāmaki electorate, defeating Labour candidate Sam McDonald by 15,042 votes.[9]

In February 2018, as part of his responsibilities as Foreign Affairs, Defence, and Trade Committee Chair, he travelled to Iraq and Afghanistan to visit New Zealand troops.[10]

In March 2020, he attracted attention for a statement he made as part of his speech in opposition to the third reading of the Abortion Legislation Bill, where he repeated a quotation from the Bible in Latin: "Mihi vindicta: ego retribuam, dicit Dominus," which is translated as "Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” The contrast between this and the criticisms of the bill's opponents in the speech given in support of it by Amy Adams was noted by journalist Richard Harman as a public expression of deep divisions on the issue between liberals and conservatives within the National Party caucus.[11]

During the 2020 New Zealand general election, O'Connor retained Tāmaki for the National Party by a final margin of 8,068 votes.[12]

Personal life[edit]

On 10 December 2016, he married Rachel Trimble, the sister of fellow National MP Simon Bridges[13][14] and has five step children.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nats choose stalwart for Tamaki stronghold New Zealand Herald, 27 October 2011
  2. ^ Meet Auckland's new MPs The Aucklander, 1 December 2011
  3. ^ "National Selects Simon O'Connor as Tamaki Candidate". scoop. 27 October 2011. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  4. ^ "Gay marriage: How MPs voted". The New Zealand Herald. 18 April 2013. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
  5. ^ a b c First, Family. "Value Your Vote – 2017 General Election" (PDF). Valueyourvote.org.nz. Retrieved 26 May 2018.
  6. ^ "National MP rejects flag change". Stuff.co.nz. 14 August 2015. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
  7. ^ https://www.facebook.com/SimonOConnorMP/posts/1454282391334913
  8. ^ "Jacinda Ardern wants old, disabled to commit suicide, National MP claims". 10 September 2017. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  9. ^ "Tāmaki – Official Result". Electoral Commission. Archived from the original on 16 January 2020. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  10. ^ Young, Audrey (12 February 2018). "Defence Minister switches view and expresses support for NZ deployment in Iraq". New Zealand Herald. Archived from the original on 21 March 2018. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  11. ^ Harman, Richard (19 March 2020). "Vengeance is mine saith the Lord". Politik. Archived from the original on 2 November 2020. Retrieved 2 November 2020.
  12. ^ "Tāmaki – Official Result". Electoral Commission. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  13. ^ Moir, Jo (10 December 2016). "Paula Bennett has won the battle for deputy Prime Minister and will team up with Bill English". Stuff. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
  14. ^ Jones, Nicholas (12 February 2016). "National MP Simon O'Connor to marry Minister Simon Bridges' sister". Bay of Plenty Times. Retrieved 10 December 2016.

External links[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Allan Peachey
Member of Parliament for Tāmaki
2011–present
Incumbent