Harry Duynhoven

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Harry Duynhoven bigraphy, stories - New Zealand politician

Harry Duynhoven : biography

1955 –

Harry James Duynhoven QSO (born 1955) is a New Zealand politician and member of the New Zealand Labour Party. He is the current mayor of the city of New Plymouth and surrounding districts. He assumed office in October 2010. He was a Member of Parliament for the New Plymouth electorate from 1987-1990, and again from 1993-2008.

Member of Parliament

Duynhoven entered Parliament in the 1987 elections, winning the New Plymouth seat from incumbent National Party MP, Tony Friedlander. In the 1990 elections, he lost the seat to National’s John Armstrong, but won it back in the 1993 elections. In the 2008 election he lost to New Zealand National Party candidate, Jonathan Young by 105 votes, the smallest margin in the election.

In 2003, it was alleged that Duynhoven might have accidentally violated an electoral regulation, thus depriving him of his seat. This claim arose after Duynhoven applied to resume his citizenship of the Netherlands. His father was from the Netherlands, and Duynhoven had possessed citizenship from birth, but had temporarily lost it due to a change of Netherlands law. According to electoral law, applying for foreign citizenship would require Duynhoven to vacate his seat. The law was seen by many as misguided, however, and Duynhoven, with his huge majority, was almost certain to re-enter Parliament in the event of a by-election. As such, the government passed an act retroactively amending the law.

Duynhoven served as a Minister outside Cabinet of Helen Clark’s Labour Government with the portfolio of Associate Minister of Transport, and later, Minister for Transport Safety and Associate Minister of Energy until his government’s defeat. He did not stand as a party list candidate in the 2008 general election.

Duynhoven was made a Companion of the Queen’s Service Order in the 2012 New Year Honours, for services as a Member of Parliament.

Early life

Duynhoven was born in New Plymouth in 1955. He left Spotswood College at age sixteen to become an electrician, and eventually became technical teacher at the collegiate and polytechnic level.

Mayor of New Plymouth

In October 2010, Duynhoven was elected Mayor of New Plymouth.