Elizabeth Tennet

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Elizabeth Tennet
Tennet in 1987
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Island Bay
In office
Preceded byFrank O'Flynn
Succeeded byconstituency abolished
Personal details
Born1953 (age 69–70)
Feilding, New Zealand
Political partyLabour
Alma materMassey University
Victoria University

Elizabeth Patricia Tennet (born 1953)[1] is a former New Zealand politician.


Early life[edit]

Tennet was born in 1953 in Feilding.[2] She was educated locally before studying at Massey and Victoria University. Before entering politics, she worked as an official at the Department of Labour and as a trade union organiser as general secretary of the Central Clerical Workers Union.[2]

Prior to entering Parliament, Tennet was involved in the Labour Party at an organisational level. She was a member of Labour's Women's Council, the Regional Council for the Wellington region and a member of Labour's National Executive.[2]

Political career[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1987–1990 42nd Island Bay Labour
1990–1993 43rd Island Bay Labour
1993–1996 44th Island Bay Labour

She was an MP from 1987 to 1996, representing the Labour Party.[3] She was first elected to Parliament in the 1987 elections as MP for the Wellington electorate of Island Bay, replacing the retiring Frank O'Flynn.[4] She gave birth to her son while an MP and travelled to Parliament with her 24-day-old child to attend a special caucus meeting in 1988 to support Prime Minister David Lange in a leadership challenge by sacked finance minister Roger Douglas.[5]

In 1990 she became Labour's junior whip as well as becoming party spokesperson on employment and associate spokesperson on women's affairs.[2] Tennet, the third woman to have a child whilst an MP, decided that her priorities had changed since entering politics in order to spend more time with her six-year-old son she decided to retire from parliament at the 1996 election.[6]

In 1993, Tennet was awarded the New Zealand Suffrage Centennial Medal.[7]

In the 1995 local elections she was chosen as the Labour Party's candidate for the Wellington mayoralty to replace the retiring Fran Wilde. Tennet came second in the election behind Mark Blumsky.[8]

Later activities[edit]

In 2009, Tennet was appointed chief executive of industry development organisation Textiles New Zealand.[9] In 2011 she became the chief executive of Community Law Centres o Aotearoa[6]


  1. ^ New Zealand Official Year-Book, 1992
  2. ^ a b c d Who's Who 1993, p. 78.
  3. ^ "Women in Parliament". Elections NZ. Archived from the original on 14 May 2010. Retrieved 24 February 2010.
  4. ^ Norton 1988, pp. 256.
  5. ^ Munro, Mike (22 December 1988). "Douglas's comments spur suspension calls". The Dominion. p. 2.
  6. ^ a b "Elizabeth Tennet: Championing change". NZ Lawyer. 23 March 2016.
  7. ^ "The New Zealand Suffrage Centennial Medal 1993 – register of recipients". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 26 July 2018. Retrieved 18 September 2018.
  8. ^ "How You Voted". The Evening Post. 9 October 1995. p. 14.
  9. ^ "New Chief Executive for Textiles New Zealand". 1 May 2009. Archived from the original on 24 May 2010.


  • Norton, Clifford (1988). New Zealand Parliamentary Election Results 1946–1987: Occasional Publications No 1, Department of Political Science. Wellington: Victoria University of Wellington. ISBN 0-475-11200-8.
  • Who's Who in the New Zealand Parliament 1993. Wellington: Parliamentary Service. 1993.

External links[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Island Bay
Constituency abolished