Simon Upton

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Simon Upton
Simon Upton at a sustainable development Forum in Prague, November 2014
4th Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment
Assumed office
16 October 2017
Prime MinisterBill English
Jacinda Ardern
Chris Hipkins
Preceded byJan Wright
9th Minister for the Environment
In office
29 November 1993 – 10 December 1999
Prime MinisterJim Bolger
Jenny Shipley
Preceded byRob Storey
Succeeded byMarian Hobbs
In office
2 November 1990 – 3 October 1991
Prime MinisterJim Bolger
Preceded byGeoffrey Palmer
Succeeded byRob Storey
30th Minister of Health
In office
2 November 1990 – 27 March 1993
Prime MinisterJim Bolger
Preceded byHelen Clark
Succeeded byBill Birch
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for National Party list
In office
12 October 1996 – 11 January 2001
Succeeded byAlec Neill[n 1]
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Raglan
In office
14 July 1984 – 12 October 1996
Preceded byMarilyn Waring (in 1978)
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Waikato
In office
28 November 1981 – 14 July 1984
Preceded byLance Adams-Schneider
Succeeded byRob Storey
Personal details
Born (1958-02-07) 7 February 1958 (age 65)
Political partyNational

Simon David Upton PC (born 7 February 1958) is a former New Zealand politician and member of Parliament from 1981 to 2001, representing the National Party, and the current Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

Early life[edit]

Upton was educated at Southwell School, St Paul's Collegiate School and the University of Auckland, where he gained degrees in English literature, music and law, and Wolfson College, Oxford, as a Rhodes Scholar.

Member of Parliament[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate List Party
1981–1984 40th Waikato National
1984–1987 41st Raglan National
1987–1990 42nd Raglan National
1990–1993 43rd Raglan National
1993–1996 44th Raglan National
1996–1999 45th List 11 National
1999–2001 46th List 12 National

Having joined the National Party in 1976, he served as Chairman of the New Zealand Young Nationals among other positions and became the then-youngest MP for Waikato in the 1981 election. In the 1984 election, he was elected MP for Raglan, which he held until the 1996 election, when he chose to become a list MP.

Cabinet minister[edit]

Upton became one of New Zealand's youngest ever Ministers in the Cabinet in 1990, when he became Minister of Health, Minister for the Environment, and Minister of Research, Science and Technology. As Environment minister, Upton promoted the enactment of the Resource Management Act 1991. He was responsible for establishing the Crown Research Institutes. One of Upton's most controversial actions whilst holding the health portfolio was introducing public hospital outpatient charges of $50 per night, this was later abandoned as the 1993 election approached.[1] He also has an interest in sustainable development, and chaired the OECD's Round Table on Sustainable Development and is a founding member of the Board of the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction.[2]

Upton was sworn to the Privy Council in 1999.[3]

After National was defeated at the 1999 election Upton was appointed Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs, Superannuation and Culture and Heritage by leader Jenny Shipley.[4]

Life after politics[edit]

He resigned from Parliament in 2001, and moved to France. He took up a full-time post at the OECD as the chair of the Round Table on Sustainable Development which he held until 2005. He was also a part-time consultant at PriceWaterhouseCoopers for several years. In April 2010 he was appointed as the head of the OECD Environment Directorate, in Paris, France.[5]

In April 2017, he was appointed by Parliament to be the next Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment. He replaced the previous commissioner, Dr Jan Wright, when her second five-year term ended in October 2017.[6]

Personal life[edit]

He has two adult children.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Normally, list MPs do not have individual predecessors or successors, but Upton resigned during a sitting parliament and therefore was succeeded by Neill.


  1. ^ "Linda Bryder, 'Hospitals – Hospital funding and patient entitlement', Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand". Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  2. ^ Markley, Rick (1 October 2005). "Holcim Hands out Building Prizes". Rock Products. 108 (10): 6.
  3. ^ "Privy Council Members". Privy Council Office. Archived from the original on 2 December 2010. Retrieved 12 December 2009.
  4. ^ "Shadow Cabinet List – Leader of Opposition". Scoop. Retrieved 16 July 2020.
  5. ^ "Simon Upton, Director, Environment Directorate". OECD. 2012. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
  6. ^ "Upton to be Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment". Radio New Zealand. 13 April 2017. Retrieved 24 April 2017.

External links[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Waikato
Succeeded by
Constituency abolished in 1978
Title last held by
Marilyn Waring
Member of Parliament for Raglan
Constituency abolished
Political offices
Preceded by Minister of Health
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for the Environment

Succeeded by
Preceded by Succeeded by