Four NZ First MPs (and Winston) grab plumb jobs in government line-up

As part of its coalition deal with Labour, NZ First has snared its share of high-ranking positions in the government line-up announced by Prime Minister-elect Jacinda Ardern on Wednesday.

After almost 40 years in parliament, wily party leader and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters - also Foreign Affairs Minister, and Minister for Racing, and State Owned Enterprises - needs no introduction, but his trusty lieutenants are perhaps more of a mystery to the NZ public.

Meet the NZ First MPs who will keep Labour on its toes during their coalition government over the next three years…

Shane Jones

Minister of Forestry, Minister for Infrastructure, and Minister for Regional Economic Development

Jones, 58, was elected to parliament as a Labour Party list candidate in 2005. Initially appointed chair of the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee, he rose to Minister of Building and Construction and associate minister for Treaty of Waitangi negotiations in a cabinet re-shuffle two years later.

He retained his list seat, despite Labour's defeat in the 2008 election, but fell from grace two years later, when he admitted using a Crown credit card to watch pornography in a hotel while on ministerial business. Jones, who had also served as Minister of Immigration, was later investigated by the Auditor General for approving the citizenship application of a Chinese businessman, who had made false declarations on his documents.

In 2013, he contested the Labour leadership left vacant by David Shearer, but lost out to David Cunliffe and the following year, he stood down as Labour Party MP.

This year, he returned to parliament as a list MP for NZ First, after unsuccessfully contesting the Whangarei seat.

Ron Mark

Minister of Defence and Minister for Veterans

Mark, 63, served in the NZ Army, as well as the Sultan of Oman's Armed Forces and the Sultan of Oman's Special Forces.

He was an unsuccessful Labour Party candidate for Selwyn in the 1993 election, but entered parliament on the NZ First list three years later. During its coalition with National (1996-98), he served as senior whip. 

TV3 was banned from filming parliament for three days in 2006, after repeatedly showing Mark gesticulating rudely to another MP.

After his party dropped out of parliament in 2008, Mark was elected Mayor of Carterton and resigned during his second term to return to central government, replacing Tracey Martin as NZ First deputy leader in 2015.

Tracey Martin

Minister for Children, Minister of Internal Affairs and Minister for Seniors

Martin was one of the founding members of NZ First, serving on its board of directors since 2008. She was elected to parliament on the party list in 2011 and retained her seat through two subsequent elections.

Martin replaced Peter Brown as NZ First deputy leader in 2011 and held that position until 2015, when she was unseated by Ron Mark.

She previously served on the Rodney Local Board and has been chair of the Mahurangi College board of trustees.

Martin has been NZ First spokesperson for broadcasting, communications and IT, education and women's affairs.

Fletcher Tabuteau

Parliamentary Under-Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister for Regional Economic Development

Tabuteau, 43, was born and raised in Rotorua, where he was an economics lecturer and head of the Waiariki Institute of Technology business school.

He unsuccessfully contested the Rotorua electorate four times for NZ First, before finally reaching parliament as the fourth-ranked list MP in 2014 and retaining that seat last month.

Tabuteau served as NZ First spokesman for commerce, energy, tourism, revenue and trade.