MP career research

MP Career and Education Survey


This tri-annual survey collates and analyses the career and education backgrounds of members of the New Zealand Parliament.

The survey has been conducted within a few months of each new Parliament since 2014.

The project is the work of political scientist Geoffrey Miller, and political advisor Mark Blackham. They started the survey to learn about the working and educational experience of people before they entered Parliament, to compare these to trends among other New Zealanders, and to monitor any long-term changes.

The major factor in the surveys to date has been the presence and increase in MPs without specific careers (employed in unrelated jobs and industries). Approximately one third of MPs fit this category. It broadly echoes a general employment trend.  

Surprising findings include comparatively large proportions of MPs in small parties with experience running and owning small businesses. 

The published data presents the results in terms of numbers of MPs as a whole and by party, employed within broad categories (our own, and the official StatisticsNZ categories).

Our raw unpublished data lists all paid employment held by each Member of Parliament, and their schools attended and educational achievements. 

Our researchers use official Party, Parliament and LinkedIN or personal biographies, and non-official sources such as social media and news, and first-hand sources such as material produced by people as part of their employment.

Click here for a summary of the 2021 survey

Click here for a summary of the 2018 survey.