Jenny Shipley

Dame Jennifer Mary Shipley (née Robson; born 4 February 1952) is a New Zealand former politician who served as the 36th Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1997 to 1999. She was the first female prime minister of New Zealand, and the first woman to have led the National Party.

Shipley was born in Gore, Southland. She grew up in rural Canterbury, and attended Marlborough Girls' College and the Christchurch College of Education. Before entering politics, she worked as a schoolteacher and was involved with various community organisations. Shipley was elected to Parliament at the 1987 election, winning the Ashburton electorate (later renamed Rakaia). When the National Party returned to power in 1990, she was appointed to Cabinet under Jim Bolger. Shipley subsequently served as Minister of Social Welfare (1990–1996), Minister for Women's Affairs (1990–1996), Minister of Health (1993–1996), and Minister of Transport (1996–1997).

In December 1997, Bolger resigned as Prime Minister after losing the confidence of his party. Shipley was elected as his replacement unopposed. She inherited an uneasy coalition with New Zealand First, led by Winston Peters. The coalition was dissolved in August 1998, but Shipley was able to remain in power with the aid of Mauri Pacific, an NZ First splinter group. At the 1999 election, Shipley's government was defeated by the Labour Party, led by Helen Clark. She continued on as Leader of the Opposition until October 2001. Shipley has involved herself with business and charitable interests since leaving politics, and is a member of the Council of Women World Leaders. Provided by Wikipedia
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