Nikki Kaye was elected as the Member of Parliament for the Auckland Central electorate in 2008, winning the seat for the National Party for the first time in New Zealand’s history. In 2011 and 2014 she was re-elected winning the seat against then Labour list MP Jacinda Ardern. In the 2017 election she was re-elected with the highest majority that she has had during her time in Parliament. Following her re-election in 2011, Nikki held the role of Chair of the Education and Science select committee where one of her achievements included leading a parliamentary inquiry into Digital literacy and 21st-century learning environments successfully ensuring almost all recommendations were adopted by the National Government in 2012.
She has established a track record for being very active in her electorate, having handled more than 50,000 constituency cases in her time as the local MP. Since being elected as a Member of Parliament, Nikki has been a strong advocate for environmental and local government issues and has delivered a number of projects locally in Auckland central. Projects she has been involved in delivering include the $1 billion government funding commitment to the City Rail Link and personally progressing the reform of the Unit Titles Act which affects many people living in apartments. On Waiheke Island she has worked hard to ensure the $40 million investment for Waiheke Schools (the largest investment in public infrastructure in the island). She has worked hard to ensure redevelopments at Bayfield School ($12 million), Freemans Bay School ($19 million), Richmond Rd school as well as the $79 million redevelopment at Western Springs College (while not currently in the electorate it is an important secondary school for Auckland Central residents). On Great Barrier she has helped deliver the Aotea Conservation Park and secure the investment in Glenfern sanctuary and the Aotea Track.
In January 2013, Nikki was promoted to the National Government’s Cabinet by the Rt Hon John Key and given responsibility for Ministerial portfolios of Food Safety, Civil Defence and Youth. She was also made Associate Minister of both Immigration and Education. In November 2014, Nikki was given responsibility for Ministerial portfolios of ACC, Civil Defence and Youth Affairs and Associate Minister of Education with responsibility for school infrastructure. Some of her achievements during her time included progressing the largest ever capital upgrade of school infrastructure, helping ensure schools were connected to fast uncapped internet connections, delivering significant ACC levy cuts and passing legislation ensuring greater transparency of ACC levies, progressing cell alerts for civil defence and passing recovery legislation. As Minister of Food Safety she also progressed reform of food safety legislation and a health star rating system for food.
In September 2016 Nikki was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her portfolios were transferred during this time. She returned in January as Associate Minister for Education and Minister for Youth in a Rt Hon Bill English cabinet. In May 2017 in a cabinet reshuffle the Rt Hon Bill English promoted her to be both Minister of Education and Youth. In the short time she was Minister of Education she helped secure a $40 million package for digital fluency, announced the scrapping of the decile system and a progressed a decision to move to nation wide progression and achievement reporting for schools. She now holds the role of Education spokesperson for National in Opposition.
Prior to entering Parliament as an electorate MP, Nikki worked in both the public and private sector. She has held roles in the United Kingdom at the Halifax Bank of Scotland, Transport for London, and in Social Services. She also worked as a researcher in the Office of the Leader of the Opposition in New Zealand while still studying at university. Nikki was born and educated in Auckland. She attended Corran School where she was Head Prefect. She gained a Bachelor of Science from the University of Otago, majoring in Genetics. She has also completed a Bachelor of Laws in 2009. Nikki has been a keen participant in sporting events completing several marathons including the New York marathon and the Coast to Coast event in both 2008 and 2013 – a 240km multi-sport race from the West Coast to the East Coast of New Zealand’s South Island.