Hon Nikki Kaye is a former NZ Member of Parliament for Auckland central, a National cabinet minister for around five years, and a former Deputy Leader of the Party retiring from politics in late 2020. Nikki has been a Director of AUT Ventures since April 2021. Nikki has worked as a consultant on Education Technology initiatives in New Zealand and other countries for close to two years. Nikki has been a patron of the McGuinness Institute Te Hononga Waka since February 2023. In March 2023 Nikki became an investor and advisor to Aotea Energy a NZ startup company specialising in microgrid energy systems. Nikki has been an Ambassador for the NZ rainbow communities GiveOUT day in 2022 and 2023.
Prior to Nikki's political career she 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. Nikki has completed several marathons including the New York marathon. She has completed the Coast to Coast individual 2 day event in 2008, 2013 and 2017 – a 240km multi-sport race from the West Coast to the East Coast of New Zealand’s South Island.
Nikki 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 twice winning the seat against then Labour list MP Jacinda Ardern. In the 2017 election she was re-elected with the largest majority she has ever had.
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. Nikki was a strong advocate for environmental and local government issues as the MP for Auckland Central and delivered a number of projects locally. Projects that she was involved in delivering include the $1 billion government funding commitment to the City Rail Link and drafting legislation to reform the Unit Titles Act which affects many people living in apartments. On Waiheke Island she worked to ensure the $40 million investment for our Waiheke Schools. She worked hard to ensure redevelopments at Bayfield School, Freemans Bay School as well as the $79 million redevelopment at Western Springs College (while not in the electorate it is an important secondary school for Auckland Central residents). On Great Barrier she helped deliver the Aotea Conservation Park, 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 in these portfolios included progressing the largest ever capital upgrade and fixing of school infrastructure, helping ensure schools were connected to fast uncapped internet connections, delivering significant ACC levy cuts and passing legislation ensuring greater transparency for ACC levies, progressing cell alerts for civil defence and recovery legislation and delivering food safety legislation.
In September 2016 Nikki was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her portfolios were transferred during this time. She returned in January as Associate Minister 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 decision to move to nation wide progression and achievement in schools.
She held the role of Education spokesperson for National in Opposition from 2017-2020. In 2019 Nikki visited Singapore as the 67th Lee Kuan Yew Exchange Fellow. Nikki was Deputy Leader of the National Party from May 2020 until July 2020. In July 2020 Nikki announced her retirement leaving Parliament in October 2020.