|4th Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations|
1 April 2000 – 31 March 2008
|Chair||Thabo Mbeki (South Africa)|
John Howard (Australia)
Olusegun Obasanjo (Nigeria)
Lawrence Gonzi (Malta)
Yoweri Museveni (Uganda)
|Preceded by||Emeka Anyaoku|
|Succeeded by||Kamalesh Sharma|
|12th Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand|
2 November 1990 – 16 December 1996
|Prime Minister||Jim Bolger|
|Preceded by||Helen Clark|
|Succeeded by||Winston Peters|
|24th Minister of Foreign Affairs|
2 November 1990 – 5 December 1999
|Prime Minister||Jim Bolger |
|Preceded by||Mike Moore|
|Succeeded by||Phil Goff|
|Member of the New Zealand Parliament|
25 November 1978 – 12 October 1996
|Preceded by||Seat established|
|Succeeded by||Murray McCully|
|Member of the New Zealand Parliament|
for National party list
12 October 1996 – 6 March 2000
|Succeeded by||Arthur Anae[n 1]|
Donald Charles McKinnon
27 February 1939
London, United Kingdom
|Spouse||Clare de Lore|
|Relatives||Walter McKinnon (father)|
Ian McKinnon (brother)
John McKinnon (brother)
Malcolm McKinnon (brother)
McKinnon was born in Blackheath, London. His father was Major-General Walter McKinnon, CB CBE, a New Zealand Chief of the General Staff, and once Chairman of New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation. McKinnon's brothers include the twins John McKinnon, the former New Zealand Secretary of Defence and a former Ambassador to China, and Malcolm McKinnon, an editor and academic, and Ian McKinnon, Pro-Chancellor of Victoria University of Wellington, School Headmaster of Scots College and former Deputy Mayor of Wellington. The McKinnon brothers are great-great-grandsons of John Plimmer, known as the "father of Wellington".
McKinnon was educated at Khandallah School and then Nelson College from 1952 to 1953. In 1956, he graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School, in Washington, D.C. McKinnon later spent a "lengthy period" in the Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming. He undertook study at Lincoln Agricultural College, New Zealand. After leaving university, he became a farm manager, and later a farm management consultant. In 1974, he became a real estate agent. In his spare time, he also worked as a rehabilitation tutor in prisons.
Member of Parliament
In the elections of 1969 and 1972, McKinnon stood unsuccessfully as the National Party's candidate in the Birkenhead electorate, having previously served on two of the party's electorate committees. In the election of 1978, McKinnon won the newly established seat of Albany, which covered much of the same area.
In 1980, McKinnon was made the government's junior Whip. Two years later, he was made senior Whip. When Prime Minister Robert Muldoon called the snap election of 1984, and was defeated by David Lange's New Zealand Labour Party, McKinnon remained senior Whip for his party in Opposition. In September 1987, following National's defeat at the August election, he became deputy leader of the National Party after defeating Ruth Richardson for the position by just one vote. He was also appointed Shadow Minister of Defence and Shadow Minister of Health by leader Jim Bolger.
When National, then led by Jim Bolger, won the 1990 election, McKinnon became Deputy Prime Minister. He also became Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Minister of Pacific Island Affairs. During his tenure in the former role, he oversaw New Zealand's election to the UN Security Council, increased activity in the Commonwealth of Nations, and attempts to broker a truce on the island of Bougainville. He received recognition as a result of the Bougainville negotiations.
In 1996, the National Party required the support of the New Zealand First party to form a government, and part of the coalition agreement gave the office of Deputy Prime Minister to New Zealand First leader Winston Peters. McKinnon kept his role as Minister of Foreign Affairs, however, and also became Minister of Disarmament and Arms Control. When the coalition with New Zealand First collapsed, McKinnon did not resume the Deputy Prime Minister's role as he had been replaced beforehand as Deputy National Party leader by Wyatt Creech and therefore Creech became Deputy Prime Minister instead, although he did gain the minor responsibility of Minister in Charge of War Pensions. McKinnon retired from parliament shortly after the 1999 election, being replaced by Arthur Anae.
Secretary-General of the Commonwealth
During his time as New Zealand's Minister of Foreign Affairs, McKinnon had been highly involved with the Commonwealth. At the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 1999 (CHOGM), in Durban, he was elected to the office of Secretary General. Since that time, he has had to deal with issues such as Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe and George Speight's attempted nationalist coup in Fiji. McKinnon has also placed an emphasis on supporting "good governance".
In late 2003, New Zealand media reported that Zimbabwe was attempting to gather support from other Commonwealth members to remove McKinnon from the office of Secretary-General, presumably in retaliation for McKinnon's views about the issue of Zimbabwean democracy. The government of Zimbabwe denied that it was making any such efforts.
At the opening of the 2003 CHOGM, in Nigeria on 5 December, McKinnon was challenged for the position of Secretary-General by Lakshman Kadirgamar, a former Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka. However, McKinnon defeated Kadirgamar in a vote reported to be 40–11 in McKinnon's favour.
In 2007 McKinnon attempted to mediate between Fiji and the Australian and New Zealand governments in their continuing dispute over the appropriate timetable and rules for the holding of Fijian election in 2008.
In a 2007 interview McKinnon criticised British public support for evicted white farmers in Zimbabwe as being "a bit of a guilt thing" and argued that the evictions were justified as there was "no way you can justify a society where 15,000 white farmers control 80 per cent of the most fertile land".
Don McKinnon Drive is named after McKinnon, in his former electorate of Albany.
- Normally, list MPs do not have individual predecessors or successors, but McKinnon resigned during a sitting parliament and therefore was succeeded by Anae.
- Dominion Post 18 June 2009 page C2
- Nelson College Old Boys' Register, 1856–2006, 6th edition
- McKinnon, Don (25 May 2006), Building Sustainable Democracies – the Commonwealth way (PDF), Center for Strategic and International Studies[permanent dead link]
- Grafton, Tim (10 September 1987). "National Picks McKinnon - Bolger's deputy the 'safe option'". The Evening Post. p. 1.
- "National Party's new parliamentary line-up". The New Zealand Herald. 12 February 1990. p. 5.
- "Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh & Scottish Borders: Annual Review 2004". www1.hw.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 13 April 2016. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
- Manning, Selwyn. "McKinnon moves to resolve Clark Bainimarama scrap". Scoop. 15 October 2007.
- Ralston, Bill (14–20 April 2007). "The seven-year itch". New Zealand Listener. 208 (3492). Archived from the original on 28 November 2007. Retrieved 3 November 2007.
- "New Year honours list 2008". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 31 December 2007. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
- "No. 59001". The London Gazette. 9 March 2009. p. 4181.
- "The Queen appoints former Commonwealth Secretary-General, Don McKinnon, as GCVO". Buckingham Palace. 9 March 2009. Retrieved 11 March 2009.
- McKinnon, Don (17 March 2013). "In the Ring: A Commonwealth Memoir". Amazon. ISBN 978-1908739261.
- "McKinnon details Zimbabwe, Fiji in memoirs". 3 News NZ. 18 March 2013.
- "Board of directors". Global Panel. Archived from the original on 20 September 2012. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
- Hewitson, Michele (5 June 2010). "Michele Hewitson Interview: Don McKinnon". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 8 September 2010.