Former Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson has announced his retirement from politics to assume the role of Vice-Chancellor at the University of Otago.

Robertson’s move was confirmed by the university in a statement, highlighting Robertson’s deep ties to Dunedin and his alma mater, where he also served as OUSA President. The university expressed its enthusiasm for having an alumnus of Robertson’s stature lead the institution into its future.

In his farewell message, Robertson expressed profound gratitude for his 15-year tenure as a Member of Parliament, during which he represented Wellington Central and held ministerial positions.


He reflected on the honour of contributing positively to the lives of New Zealanders and acknowledged the timing as right for pursuing new opportunities.

Robertson also paid tribute to his colleagues, including former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, for their leadership during critical moments such as a terrorist attack and the global pandemic. He praised the strong leadership within the Labour Caucus and its focus on critical issues facing New Zealanders.

Robertson’s appreciation extended to his friends and family, particularly mentioning his husband, Alf. Emphasising the significance of his new position, he praised the university staff for their world-class work in education and research. Robertson is eager to collaborate with the university community to enhance the institution’s legacy of excellence. He also noted the challenges facing the tertiary sector and his readiness to contribute constructively to addressing them.

As Robertson prepares to leave Parliament in March for his July start at Otago, Labour leader Chris Hipkins faces scrutiny over a significant dip in his preferred prime minister ranking. Despite this, Hipkins remains committed to leading the party and focusing on rebuilding efforts post-election. He has downplayed the importance of his personal polling, emphasising the collective effort to advance the party’s position.