About Bryan Gould

bryan_gould_portraitBryan Gould was born in 1939 in Hawera, New Zealand.  He attended Tauranga College and Dannevirke High School and was dux of his primary and secondary schools.  At the age of 15 he won a National University Scholarship.  At Victoria and Auckland Universities, he completed a B.A. Ll.B., and an Ll.M. with first-class honours and won the Senior Scholarship in Law at Auckland University.

In 1962, a Rhodes Scholarship took him to Balliol College, Oxford, where he completed a post-graduate law degree, the B.C.L., with first-class honours.  He joined the British Diplomatic Service in 1964 as the top entrant of his year and served in the Foreign Office and the Brussels Embassy.

He returned to Oxford in 1968 as a law don and Secretary to the Governing Body at Worcester College.  He was an Examiner in Law for the University and in 1971 published an article in the law journal Public Law which was an important contribution to the development of the law on judicial review.

In 1974, he was elected to the House of Commons as Labour MP for the marginal seat of Southampton Test.  He was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Rt. Hon. Peter Shore MP.  On losing the seat in the 1979 general election, he joined Thames Television as a presenter and reporter on the nationally networked current affairs programme, TV Eye.

He returned to the House of Commons in 1983 as Labour MP for Dagenham.  He was elected to the Shadow Cabinet in 1986 and was the Labour Party’s Campaign Director in the 1987 general election.  He served in the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Chief Secretary, Shadow Secretary for Trade and Industry, Shadow Secretary for the Environment, and Shadow Heritage Secretary.  He founded the Full Employment Forum in 1992.  He contested the Labour Party leadership in 1992 but was defeated by John Smith.

He returned to New Zealand in 1994 as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Waikato.  He chaired the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors’ Committee for two years. He is Chair of the National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence and at the request of the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology served as a Mentor to a newly formed group of younger social science researchers – He Waka Tangata.  On stepping down from the University in 2004, he was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit and in 2006 was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Waikato. He chaired the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology for three years from 2008, and the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO, and currently chairs the Eastern Bay Primary Health Alliance.  He is a member of the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic’s Council and is a trustee of the Opotiki Community Foundation.

He was a Visiting Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford in 2005 and was made a Director of Television New Zealand in 2004.  He currently lives at Ohiwa, in New Zealand’s  Bay of Plenty, with his wife Gillian and West Highland White Terrier, Lachie.  Gill and Bryan have two children – a son, Charles, who lives in Brighton, England, with his wife Angela and their children Anna, Tom and Hugh, and a daughter, Helen, who lives in Omokoroa, New Zealand, with her children Tessa, Nathaniel and Benjamin.


Bryan Gould has co-authored a number of books, including A Charter for the Disabled (1981) and Monetarism or Prosperity? (1981). His other books include Socialism and Freedom (1985), A Future for Socialism (1989) and the autobiographical Goodbye to All That (1995).  The Democracy Sham: How Globalisation Devalues Your Vote was published in September 2006 and Rescuing the New Zealand Economy in 2007.  He is currently working on a book on moral philosophy.

Bryan Gould has written many articles and pamphlets for the Fabian Society, for the House Magazine, for all the leading British newspapers and political journals, and for leading New Zealand newspapers and publications.

Political Interests

Bryan Gould has been a member of the Labour Parties in Britain and New Zealand for over 45 years.  He has written widely on political issues, drawing on his expertise in economics, law, education, the media and international affairs.  He was an influential thinker and leader in the British Labour Party for many years.


Bryan Gould studied economics at university level and has become a leading critic of and commentator on many aspects of macro-economic policy, including monetarism, globalisation, Europe, and exchange rate policy.

Legal Issues

His academic training, his work as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of New Zealand, his six years as an Oxford law don, and his experience in establishing free legal advice centres in Oxford and Southampton have all equipped Bryan Gould to take an active interest in welfare law, human rights issues and in organisations such as Amnesty International.

Tertiary Education

More than a decade as Vice-Chancellor (or President) of one of New Zealand’s leading universities, his work for New Zealand’s Tertiary Education Commission, his six-year term as Chair of Ako Aotearoa (the National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence) and his frequent contributions to international conferences and to publications such as the Times Higher Education Supplement have made Bryan Gould a respected commentator on issues in tertiary education.

The Media

Bryan Gould has extensive experience as a writer and commentator, and in the broadcast media.  He worked in radio for the New Zealand Broadcasting Service, and for Thames Television in Britain as a television presenter.  He was invited to apply for positions presenting both Weekend World and On The Record, which were at the time the UK’s two top current affairs jobs.  As Shadow Trade and Industry Secretary in the late 1980s, he warned against the danger to democracy constituted by the cross-media expansion of the Murdoch empire.

Food and Wine

Bryan Gould has a long-established interest in food and is an accomplished amateur cook.  He has developed an expertise in wine – particularly New Zealand wine – and has written and spoken widely on the subject.  His Ohiwa property includes a small vineyard where he grows chardonnay and pinot noir grapes.

Sporting Interests

Bryan  Gould played tennis and  badminton for Auckland and Victoria Universities, and tennis, badminton, squash and cross-country running for Balliol College, Oxford.  In 2002, he established the annual Great Race in which Waikato University rows against (usually) either Oxford or Cambridge on the Waikato river.  He is a passionate supporter of the All Blacks.

Other Interests

Bryan Gould enjoys working on his ten-acre property at Ohiwa, swimming in the sea, modern novels, music, and spending as much time as possible with his wife, Gill.