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Defence a family tradition for Mitchell

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 24/04/2017

The new defence minister, Mark Mitchell, grew up on Whenuapai Air Base.

His father was a flight lieutenant and his mother was the daughter of an air commodore, Frank Gill, who became an National Party MP.

Mr Mitchell is a relative newcomer to parliament.

He won the safe National seat of Rodney in 2011, taking over from long-serving Lockwood Smith.

Mr Mitchell was the chairman of parliament's foreign affairs and defence committee, winning respect from opposition parties for the way he ran it.

Prime Minister Bill English appointed the 48-year-old to positions outside cabinet, and has now promoted him to defence minister.

Before coming to parliament Mr Mitchell was a policeman and member of the armed offenders squad.

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