Ashraf Choudhary

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Ashraf Choudhary
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Labour party list
In office
Personal details
Born (1949-02-15) 15 February 1949 (age 75)
Sialkot, Punjab, Pakistan
NationalityNew Zealand
Political partyLabour
Alma materUniversity of Agriculture, Faisalabad (UAF) Pakistan
Massey University, New Zealand
CommitteesPrimary Production Committee
FieldsAgricultural Engineering
InstitutionsMassey University

Ashraf Choudhary QSO (born 15 February 1949; Sialkot, Punjab) is a Pakistani-New Zealand scientist in agricultural engineering and formerly a member of the Parliament in New Zealand. He is a member of the Labour Party, and was New Zealand's first MP from South Asia and Pakistan.[1]

Early life[edit]

Choudhary was born in the Pakistani half of the Punjab region in village Jajay at the home of Chaudhry Muhammad Boota. He comes from a family of agriculture. He attended high school in the town of Sialkot,[2] and then gained a degree in agricultural engineering from University of Agriculture, Faisalabad (UAF) in Faisalabad. He continued his studies abroad, gaining a master's degree in agricultural engineering at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, England and a PhD in agricultural engineering at Massey University, New Zealand.[1][3]

Scientific and community work[edit]

Choudhary was originally an environmental scientist and taught at Massey University.[2] He has published a large number of scientific papers in his field, and is considered to be an international authority on conservation tillage.[citation needed] His work has a particular focus on agricultural techniques in developing countries. Choudhary has three children.

Before entering Parliament, Choudhary had worked with a number of community organisations, including such groups as the New Zealand Federation of Ethnic Councils and FIANZ – the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (of which he was president in 1984–85).[citation needed] In his capacity as president of FIANZ he oversaw the first annual halal meat contract with the New Zealand Meat Producers Board in June 1984, with the aid of Mazhar Krasniqi, Hajji Abdul Rahim Rasheed and Dr. Mohammad Hanif Quazi.[citation needed]

Parliamentary politics[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate List Party
2002–2005 47th List 40 Labour
2005–2008 48th List 25 Labour
2008–2011 49th List 31 Labour

Having been a supporter of the Labour Party for some time, Choudhary was elected to Parliament as a Labour Party list MP in the 2002 election. He was sworn in on the Qur'an, which Winston Peters (leader of the New Zealand First party) criticised as breaking "centuries-old tradition."[4] Choudhary, however, responded that the tradition was broken when Premier Julius Vogel was sworn in on the Torah.[4] Because Parliamentary officials did not have a copy of the Qur'an, they obtained a copy from the FIANZ office, which was then donated to the Parliamentary Library for use in the future.[citation needed]

During his time in Parliament, Choudhary served on the Primary Production, Local Government and Environment, and Education and Science select committees.[1] He also came to public attention in 2003, when he abstained in a vote to legalise prostitution. The Muslim community were upset by his decision to abstain from voting since prostitution is seen as a violation of their faith.[5]

In 2011, Choudhary was mentioned in Anders Behring Breivik's manifesto 2083: A European Declaration of Independence where Choudhary was used an example of Muslim's failing to assimilate by not condoning the stoning of homosexuals and those who have extramarital affairs.[6] Choudhary had in 2004 stated that stoning was in line with Qur'an teachings, but had no place in New Zealand.[7] He responded to the inclusion in the manifesto by saying "He is a terrorist and we should condemn what he has done and that is all I really want to say."[6]

Post-parliament career[edit]

On 29 September 2011, Choudhary delivered his valedictory speech in Parliament and would retire from politics after the 2011 general election.[8] Since retiring Choudhary has been active in the Pakistani and Indian community circles of Auckland encouraging youth political involvement and supporting blood donor drives.[9][10]

At the 2016 election and 2019 election local body elections Choudhary was elected to the Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board and Counties Manukau District Health Board.[11][12][13]


In the 2001 New Year Honours, Choudhary was appointed a Companion of the Queen's Service Order for community service.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Choudhary, Ashraf - New Zealand Parliament". Retrieved 26 September 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Patience and Persistence required for a stable democracy in Pakistan". PILDAT. 25 December 2004. Archived from the original on 15 June 2011. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
  3. ^ Choudhary, Mohammed Ashraf (1979). Interrelationships between performance of direct drilled seeds, soil micro-environment and drilling equipment (PhD thesis). Massey Research Online, Massey University.
  4. ^ a b "New Zealand's first Muslim legislator in row over Quran | WWRN - World-wide Religious News". Retrieved 26 September 2021.
  5. ^ "Muslims upset with MP". Television New Zealand. 17 July 2003. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
  6. ^ a b "Mass killer sees NZ as haven in Islam conflict". Stuff. 30 July 2011. Retrieved 21 September 2021.
  7. ^ "Ashraf Choudhary on the stoning of gays » archived article sourced from". Retrieved 26 September 2021.
  8. ^ "Valedictory Speeches Sept 29". 29 September 2011. Retrieved 16 April 2022.
  9. ^ "Indian Newslink - Former MP calls more youngsters to politics". 13 February 2013. Archived from the original on 13 February 2013. Retrieved 26 September 2021.
  10. ^ "Indian Newslink - Pakistani blood donors do us proud". 22 February 2013. Archived from the original on 22 February 2013. Retrieved 26 September 2021.
  11. ^ "Majorities for Labour and Action Team on southern local boards". Stuff. 11 October 2016. Retrieved 26 September 2021.
  12. ^ "Voice of ethnic communities gets stronger and louder". 12 September 2019. Retrieved 26 September 2021.
  13. ^ "Three new members elected to Counties Manukau DHB". Stuff. 11 October 2016. Retrieved 26 September 2021.
  14. ^ "New Year honours list 2001". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 30 December 2000. Retrieved 17 August 2019.

Further reading[edit]

  • Choudhary, Mohammed Ashraf; Baker, C. J. (1985), Developments in direct drilling techniques, Auckland, [N.Z.]: New Zealand Energy Research and Development Committee

External links[edit]