James Bolger (bōl´jər), 1935–, New Zealand political leader. A sheep rancher, he entered Parliament in 1972 as a member of the National party. In Robert Muldoon's government, he served as minister of fisheries (1977–78), immigration (1978–81), and labour (1978–84). His party fell out of power after 1984 and in 1986 he became opposition leader. In 1990, he became prime minister after securing a landslide victory for his party; the National party was narrowly returned to power in 1993. Bolger was ousted as party leader and prime minister by Jenny Shipley in 1997.
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