New Zealand Labour Party

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New Zealand Labour Party
Rōpū Reipa o Aotearoa
President Nigel Haworth[1]
General Secretary Andrew Kirton[1]
Leader Jacinda Ardern
Deputy Leader Kelvin Davis
Founded 7 July 1916; 101 years ago (7 July 1916)
Merger of United Labour Party,
Social Democratic Party
Headquarters Fraser House,
160–162 Willis St,
Wellington
Youth wing Young Labour
Ideology Social democracy[2][3]
Political position Centre-left[4][5]
International affiliation Progressive Alliance[6]
Colours      Red
Slogan Let's Do This[7]
MPs in the House of Representatives
46 / 120
Website
www.labour.org.nz

The New Zealand Labour Party (Māori: Rōpū Reipa o Aotearoa),[8] or simply Labour (Reipa), is a centre-left political party in New Zealand.[4] With its historic rival, the New Zealand National Party, Labour has dominated New Zealand governments since the 1930s,[9] the party's platform programme describes its founding principle as democratic socialism,[10] while observers describe Labour as social-democratic and pragmatic in practice.[2][3] It is a participant of the international Progressive Alliance.[6]

The New Zealand Labour Party was formed in 1916 by various socialist parties and trade unions, it is thus the country's oldest political party still in existence.[11] There have been six periods of Labour government, the party was first in power from 1935 to 1949, when it established New Zealand's welfare state. It governed from 1957 to 1960, and again from 1972 to 1975, but only stayed in for one term each; in government from 1984 to 1990, Labour privatised state assets and reduced the role of the state in the economy. It also formed a government from 1999 to 2008, with Helen Clark as party leader and Prime Minister. Since the 2008 general election, Labour has comprised the second-largest caucus represented in the New Zealand Parliament, on 1 August 2017, Jacinda Ardern was confirmed as the new Labour leader.[12] At the 2017 general election, Labour gained 36.9% of the party vote and 46 seats.[13] On 19 October 2017, Labour formed a minority coalition government with New Zealand First, with confidence and supply by the Green Party.

Principles[edit]

Labour's 1916 policy objectives called for "the socialisation of the means of production, distribution and exchange", including state ownership of major parts of the economy.[3] Up to the 1980s Labour remained a party that believed in a strong role for governments in economic and social matters. However, it had been transformed from a trade union-dominated, socialist-oriented movement to a moderate social-democratic party,[2][14] the Labour Government of the 1980s deviated sharply from a social-democratic path. In a series of economic reforms dubbed "Rogernomics" (after Finance Minister Roger Douglas), the Government removed a swathe of regulations and subsidies, privatised state assets and introduced corporate practices to state services.[15]

From the 1990s Labour has again aimed to use the power of the state to try to achieve a fairer and more equal society, based on a mixed economy in which both the state and private enterprise play a part. According to its 2014 constitution, the party accepts "democratic socialist" principles, including:[16]

  • The management of New Zealand's natural resources for the benefit of all, including future generations.
  • Equal access to all social, economic, cultural, political and legal spheres, regardless of wealth or social position.
  • Co-operation as the main governing factor in economic relations, to ensure a just distribution of wealth.
  • Universal rights to dignity, self-respect and the opportunity to work.
  • The right to wealth and property, subject to the provisos of regarding people as always more important than property and the obligations of the state to ensure a just distribution of wealth.
  • The Treaty of Waitangi as the founding document of New Zealand, and its honouring in the Party, government, society and the whānau.
  • The promotion of peace and social justice throughout the world by international co-operation.
  • Equality in human rights regardless of race, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, religious faith, political belief or disability.

History[edit]

The New Zealand Labour Party was established on 7 July 1916 in Wellington,[11] bringing together socialist groups advocating proportional representation, the abolition of the country quota, the "recall" of Members of Parliament, as well as the nationalisation of production and of exchange.[17] Despite its Wellington origins, the West Coast town of Blackball is often regarded as the birthplace of the party,[18] as it was the location of the founding of one of the main political organisations which became part of the nascent Labour Party. The party was created by, and has always been influenced by, the trade unions, and in practice Labour Party politicians regard themselves as part of a broader labour movement and tradition.[19]

Formation[edit]

The New Zealand Labour Party was an amalgamation of a number of early groups, the oldest of which was founded in 1901, the process of unifying these diverse groups into a single party was difficult, with tensions between different factions running strong.[20]

At the turn of the century, the radical side of New Zealand working class politics was represented by the Socialist Party, founded in 1901, the more moderate leftists were generally supporters of the Liberal Party.[21] In 1905, a group of working class politicians who were dissatisfied with the Liberal approach established the Independent Political Labour League,[22] which managed to win a seat in Parliament in the 1908 election.[23][24] This established the basic dividing line in New Zealand's left-wing politics – the Socialists tended to be revolutionary and militant, while the moderates focused instead on progressive reform.[25]

In 1910, the Independent Political Labour League was relaunched as an organisation called the Labour Party, distinct from the modern party. Soon, however, the leaders of the new organisation decided additional effort was needed to promote left-wing cooperation, and organised a "Unity Conference", the Socialists refused to attend, but several independent labour activists agreed. The United Labour Party was born.[25]

Soon afterwards, the labour movement was hit by the Waihi miners' strike, a major industrial disturbance prompted by radicals in the union movement,[26] the movement was split between supporting and opposing the radicals, and in the end, the conservative government of William Massey suppressed the strike by force. In the strike's aftermath, there was a major drive to end the divisions in the movement and establish a united front – another Unity Conference was called, and this time the Socialists attended,[26] the resulting group was named the Social Democratic Party.

Not all members of the United Labour Party accepted the new organisation, however, and some continued on under their own banner. Gradually, however, the differences between the Social Democrats and the ULP Remnant broke down, and in 1915 they formed a unified caucus both to better oppose Reform and to differentiate themselves from the Liberals.[27] A year later yet another gathering was held, this time, all major factions of the labour movement agreed to unite, establishing the modern Labour Party.[28]

Electoral record of constituent parties pre-1916 Labour[edit]

Term Electorate Party Elected MPs
1908–1910 17th Wellington East Ind. Labour League David McLaren
1910–1911 Changed allegiance to: Labour
1911–1912 18th Wellington South Labour Alfred Hindmarsh
1912–1914 Changed allegiance to: United Labour
1914–1916 19th Wellington South United Labour
1911–1914 18th Grey Lynn Labour John Payne
1914–1916 19th Grey Lynn Independent Labour
1916 Changed allegiance to: Independent
1911–1913 18th Otaki Labour John Robertson
1913–1914 Changed allegiance to: Social Democrat
1911–1912 18th Wanganui Independent Labour Bill Veitch
1912–1914 Changed allegiance to: United Labour
1914–1916 19th Wanganui United Labour
1916 Changed allegiance to: Independent
1913–1914 18th Grey Social Democrat Paddy Webb
1914–1916 19th Grey Social Democrat
1913–1914 18th Lyttelton Social Democrat James McCombs
1914–1916 19th Lyttelton Social Democrat
1914–1916 19th Dunedin North United Labour Andrew Walker

Early days[edit]

Almost immediately, the new Labour Party became involved in the acrimonious debate about conscription, which arose during World War I – the Labour Party strongly opposed conscription,[29] several leaders were jailed and expelled from Parliament for their stand against the war: Peter Fraser, Harry Holland, Bob Semple and Paddy Webb.[30] The loss of leadership threatened to seriously destabilise the party, but the party survived. Fraser, Semple and Webb later supported conscription in World War II.[30]

In its first real electoral test as a united party, the 1919 election, Labour won eight seats – the party's quick success shocked many conservatives,[31] this compared with 47 for the governing Reform Party and 21 for the Liberal Party.[32]

Although Labour had split with its more militant faction, (who went on to form various socialist parties) it maintained what were at the time radical socialist policies. Labour's 'Usehold' policy on land was in essence the replacement of freehold tenure by a system of perpetual lease from the state, with all land transfer conducted through the state (the full nationalisation of farmland), this policy was unpopular with voters and was dropped by Labour, along with other more radical policies, throughout the 1920s.[25]

Members of the Labour parliamentary caucus, 1922. Prominent members are Harry Holland (seated, left of centre), Peter Fraser (seated, right of centre) and Michael Joseph Savage (back row, rightmost).

In the 1922 election, Labour more than doubled its number of seats, winning seventeen; in the 1925 election, it declined somewhat, but had the consolation of soon overtaking the Liberals as the second largest party. Harry Holland became the official Leader of the Opposition on 16 June 1926, after the Eden by-election on 15 April elected Rex Mason (Labour) to replace James Parr (Reform) who had resigned. After the 1928 election, however, the party was left in an advantageous position – the Reform Party and the new United Party (a revival of the Liberals) were tied on 27 seats each, and neither could govern without Labour support. Labour chose to back United, the party closest to its own views – this put an end to five terms of Reform Party government.[33]

The rigours of the Great Depression brought Labour considerable popularity, but also caused tension between Labour and the United Party; in 1931, United passed a number of economic measures which Labour deemed hostile to workers, and the agreement between the two parties collapsed. United then formed a coalition government with Reform, making Labour the Opposition, the coalition retained power in the 1931 election, but gradually, the public became highly dissatisfied with its failure to resolve the country's economic problems. In the 1935 election, the Labour Party won a massive victory, gaining 53 seats to the coalition's 19.

Several of the early Labour Party stalwarts were Australian-born: Alfred Hindmarsh, Harry Holland, Michael Joseph Savage, Bob Semple, Paddy Webb, Bill Parry and later Jerry Skinner, Mabel Howard and Hugh Watt.

First Government (1935–1949) and opposition[edit]

Members of the First Labour Government, on the steps of the Parliamentary Library, Wellington

Michael Joseph Savage, leader of the party, became Prime Minister on 6 December 1935, marking the beginning of Labour's first term in office. The new government quickly set about implementing a number of significant reforms, including a reorganisation of the social welfare system and the creation of the state housing scheme.[34] Workers also benefited from the introduction of the forty hour week, and legislation making it easier for unions to negotiate on their behalf.[35] Savage himself was highly popular with the working classes, and his portrait could be found on the walls of many houses around the country,[36] at this time the Labour Party pursued an alliance with the Māori Rātana movement.[37]

The opposition, meanwhile, attacked the Labour Party's more left-wing policies, and accused it of undermining free enterprise and hard work, the year after Labour's first win, the Reform Party and the United Party took their coalition to the next step, agreeing to merge with each other. The combined organisation was named the National Party, and would be Labour's main rival in future years.[38]

Labour also faced opposition from within its ranks. While the Labour Party had been explicitly socialist at its inception, it had been gradually drifting away from its earlier radicalism, the death of the party's former leader, the "doctrinaire" Harry Holland, had marked a significant turning point in the party's history. Some within the party, however, were displeased about the changing focus of the party, most notably John A. Lee. Lee, whose views were a mixture of socialism and social credit theory, emerged as a vocal critic of the party's leadership, accusing it of behaving autocratically and of betraying the party's rank and file, after a long and bitter dispute, Lee was expelled from the party, establishing his own breakaway Democratic Labour Party.[39]

Savage died in 1940, and was replaced by Peter Fraser, who became Labour's longest-serving Prime Minister. Fraser is best known as New Zealand's leader for most of World War II; in the post-war period, however, ongoing shortages and industrial problems cost Labour considerable popularity, and the National Party, under Sidney Holland, gained ground although Labour was able to win the 1943 and 1946 elections. Finally, in the 1949 elections, Labour was defeated.[40]

Fraser died shortly afterwards, and was replaced by Walter Nash, the long-serving Minister of Finance,[41] it was to be some time before Labour would return to power, however – Nash lacked the charisma of his predecessors, and National won considerable support for opposing the "industrial anarchy" of the 1951 waterfront dispute. In the 1957 election, however, Labour won the narrowest of victories, and returned to office.

Second Government (1957–1960) and opposition[edit]

Nash, Labour's third prime minister, took office in late 1957. Upon coming to power, Labour decided that drastic measures were needed to address balance of payments concerns,[42] this resulted in the (in)famous "Black Budget" of Arnold Nordmeyer, the new Minister of Finance. The budget raised taxes, particularly on alcohol and cigarettes, and was highly unpopular,[43] it is widely thought to have doomed the party to defeat despite the economy having rejuvenated less than 1 year after the black budget.[43] In the 1960 election, the National Party was indeed victorious.

The elderly Nash retired in 1963, suffering from ill health,[44] he was replaced by Nordmeyer, but the taint of the "Black Budget" ensured that Nordmeyer did not have any appreciable success in reversing the party's fortunes. In 1965, the leadership was assumed by the younger Norman Kirk, who many believed would revitalise the party. Labour was defeated again in the next two elections, but in the 1972 election, the party gained a significant victory.

Third Government (1972–1975) and opposition[edit]

New Zealand Labour 1970s–1980s "L" logo

Kirk proved to be an energetic Prime Minister, and introduced a number of new policies. Particularly noteworthy were his foreign policy stances, which included strong criticism of nuclear weapons testing and of South Africa's apartheid system. Kirk's health was poor, however, and was worsened by his refusal to slow the pace of his work; in 1974, Kirk was taken ill and died. He was replaced by Bill Rowling, who did not have the same appeal – in the 1975 election, Labour was defeated by National, which was led by Robert Muldoon.[45]

Rowling remained leader of the Labour Party for some time after his defeat; in the 1978 election and the 1981 election, Labour won a larger share of the vote than National, but failed to win an equivalent number of seats. Rowling himself was compared unfavourably to Muldoon, and did not cope well with Muldoon's aggressive style. Rowling was eventually replaced by David Lange, who the caucus perceived as more charismatic;[46] in the 1984 election, Labour was victorious.

Fourth Government (1984–1990) and opposition[edit]

When the fourth Labour government came into power it uncovered a fiscal crisis that had been largely hidden by the outgoing Third National Government.[47] Government debt was skyrocketing, due largely to the costs of borrowing to maintain a fixed exchange rate. When the result of the election became clear Lange asked Muldoon to devalue the dollar, which he refused to do, resulting in a constitutional crisis and precipitating some of the changes in the Constitution Act 1986.[48]

Throughout the first term of the fourth Labour government, the cabinet remained largely unified behind the radical financial, economic and policy reforms that were enacted;[49] in 1987 Labour won a first-past-the-post election for the last time (the Mixed Member Proportional system was introduced in 1996). It was not until this second term, which increased Labour's majority and was won mostly on the back of its anti-nuclear stance, that considerable divisions over economic policy began to arise within the cabinet,[50] the Minister of Finance, Roger Douglas, was a supporter of free market theories, and sought to implement sweeping reforms ("Rogernomics") to the economy and tax system. Others within the party, however, saw this as a betrayal of the party's left-wing roots, the party was also criticised by the Council of Trade Unions.

Opposition to Douglas's reforms remained strong – eventually, a Labour MP, Jim Anderton, left to establish the NewLabour Party,[50] eventually forming the basis of the left-wing Alliance. At the same time, Douglas was pressing onwards, proposing a flat tax rate. Finally, David Lange forced Douglas to resign, and shortly afterwards resigned himself.

Lange was replaced by Geoffrey Palmer. Palmer, however, was unable to counter widespread discontent among Labour's traditional supporters, and a few months before the 1990 election, Palmer was replaced by Mike Moore, the Labour Party suffered its worst defeat since it first took office in 1935.

Major pieces of legislation include the Constitution Act 1986, which codified important constitutional conventions, and the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act 1987, which declared New Zealand to be a nuclear-free zone.[51]

Moore was eventually replaced by Helen Clark, who led the party in opposition to the National Party government of Jim Bolger, during the period in opposition, the party made a measured repudiation of Rogernomics, although it has never returned to its original strong left-wing stance (its contemporary position is left-of-centre).[4] When the 1996 election, the first conducted under the MMP electoral system, gave the balance of power to the centrist New Zealand First party, many believed that Labour would return to power, but in the end New Zealand First allied itself with the National Party. This coalition was unstable, however, and eventually collapsed, leaving the National Party to govern as a minority government.

Fifth Government (1999–2008) and opposition[edit]

Helen Clark, Labour Prime Minister from 1999 to 2008

After the 1999 election, a coalition government of Labour and the Alliance took power, with Helen Clark becoming New Zealand's second female Prime Minister,[52] this government, while undertaking a number of reforms, was not particularly radical when compared to previous Labour governments, and maintained a high level of popularity. The Alliance, however, fell in popularity and split internally, the latter factor being one of the reasons cited by Clark for her calling the 2002 election several months early, which Labour comfortably won.

Policies of the Fifth Labour Government include the KiwiSaver scheme,[53] the Working for Families package, increasing the minimum wage 5% a year, interest-free student loans, creation of District Health Boards, the introduction of a number of tax credits, overhauling the secondary school qualifications by introducing NCEA, and the introduction of fourteen weeks’ parental leave.[54] Labour also supported the Civil Union Act 2004, which legalised civil unions for same-sex and opposite-sex couples.[55]

In early 2004, Labour came under attack for its policies on the foreshore and seabed controversy.[56] There were significant internal tensions within the party, eventually culminating in the resignation of junior minister Tariana Turia and her establishment of the new Māori Party.[57]

Party logo in 2008

Following the 2005 general election, Labour formed a coalition with the Progressive Party (a faction of the old Alliance), and entered into complex confidence and supply agreements with the centrist United Future and New Zealand First parties, which gave both parties' leaders a Ministerial portfolio, while remaining outside the Cabinet. A limited support agreement was also made with the Green Party, whereby certain policy concessions were to be made to the Greens in return for abstention on confidence and supply votes. Labour lost power when it was defeated by the National Party in the 2008 general election.

Then-leader Phil Goff with current leader Jacinda Ardern and Carol Beaumont at an anti-mining march in Auckland, 2010

Following the loss to the National Party in the November 2008 election, Helen Clark stood down as leader of the party,[58] she was succeeded by Phil Goff (2008–2011).[59] Labour had a relatively high turnover of four leaders during its most recent term in opposition; this has been attributed in part to changes within public media and the political environment.[60] Goff led Labour into a second electoral defeat in 2011 and was succeeded by David Shearer (2011–2013).[61] Shearer resigned after losing the confidence of caucus. David Cunliffe (2013–2014) was elected in the 2013 leadership election.[62] Cunliffe was disliked by some factions within the Labour caucus but had strong support from the party membership; in the leadership contest he won first-preference votes from only one-third of Labour MPs.[63] Cunliffe resigned following a further election loss in 2014, he was replaced by Andrew Little (2014–2017). Little resigned in 2017 following new polling showing the party sinking to a record low result.[12] Jacinda Ardern (2017–present) was confirmed as the new Labour leader.[12][64]

After Ardern's ascension to the leadership Labour rose dramatically in opinion polls. By late August they had risen to 43% in one poll (having been 24% under Little's leadership), as well as managing to overtake National in opinion polls for the first time in over a decade.[65]

Sixth Government (2017–present)[edit]

During the 2017 general election, the Labour Party gained 36.6% of the party vote and increased its presence in the House of Representatives to 46 seats, making it the second largest party in Parliament.[13]

On 19 October 2017, New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters announced that his party would form a coalition government with Labour,[66] citing changing international and internal economic circumstances as the reasoning behind his decision,[67] coupled with a belief that a Labour government was best-placed to handle the social and economic welfare of New Zealanders in a global environment that was undergoing rapid and seismic change.[68] This coalition, combined with confidence and supply from the Green Party,[69] saw Labour return to government for the first time since 2008.

The Labour government has pledged to eliminate child poverty, make tertiary education free, reduce immigration by 20,000–30,000, decriminalise abortion, introduce a water royalty and make all rivers swimmable within 10 years.[70]

Organisation[edit]

Party structure[edit]

General and special branches

Party membership is tied into geographically-based branches in each parliamentary electorate. General branches must consist of at least 10 members aged 15 or over.[71] Members may also form special branches where they have a special community of interest (such as university students and academics, young people, women, Māori people, Pacific Islanders and industrial workers).[71] Influential branches include Princes Street Labour (this university branch is described as the "ideological powerhouse of the party",[72] and has contributed many prominent Labour politicians) and Vic Labour (the Victoria University of Wellington branch).[73]

Labour Party membership, 1917–2002[74]


Full (non-affiliate) membership peaked at 55,000 in 1976. During the 1980s and 1990s party membership plummeted to levels not seen since before the First Labour Government, this decline might be attributed to disillusionment on the part of some members with the economics policies of the Fourth Labour Government ("Rogernomics"). Membership figures began to recover under Helen Clark's leadership, with 14,000 members recorded in 2002.[75]

Conference, councils and committees

Delegates from all branches in the electorate, together with delegates from affiliated unions, make up the Labour Electorate Committee (LEC), the LEC is responsible for party organisation in the electorate.[71] The party is divided into six regional areas, which each year convene a Regional Conference.[76] Policy and other matters are debated and passed onto the Annual Conference.[71]

The Annual Conference is the supreme governing body of the party when it is in session. All constituent bodies of the Party are entitled to send delegates to Annual Conference.[71]

The New Zealand Council is the Labour Party's governing executive,[76] it ensures that the party is governed effectively according to its constitution. The NZ Council consists of the President, two Senior Vice Presidents (one of which must be a Māori), three Vice Presidents (representing Women, Affiliates and Pacific Islands), seven Regional Reps, one Policy Council Rep, three Caucus Reps and the General Secretary.[71]

The Policy Council, responsible for the development of the policy platform and election manifesto,[10] is elected for a three-year term following each general election, the party structure also provides for Special Interest Group Councils: representing the affiliates, women's issues, Māori issues, Pacific Islands, primary industries, local government and youth.[71]

Caucus and parliamentary leadership

The elected members representing the Labour Party in the House of Representatives meet as the Parliamentary Labour Party, generally known as the Caucus, the current parliamentary leader is Jacinda Ardern. A leadership election is triggered upon the vacancy of the position of leader or a motion of no confidence. Candidates are nominated from within the Caucus. Under Labour Party rules, party members have 40% of the votes, MPs have another 40% of the votes, and affiliated unions have 20% of the votes,[71] some observers have criticised the influence of the unions in leadership elections.[77]

Affiliated trade unions[edit]

In the first decades of the 20th century, industries grew strongly in New Zealand's main cities and union membership also increased, the Labour Party was formed in this period as the political wing of the labour movement, and was financed by trade unions. Since then, the unions have retained close institutional links with the party. There are currently six unions that are directly affiliated to the party and pay affiliation fees as well as receiving a percentage of the vote in party leadership elections,[77] these unions are:

In addition, the president of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions continues to speak at the Labour Party Annual Conference.[79]

Young Labour[edit]

Young Labour is the party's youth wing, it exists to organise young members (under 26)[80] and encourage wider involvement of young New Zealanders in centre-left politics. Young Labour is the most active sector in the Labour Party and plays a significant role in policy development and campaign efforts, it is endearingly called the "conscience of the party".[81]

Local government[edit]

Labour has many prominent local councillors who ran under the banner of the Labour Party or a local umbrella organisation; in Auckland there is Alf Filipaina of the Manukau ward and Richard Northey (a former MP), formerly of the Maungakiekie-Tamaki ward. Phil Goff, former leader of the Labour Party is the current Mayor of Auckland.[82] Former Mayor Len Brown, despite having a lifelong membership to Labour, ran as an independent in the 2010 and 2013 elections. In Hamilton, former MP for Hamilton West Martin Gallagher was elected to council in 2010.

In New Plymouth former MP Harry Duynhoven served as mayor from 2010–2013 where upon he was voted out of office. Lianne Dalziel was elected to be Mayor of Christchurch in the 2013 local body elections succeeding Sir Bob Parker, and former Rotorua electorate then list MP Steve Chadwick, was elected as Mayor of Rotorua in the 2013 elections, Both Dalziel and Chadwick ran however as independents.

In Christchurch Labour maintains an umbrella including community independents called The People's Choice (formerly Christchurch 2021). Labour candidates stand as 'The People's Choice (Labour)' and currently[when?] hold a number of community board seats, seven council seats, and several community board chairmanships.

Wellington has two Labour Party councillors: Brian Dawson – Lambton Ward councillor and Peter Gilberd – Northern Ward Councillor. Justin Lester is the current Mayor of Wellington who ran on a Labour Party ticket. There are many more local and regional councillors who are Labour Party members, but do not run as endorsed candidates of the party.

While the Labour Party has not contested the local body elections in Dunedin, the city councillor and former Labour MP David Benson-Pope announced on 26 February 2016 that he would be contesting the Dunedin local elections in October under the "Local Labour" ticket. While still a Labour Party member, Benson Pope had stood in the 2013 local elections as an independent candidate, this report coincided with the dissolution of the city's main local body ticket, the Greater Dunedin group.[83] On 20 April, it was reported that the Labour Party had dropped its plan to field a bloc of candidates in the 2016 Dunedin elections. However, the Party has not ruled out endorsing other candidates.[84]

There are many others councillors in almost all areas of New Zealand that are members or have previously had connections with the Labour Party, but have instead contested local elections as independents.

Electoral results[edit]

Parliamentary[edit]

1919–1993[85]


MMP era, 1996–present[86][87][88][89][90]
Election # of party votes  % of party vote # of seats
won
Government/opposition?
1919 131,402 24.2
8 / 80
Opposition
1922 150,448 23.70
17 / 80
1925 184,650 27.20
12 / 80
1928 198,092 26.19
19 / 80
Coalition with United
1931 244,881 34.27
24 / 80
Opposition
1935 434,368 46.17
53 / 80
Government
Two-party system era
1938 528,290 55.82
53 / 80
Government
1943 522,189 47.6
45 / 80
1946 536,994 51.28
42 / 80
1949 506,073 47.16
34 / 80
Opposition
1951 473,146 45.8
30 / 80
1954 481,631 44.1
35 / 80
1957 531,740 48.3
41 / 80
Government
1960 420,084 43.4
34 / 80
Opposition
1963 383,205 43.7
35 / 80
1966 382,756 41.4
35 / 80
1969 464,346 44.2
39 / 84
1972 677,669 48.37
55 / 87
Government
1975 634,453 39.56
32 / 87
Opposition
1978 691,076 40.41
40 / 92
1981 702,630 39.01
43 / 91
1984 829,154 42.98
56 / 95
Government
1987 878,448 47.96
57 / 97
1990 640,915 35.14
29 / 97
Opposition
1993 666,759 34.68
45 / 99
Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) era
1996 584,159 28.19
37 / 120
Opposition
1999 800,199 38.74
49 / 120
Government (coalition)
2002 838,219 41.26
52 / 120
2005 935,319 41.10
50 / 121
2008 796,880 33.99
43 / 122
Opposition
2011 614,936 27.48
34 / 121
2014 604,534 25.13
32 / 121
2017 956,184 36.89
46 / 120
Government (coalition)
Labour did not stand candidates in every electorate until 1946, when it stood candidates in all 80 electorates. According to the National Executive reports,[91] the number of official candidates in 1919 is uncertain (53 or possibly 46), the number of candidates was 41, 1922; 56, 1925; 55, 1928; 53, 1931; 70, 1935; 78, 1938 and 77, 1943. Labour did not run against independent candidates who voted with Labour; Harry Atmore in Nelson and David McDougall in Mataura, Southland. Labour did not run candidates against the two Country Party candidates in 1935; but did in 1938, when both candidates were defeated.

Auckland local government[edit]

Election Candidates nominated Seats won
Local Board Candidates Council Candidates Health Board Candidates Licensing trust Candidates Local Board Seats Council Seats Health Board Seats Licensing trust Seats
2010 17/149 3/20 0/21 6/41
12 / 149
2 / 20
0 / 21
6 / 41
2013 27/149 4/20 2/21 8/35
20 / 149
2 / 20
1 / 21
7 / 35
2016 46/149 7/20 9/21 9/35
26 / 149
3 / 20
2 / 21
9 / 35

Leaders[edit]

The Labour Party has had sixteen leaders – nine of whom have served as Prime Minister. Helen Clark is the longest serving leader of the Labour Party. While some dispute exists as to when Harry Holland officially became leader, by 26 October 2008 Clark had passed his longest possible leadership term.[92]

List of leaders[edit]

The following is a complete list of Labour Party leaders in the House of Representatives:

Key:
  Labour   Reform   United   National
PM: Prime Minister
LO: Leader of the Opposition
†: Died in office

No. Leader Portrait Term of Office Position Prime Minister
1 Alfred Hindmarsh Alfred Hindmarsh.jpg 7 July 1916 13 November 1918† Massey
2 Harry Holland Harry Holland (1925).jpg 27 August 1919 8 October 1933†
Bell
LO 1926–1928 Coates
Junior coalition partner
1928–1931
Ward
LO 1931–1933 Forbes
3 Michael Joseph Savage Michael Joseph Savage Portrait.jpg 12 October 1933 27 March 1940† LO 1933–1935
PM 1935–1940 Savage
4 Peter Fraser Peter Fraser.jpg 1 April 1940 12 December 1950† PM 1940–1949 Fraser
LO 1949–1950 Holland
5 Walter Nash Walter Nash (ca 1940s).jpg December 1950 31 March 1963 LO 1951–1957
Holyoake
PM 1957–1960 Nash
LO 1960–1963 Holyoake
6 Arnold Nordmeyer Arnold Nordmeyer (1950).jpg 1 April 1963 16 December 1965 LO 1963–1965
7 Norman Kirk Norman Kirk Portrait.jpg 16 December 1965 31 August 1974† LO 1965–1972
Marshall
PM 1972–1974 Kirk
8 Bill Rowling Bill Rowling, 1962.jpg 6 September 1974 3 February 1983 PM 1974–1975 Rowling
LO 1975–1983 Muldoon
9 David Lange David Lange (cropped).jpg 3 February 1983 8 August 1989 LO 1983–1984
PM 1984–1989 Lange
10 Geoffrey Palmer SirGeoffreyPalmer.jpg 8 August 1989 4 September 1990 PM 1989–1990 Palmer
11 Mike Moore Mike Moore.jpg 4 September 1990 1 December 1993 PM 1990 Moore
LO 1990–1993 Bolger
12 Helen Clark Helen Clark UNDP 2010.jpg 1 December 1993 19 November 2008 LO 1993–1999
Shipley
PM 1999–2008 Clark
13 Phil Goff Phil Goff at Maungaraki School.jpg 19 November 2008 13 December 2011 LO 2008–2011 Key
14 David Shearer David Shearer.jpg 13 December 2011 15 September 2013 LO 2011–2013
15 David Cunliffe David Cunliffe, 2008.jpg 15 September 2013 30 September 2014 LO 2013–2014
16 Andrew Little Andrew Little, 2016.jpg 18 November 2014 1 August 2017 LO 2014–2017
English
17 Jacinda Ardern Ardern Cropped.png 1 August 2017 Incumbent LO 2017
PM 2017–present Ardern

List of deputy leaders[edit]

The following is a complete list of Labour Party deputy leaders:

No. Deputy leader Term
1 James McCombs 1919–1923
2 Michael Joseph Savage 1923–1933
3 Peter Fraser 1933–1940
4 Walter Nash 1940–1950
5 Jerry Skinner 1951–1962
6 Fred Hackett 1962–1963
7 Hugh Watt 1963–1974
8 Bob Tizard 1974–1979
9 David Lange 1979–1983
10 Geoffrey Palmer 1983–1989
11 Helen Clark 1989–1993
12 David Caygill 1993–1996
13 Michael Cullen 1996–2008
14 Annette King 2008–2011
15 Grant Robertson 2011–2013
16 David Parker 2013–2014
14 Annette King 2014–2017
17 Jacinda Ardern 2017
18 Kelvin Davis 2017–present

List of presidents[edit]

The following is a complete list of Labour Party presidents:[93]

No. President Term
1 James McCombs 1916–1917[94]
2 Andrew Walker 1917–1918 [95]
3 Tom Paul 1918–1920[96]
4 Peter Fraser 1920–1921
5 Frederick Cooke 1921–1922
6 Tom Brindle 1922–1926
7 Bob Semple 1926–1928
8 John Archer 1928–1929
9 Jim Thorn 1929–1931[97]
10 Rex Mason 1931–1932
11 Bill Jordan 1932–1933
12 Frank Langstone 1933–1934
13 Tim Armstrong 1934–1935
14 Walter Nash 1935–1936
15 Clyde Carr 1936–1937
16 James Roberts 1937–1950[98]
17 Arnold Nordmeyer 1950–1955
18 Michael Moohan 1955–1960
19 Martyn Finlay 1960–1964
20 Norman Kirk 1964–1966
21 Norman Douglas 1966–1970
22 Bill Rowling 1970–1972
23 Charles Bennett 1972–1976[99]
24 Arthur Faulkner 1976–1978
25 Jim Anderton 1979–1984
26 Margaret Wilson 1984–1987
27 Rex Jones 1987–1988[100]
28 Ruth Dyson 1988–1993
29 Maryan Street 1993–1995
30 Michael Hirschfeld 1995–1999
31 Bob Harvey 1999–2000
32 Mike Williams 2000–2009
33 Andrew Little 2009–2011
34 Moira Coatsworth 2011–2015
35 Nigel Haworth 2015–present

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

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  2. ^ a b c Clive Bean (2009). "New Zealand". In Mark N. Franklin; Thomas T. Mackie; Henry Valen. Electoral Change: Responses to Evolving Social and Attitudinal Structures in Western Countries. ECPR Press. p. 285. ISBN 978-0-9558203-1-1. 
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  4. ^ a b c Boston, Jonathan (2003). New Zealand Votes: The General Election of 2002. Victoria University Press. 
  5. ^ Papillon, Martin; Turgeon, Luc; Wallner, Jennifer; White, Stephen (2014). Comparing Canada: Methods and Perspectives on Canadian Politics. UBC Press. p. 126. ISBN 9780774827867. Retrieved 30 August 2016. ...in New Zealand politics, by the centre-left Labour Party and the centre-right National Party 
  6. ^ a b "Participants". Progressive Alliance. Retrieved 4 February 2017. 
  7. ^ Jones, Nicholas (4 August 2017). "Let's do this: Jacinda Ardern unveils new Labour slogan". The New Zealand Herald. 
  8. ^ "Ngā Rōpū Pāremata" (in Maori). New Zealand Parliament Pāremata Aotearoa. Retrieved 5 May 2017. 
  9. ^ Miller 2005, pp. 32–33.
  10. ^ a b "New Zealand Labour Party Policy Platform" (PDF). New Zealand Labour Party. March 2016. p. 5. Retrieved 13 June 2017. The Labour Party’s values are based on our founding principle of Democratic Socialism. 
  11. ^ a b "New Zealand Labour Party founded". Ministry for Culture and Heritage. 23 December 2016. Retrieved 4 February 2017. 
  12. ^ a b c Watkins, Tracy (1 August 2017). "Jacinda Ardern new Labour leader as Andrew Little quits". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 1 August 2017. 
  13. ^ a b "2017 General Election - Official Result". New Zealand Electoral Commission. Retrieved 7 October 2017. 
  14. ^ Rodney Smith; Ariadne Vromen; Ian Cook (2006). Keywords in Australian Politics. Cambridge University Press. p. 177. ISBN 978-0-521-67283-2. 
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  16. ^ "Labour: Constitution and Rules" (PDF). NZ Labour Party. 2014. p. 4. Retrieved 11 June 2014. The Party accepts the following democratic socialist principles –
    g. All political authority comes from the people by democratic means, including universal suffrage, regular and free elections with a secret ballot.
    h. The natural resources of New Zealand belong to all the people and these resources, and in particular non-renewable resources, should be managed for the benefit of all, including future generations.
    i. All people should have equal access to all social, economic, cultural, political and legal spheres, regardless of wealth or social position, and continuing participation in the democratic process.
    j. Co-operation, rather than competition, should be the main governing factor in economic relations, in order that a greater amount and a just distribution of wealth can be ensured.
    k. All people are entitled to dignity, self-respect and the opportunity to work.
    l. All people, either individually or in groups, may own wealth or property for their own use, but in any conflict of interest people are always more important than property, and the state must ensure a just distribution of wealth.
    m. Te Tiriti o Waitangi/The Treaty of Waitangi is the founding document of New Zealand, and that the Treaty should be honoured in the Party, government, society and the whanau.
    n. Peace and social justice should be promoted throughout the world by international co-operation and mutual respect.
    o. The same basic human rights, protected by the State, apply to all people, regardless of race, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, religious faith, political belief or disability.
     
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  20. ^ Gustafson 1980, p. 13.
  21. ^ Gustafson 1980, pp. 13f.
  22. ^ Gustafson 1980, pp. 17f.
  23. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 216.
  24. ^ Gustafson 1980, p. 19.
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  32. ^ Gustafson 1980, pp. 18.
  33. ^ Franks & McAloon 2016, pp. 79.
  34. ^ Aimer, Peter (20 June 2012). "Labour Party - First Labour government, 1935 to 1949". Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 19 June 2017. 
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  40. ^ Franks & McAloon 2016, pp. 133.
  41. ^ Franks & McAloon 2016, pp. 136.
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  43. ^ a b Franks & McAloon 2016, pp. 154.
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  60. ^ Hager, Nicky, (2014) 'Dirty Politics: How Attack Politics in Poisoning New Zealand's Political Environment', Nelson: Craig Potton Publishing
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  62. ^ "Cunliffe wins Labour leadership". Stuff.co.nz. 15 September 2013. Retrieved 15 September 2013. 
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  64. ^ Graham, Charlotte (31 July 2017). "Jacinda Ardern Takes Over New Zealand Opposition as Election Looms". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 August 2017. 
  65. ^ "Little asked Ardern to lead six days before he resigned". The New Zealand Herald. 14 September 2017. Retrieved 15 November 2017. 
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References[edit]

  • Franks, Peter; McAloon, Jim (2016). Labour: The New Zealand Labour Party 1916–2016. Wellington: Victoria University Press. ISBN 978-1-77656-074-5. 
  • Bassett, Michael (1976). The Third Labour Government: A Personal History. Dunmore Press. 
  • Brown, Bruce (1962). The Rise of New Zealand Labour: A history of the New Zealand Labour Party. Wellington: Price Milburn. 
  • Gustafson, Barry (1980). Labour's path to political independence: The Origins and Establishment of the New Zealand Labour Party, 1900–19. Auckland, New Zealand: Auckland University Press. ISBN 0-19-647986-X. 
  • Gustafson, Barry (1986). From the Cradle to the Grave: A biography of Michael Joseph Savage. Auckland: Reed Methuen. ISBN 0-474-00138-5.  (with Biographical appendix)
  • Holland, Martin; Boston, Jonathan, eds. (1988). The Fourth Labour Government: Politics and Policy in New Zealand. Oxford University Press. 
  • Lipson, Leslie (2011) [1948]. The Politics of Equality: New Zealand’s Adventures in Democracy. Wellington: Victoria University Press. ISBN 978-0-86473-646-8. 
  • Miller, Raymond (2005). Party Politics in New Zealand. Australia: Oxford University Press. 
  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First published in 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103. 

External links[edit]