New Zealand Labour Party
Overview
The New Zealand Labour Party (Māori
Maori language
Māori or te reo Māori , commonly te reo , is the language of the indigenous population of New Zealand, the Māori. It has the status of an official language in New Zealand...

: Rōpū Reipa o Aotearoa) is a New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 political party. It describes itself as centre-left
Centre-left
Centre-left is a political term that describes individuals, political parties or organisations such as think tanks whose ideology lies between the centre and the left on the left-right spectrum...

 and socially progressive
Progressivism
Progressivism is an umbrella term for a political ideology advocating or favoring social, political, and economic reform or changes. Progressivism is often viewed by some conservatives, constitutionalists, and libertarians to be in opposition to conservative or reactionary ideologies.The...

 and has been one of the two primary parties of New Zealand politics since 1935.

After defeat in the 2008 elections, the Labour party forms the second-largest (in terms of parliamentary seats) political party
Political party
A political party is a political organization that typically seeks to influence government policy, usually by nominating their own candidates and trying to seat them in political office. Parties participate in electoral campaigns, educational outreach or protest actions...

 represented in the New Zealand Parliament, and functions as the core of the Official Parliamentary Opposition.

On 8 November 2008, Helen Clark
Helen Clark
Helen Elizabeth Clark, ONZ is a New Zealand political figure who was the 37th Prime Minister of New Zealand for three consecutive terms from 1999 to 2008...

 announced she was stepping down as leader, saying a new leader was expected to be named by Christmas.
Discussions
Encyclopedia
The New Zealand Labour Party (Māori
Maori language
Māori or te reo Māori , commonly te reo , is the language of the indigenous population of New Zealand, the Māori. It has the status of an official language in New Zealand...

: Rōpū Reipa o Aotearoa) is a New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 political party. It describes itself as centre-left
Centre-left
Centre-left is a political term that describes individuals, political parties or organisations such as think tanks whose ideology lies between the centre and the left on the left-right spectrum...

 and socially progressive
Progressivism
Progressivism is an umbrella term for a political ideology advocating or favoring social, political, and economic reform or changes. Progressivism is often viewed by some conservatives, constitutionalists, and libertarians to be in opposition to conservative or reactionary ideologies.The...

 and has been one of the two primary parties of New Zealand politics since 1935.

After defeat in the 2008 elections, the Labour party forms the second-largest (in terms of parliamentary seats) political party
Political party
A political party is a political organization that typically seeks to influence government policy, usually by nominating their own candidates and trying to seat them in political office. Parties participate in electoral campaigns, educational outreach or protest actions...

 represented in the New Zealand Parliament, and functions as the core of the Official Parliamentary Opposition.

On 8 November 2008, Helen Clark
Helen Clark
Helen Elizabeth Clark, ONZ is a New Zealand political figure who was the 37th Prime Minister of New Zealand for three consecutive terms from 1999 to 2008...

 announced she was stepping down as leader, saying a new leader was expected to be named by Christmas. Her Deputy Michael Cullen followed her the next day. On 11 November 2008 the parliamentary party caucus chose Phil Goff
Phil Goff
Philip Bruce Goff is the current Leader of the Opposition and the Leader of the New Zealand Labour Party. During the Fifth Labour Government, he served in a number of ministerial portfolios, including Minister of Defence of New Zealand, Minister of Corrections, Minister of Foreign Affairs and...

 and Annette King
Annette King
Annette Faye King is a New Zealand politician. She is the current Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the New Zealand. She was a Cabinet Minister in the Fifth Labour Government of New Zealand.-Early life:...

 to replace Clark and Cullen respectively.. After the party's defeat in the 2011 general election, Goff and King stepped down as leader and deputy leader, respectively. Their replacements will be chosen by 13 December 2011.

History

The Labour Party was established on 7 July 1916 in Wellington, bringing together socialist groups advocating proportional representation
Proportional representation
Proportional representation is a concept in voting systems used to elect an assembly or council. PR means that the number of seats won by a party or group of candidates is proportionate to the number of votes received. For example, under a PR voting system if 30% of voters support a particular...

 and "the Recall" of Members of Parliament, as well as the nationalisation of production and of exchange
Trade
Trade is the transfer of ownership of goods and services from one person or entity to another. Trade is sometimes loosely called commerce or financial transaction or barter. A network that allows trade is called a market. The original form of trade was barter, the direct exchange of goods and...

. Its origins lie in the British working-class movement, heavily influenced by Australian radicalism and events such as the Waihi miners' strike
Waihi miners' strike
The Waihi miners' strike was a major strike action in 1912 by gold miners in the New Zealand town of Waihi. It is widely regarded as the most significant industrial action in the history of New Zealand's labour movement...

. It is the oldest political party in New Zealand. Despite its Wellington origins, the West Coast town of Blackball
Blackball, New Zealand
Blackball is a small town on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand, approximately 29 km from Greymouth.Blackball was named after the Black Ball Shipping Line, which leased land in the area to mine for coal. It was formerly known as Joliffetown and Moonlight Gully.Blackball is a centre...

 is often regarded as the birthplace of the party, as it was the location of the founding of one of the main political organisations which became part of the nascent Labour Party.

Origins

The 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.

At the turn of the century, the radical side of New Zealand working class politics was represented by the Socialist Party
New Zealand Socialist Party
The New Zealand Socialist Party was founded in 1901, promoting the works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. The group, despite being relatively moderate when compared with many other socialists, met with little tangible success, but it nevertheless had considerable impact on the development of New...

, founded in 1901. The more moderate leftists were generally supporters of the Liberal Party
New Zealand Liberal Party
The New Zealand Liberal Party is generally regarded as having been the first real political party in New Zealand. It governed from 1891 until 1912. Out of office, the Liberals gradually found themselves pressed between the conservative Reform Party and the growing Labour Party...

. In 1905, a group of working class politicians who were dissatisfied with the Liberal approach established the Independent Political Labour League
Independent Political Labour League
The Independent Political Labour League was a small New Zealand political party. It was the second organised political party to win a seat in the New Zealand Parliament, and was a forerunner of the modern Labour Party....

, which managed to win a seat in Parliament. 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.

In 1910, the Independent Political Labour League was relaunched as an organisation called the Labour Party
New Zealand Labour Party (original)
The original New Zealand Labour Party was a short-lived left-wing political party in New Zealand. It is a predecessor of the modern 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
United Labour Party (New Zealand)
The United Labour Party of New Zealand was an early left-wing political party. Founded in 1912, it represented the more moderate wing of the labour movement. In 1916 it joined with other political groups to establish the modern Labour Party.- Origins :...

 was born.

Soon afterwards, the labour movement was hit by the Waihi miners' strike
Waihi miners' strike
The Waihi miners' strike was a major strike action in 1912 by gold miners in the New Zealand town of Waihi. It is widely regarded as the most significant industrial action in the history of New Zealand's labour movement...

, a major industrial disturbance prompted by radicals in the union movement. The movement was split between supporting and opposing the radicals, and in the end, the conservative government of William Massey
William Massey
William Ferguson Massey, often known as Bill Massey or "Farmer Bill" served as the 19th Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1912 to 1925, and was the founder of the Reform Party. He is widely considered to have been one of the more skilled politicians of his time, and was known for the particular...

 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. The resulting group was named the Social Democratic Party
Social Democratic Party (New Zealand)
The Social Democratic Party of New Zealand was an early left-wing political party. It existed only a short time before being amalgamated into the new Labour 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 1916, yet another gathering was held. This time, all major factions of the labour movement agreed to unite, establishing the modern Labour Party.

Early days

Almost immediately, the new Labour Party became involved in the acrimonious debate about conscription
Conscription
Conscription is the compulsory enlistment of people in some sort of national service, most often military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and continues in some countries to the present day under various names...

, which arose during
World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 – the Labour Party strongly opposed conscription, and a number of its leaders were jailed for their stand against it. This loss of leadership threatened to seriously destabilise the party, but in the end, the party survived.

In its first real electoral test as a united party, the 1919 election, Labour won eight seats. This compared with 47 for the governing Reform Party
New Zealand Reform Party
The Reform Party, formally the New Zealand Political Reform League, was New Zealand's second major political party, having been founded as a conservative response to the original Liberal Party...

 and 21 for the Liberal Party
New Zealand Liberal Party
The New Zealand Liberal Party is generally regarded as having been the first real political party in New Zealand. It governed from 1891 until 1912. Out of office, the Liberals gradually found themselves pressed between the conservative Reform Party and the growing Labour Party...

.

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.

In the 1922 election
New Zealand general election, 1922
The New Zealand general election of 1922 was held on Monday, 6 December in the Māori electorates, and on Tuesday, 7 December in the general electorates to elect a total of 80 MPs to the 21st session of the New Zealand Parliament...

, Labour more than doubled its number of seats, winning seventeen. In the 1925 election
New Zealand general election, 1925
The New Zealand general election of 1925 was held 4 November to elect a total of 80 MPs to the 22nd session of the New Zealand Parliament...

, 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
Leader of the Opposition (New Zealand)
The Leader of the Opposition in New Zealand is the politician who, at least in theory, commands the support of the non-government bloc of members in the New Zealand Parliament. In the debating chamber the Leader of the Opposition sits directly opposite the Prime Minister...

 on 16 June 1926, after the Eden by-election
Eden by-election 1926
The Eden by-election of 1926 was a by-election for the Eden electorate during the 22nd New Zealand Parliament. The seat became vacant after the appointment of the sitting member, Christopher Parr of the Reform Party as High Commissioner to London. Parr resigned on 26 March.The by-election was held...

 on 15 April elected Rex Mason
Rex Mason
Henry Greathead Rex Mason was a New Zealand politician. He served as Attorney General, Minister of Justice, Minister of Education, and Minister of Native Affairs, and had a significant influence on the direction of the Labour Party...

 (Labour) to replace Christopher Parr (Reform) who had resigned. After the 1928 election
New Zealand general election, 1928
The New Zealand general election of 1928 was held on Tuesday, 13 November in the Māori electorates, and on Wednesday, 14 November in the general electorates to elect a total of 80 MPs to the 23rd session of the New Zealand Parliament...

, however, the party was left in an advantageous position – the Reform Party and the new United Party
United Party (New Zealand)
The United Party of New Zealand, a party formed out of the remnants of the Liberal Party, formed a government between 1928 and 1935, and in 1936 merged with the Reform Party to establish the National 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.

The rigours of the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

 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
New Zealand general election, 1931
The 1931 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of the New Zealand Parliament's 24th term. It resulted in the newly formed coalition between the United Party and the Reform Party remaining in office as the Liberal-Reform Government, although the opposition Labour...

, but gradually, the public became highly dissatisfied with its failure to resolve the country's economic problems. In the 1935 election
New Zealand general election, 1935
The 1935 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of the New Zealand Parliament's 25th term. It resulted in the Labour Party's first electoral victory, with Michael Joseph Savage becoming the first Labour Prime Minister...

, 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: Harry Holland
Harry Holland
Henry Edmund Holland was a New Zealand politician and unionist. He was the first leader of the New Zealand Labour Party.-Early life:...

, Michael Joseph Savage
Michael Joseph Savage
Michael Joseph Savage was the first Labour Prime Minister of New Zealand.- Early life :Born in Tatong, Victoria, Australia, Savage first became involved in politics while working in that state. He emigrated to New Zealand in 1907. There he worked in a variety of jobs, as a miner, flax-cutter and...

, Bob Semple
Bob Semple
Robert "Bob" Semple was a union leader and later Minister of Public Works for the first Labour Government of New Zealand....

, Paddy Webb
Paddy Webb
Patrick Charles "Paddy" Webb was a New Zealand trade unionist and politician.-Early life:Webb was born in Rutherglen, a small town in the Australian state of Victoria. His father, George Webb, was a miner, and Paddy Webb eventually worked in the mines himself...

, and later Clarence Skinner
Clarence Skinner (politician)
Clarence Farrington Skinner, MC, was a Labour politician from New Zealand, former Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand and a Minister 1943 – 1949 and 1957 – 1960 in the First and Second Labour governments.-Personal information:Skinner was in the New Zealand Army in the Middle East in World War...

, Mabel Howard
Mabel Howard
|-...

 and Hugh Watt
Hugh Watt
Hugh Watt was a Labour member of Parliament and Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1972 – 1974. He was briefly the Acting Prime Minister of New Zealand between 1 September 1974 – 6 September 1974 following the death of Norman Kirk....

.

First Labour Government

Michael Joseph Savage
Michael Joseph Savage
Michael Joseph Savage was the first Labour Prime Minister of New Zealand.- Early life :Born in Tatong, Victoria, Australia, Savage first became involved in politics while working in that state. He emigrated to New Zealand in 1907. There he worked in a variety of jobs, as a miner, flax-cutter and...

, leader of the Labour Party, became Prime Minister
Prime Minister of New Zealand
The Prime Minister of New Zealand is New Zealand's head of government consequent on being the leader of the party or coalition with majority support in the Parliament of New Zealand...

 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
State housing
State housing is the system of public housing offered to New Zealand residents on low to moderate incomes. Some 66,000 houses are managed by Housing New Zealand Corporation, most of which are owned by the government.-The Liberal Government:...

 scheme. Labour also pursued an alliance with the Māori Ratana
Ratana
The Rātana movement is a Māori religion and pan-tribal political movement founded by Tahupōtiki Wiremu Rātana in early 20th century New Zealand...

 movement. Savage himself was highly popular with the working classes, and his portrait could be found on the walls of many houses around the country.

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
New Zealand National Party
The New Zealand National Party is the largest party in the New Zealand House of Representatives and in November 2008 formed a minority government with support from three minor parties.-Policies:...

, and would be Labour's main rival in future years.

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 first leader, the "doctrinaire" Harry Holland
Harry Holland
Henry Edmund Holland was a New Zealand politician and unionist. He was the first leader of the New Zealand Labour Party.-Early life:...

, 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
John A. Lee
John Alfred Alexander Lee DCM was a New Zealand politician and writer. He is one of the more prominent avowed socialists in New Zealand's political history.-Early life:...

. Lee, whose views were a mixture of socialism and social credit
Social Credit
Social Credit is an economic philosophy developed by C. H. Douglas , a British engineer, who wrote a book by that name in 1924. Social Credit is described by Douglas as "the policy of a philosophy"; he called his philosophy "practical Christianity"...

 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 the breakaway Democratic Labour Party
Democratic Labour Party (New Zealand)
The Democratic Labour Party was a left-wing political party in New Zealand in the 1940s. It was a splinter from the larger Labour Party, and was led by the prominent socialist John A. Lee.-Party history:...

.

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
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. In the post-war period, however, ongoing shortages and industrial problems cost Labour considerable popularity, and the National Party, under Sidney Holland
Sidney Holland
Sir Sidney George Holland, GCMG, CH was the 25th Prime Minister of New Zealand from 13 December 1949 to 20 September 1957.-Early life:...

, gained ground. Finally, in the 1949 elections
New Zealand general election, 1949
The 1949 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of the New Zealand Parliament's 29th term. It saw the governing Labour Party defeated by the opposition National Party...

, Labour was defeated.

Fraser died shortly afterwards, and was replaced by Walter Nash
Walter Nash
Sir Walter Nash, GCMG, CH served as the 27th Prime Minister of New Zealand in the Second Labour Government from 1957 to 1960, and was also highly influential in his role as Minister of Finance...

, the long-serving Minister of Finance
Minister of Finance (New Zealand)
The Minister of Finance is a senior figure within the government of New Zealand. The position is often considered to be the most important Cabinet role after that of the Prime Minister....

. 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
1951 New Zealand waterfront dispute
The 1951 New Zealand waterfront dispute was the largest and most widespread industrial dispute in New Zealand history. During the time, up to twenty thousand workers went on strike in support of waterfront workers protesting financial hardships and working conditions. Thousands more refused to...

. In the 1957 election
New Zealand general election, 1957
The 1957 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of the New Zealand Parliament's 32nd term. It saw the governing National Party narrowly defeated by the Labour Party...

, however, Labour won the narrowest of victories, and returned to office.

Second Labour Government

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
Balance of payments
Balance of payments accounts are an accounting record of all monetary transactions between a country and the rest of the world.These transactions include payments for the country's exports and imports of goods, services, financial capital, and financial transfers...

 concerns. This resulted in the (in)famous "Black Budget
Black Budget (New Zealand)
In New Zealand, the term Black Budget refers to the government budget of 26 June 1958 in which Finance Minister Arnold Nordmeyer increased taxes on beer, tobacco, cars and petrol.The second Labour government took office in 1957, the 32nd Parliament...

" of Arnold Nordmeyer
Arnold Nordmeyer
Sir Arnold Henry Nordmeyer, ONZ, KCMG , born Heinrich Arnold Nordmeyer, was a New Zealand politician. He was leader of the Labour Party for three years while it was in Opposition.-Early life:...

, the new Minister of Finance. The budget raised taxes, particularly on alcohol and cigarettes, and was highly unpopular. It is widely thought to have doomed the party to defeat. In the 1960 election
New Zealand general election, 1960
The 1960 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of the New Zealand Parliament's 33rd term. It saw the governing Labour Party defeated by the National Party, putting an end to the short second Labour government.-Background:...

, the National Party was indeed victorious.

The elderly Nash retired in 1963, suffering from ill health. 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
Norman Kirk
Norman Eric Kirk was the 29th Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1972 until his sudden death in 1974. He led the Parliamentary wing of the New Zealand Labour Party from 1965 to 1974. He was the fourth Labour Prime Minister of New Zealand, but the first to be born in New Zealand...

, who many believed would revitalise the party. Labour was defeated again in the next two elections, but in the 1972 election
New Zealand general election, 1972
The New Zealand general election of 1972 was held to elect MPs to the 37th session of the New Zealand Parliament. The Labour Party, led by Norman Kirk, defeated the governing National Party.-Background:...

, the party gained a significant victory.

Third Labour Government

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
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

'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
Bill Rowling
Sir Wallace Edward Rowling, KCMG , often known as Bill Rowling, was the 30th Prime Minister of New Zealand. He was in office for just over a year, having been appointed Prime Minister following the death of the highly popular Norman Kirk...

, who did not have the same charismatic appeal – in the 1975 election
New Zealand general election, 1975
The 1975 New Zealand general election was held to elect MPs to the 38th session of the New Zealand Parliament. It was the first election in New Zealand where 18-20 year olds and all permanent residents of New Zealand were eligible to vote, although only citizens were able to be...

, Labour was defeated by National, which was led by Robert Muldoon
Robert Muldoon
Sir Robert David "Rob" Muldoon, GCMG, CH served as the 31st Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1975 to 1984, as leader of the governing National Party. Muldoon had been a prominent member of the National party and MP for the Tamaki electorate for some years prior to becoming leader of the party...

.

Rowling remained leader of the Labour Party for some time after his defeat. In the 1978 election
New Zealand general election, 1978
The 1978 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to elect the 39th New Zealand Parliament. It saw the governing National Party, led by Robert Muldoon, retain office, although the opposition Labour Party managed to win the largest share of the vote...

 and the 1981 election
New Zealand general election, 1981
The 1981 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of the 40th New Zealand Parliament. It saw the governing National Party, led by Robert Muldoon, win a third term in office, although the opposition Labour Party, led by Bill Rowling, actually won the largest share of...

, 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
David Lange
David Russell Lange, ONZ, CH , served as the 32nd Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1984 to 1989. He headed New Zealand's fourth Labour Government, one of the most reforming administrations in his country's history, but one which did not always conform to traditional expectations of a...

, who was seen as more able to counter Muldoon's attacks. In the 1984 election
New Zealand general election, 1984
The 1984 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of the 41st New Zealand Parliament. It marked the beginning of the Fourth Labour Government, with David Lange's Labour Party defeating long-serving Prime Minister Robert Muldoon of the National Party. It was also the...

, Labour was victorious.

Fourth Labour Government

When the fourth Labour government came into power led by David Lange
David Lange
David Russell Lange, ONZ, CH , served as the 32nd Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1984 to 1989. He headed New Zealand's fourth Labour Government, one of the most reforming administrations in his country's history, but one which did not always conform to traditional expectations of a...

 they uncovered a fiscal crisis that had been largely hidden by the outgoing National government
Third National Government of New Zealand
The Third National Government of New Zealand was the government of New Zealand from 1975 to 1984. It was an economically and socially conservative government, which aimed to preserve the Keynesian economic system established by the First Labour government while also being socially conservative...

. 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
New Zealand Constitution Act 1986
The Constitution Act 1986 is the principal formal statement of New Zealand's Constitution.It ended the last remaining associations of New Zealand with the British Parliament.-1984 constitutional crisis:...

.

Throughout the first term of the fourth Labour government, the cabinet remained largely unified and a number of radical financial reforms were embarked upon to improve the ailing economic and fiscal situation. In 1987 Labour won a first-past-the-post election for the last time (the mixed member proportional system was introduced in 1996). It wasn't 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. The Minister of Finance, Roger Douglas
Roger Douglas
Sir Roger Owen Douglas , is a New Zealand politician who formerly served as a senior New Zealand Labour Party Cabinet minister. He became arguably best-known for his prominent role in the radical economic restructuring undertaken by the Fourth Labour Government during the 1980s...

, was a supporter of free market
Free market
A free market is a competitive market where prices are determined by supply and demand. However, the term is also commonly used for markets in which economic intervention and regulation by the state is limited to tax collection, and enforcement of private ownership and contracts...

 theories, and sought to implement sweeping reforms ("Rogernomics
Rogernomics
The term Rogernomics, a portmanteau of "Roger" and "economics", was coined by journalists at the New Zealand Listener by analogy with Reaganomics to describe the economic policies followed by Roger Douglas after his appointment in 1984 as Minister of Finance in the Fourth Labour Government...

") 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
New Zealand Council of Trade Unions
The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions is a national trade union center in New Zealand. The NZCTU represents 360,000 workers, and is the largest democratic organisation in New Zealand....

.

Opposition to Douglas's reforms remained strong – eventually, a Labour MP, Jim Anderton
Jim Anderton
James Patrick Anderton, usually known as Jim Anderton , is the leader of the Progressive Party, a New Zealand political party. He has served in Parliament since 1984. He served as Deputy Prime Minister from 1999 to 2002 and is currently also the sitting Father of the House, the longest...

, left to establish the NewLabour Party
NewLabour Party (New Zealand)
NewLabour was a left-of-centre party founded in 1989 by Jim Anderton, an MP and former President of the New Zealand Labour Party.NewLabour was established by a number of Labour Party members who left the party in reaction to "Rogernomics", the economic policies implemented by the Labour Party's...

, eventually forming the basis of the left-wing Alliance
Alliance (New Zealand political party)
The Alliance is a left-wing political party in New Zealand. It was formed in 1991, and was influential in the 1990s, but has since declined and has no representation in parliament. It suffered a major setback after Jim Anderton, the party's leader, left the party in 2002, taking several of the...

. At the same time, Douglas was pressing onwards, proposing a flat tax
Flat tax
A flat tax is a tax system with a constant marginal tax rate. Typically the term flat tax is applied in the context of an individual or corporate income that will be taxed at one marginal rate...

 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
New Zealand general election, 1990
The 1990 New Zealand general election was held on 27 October to determine the composition of the 43rd New Zealand parliament. The governing Labour Party was defeated, ending its controversial two terms in office...

, Palmer was replaced by Mike Moore. The Labour Party suffered its worst defeat since it first took office in 1935.

Moore was eventually replaced by Helen Clark
Helen Clark
Helen Elizabeth Clark, ONZ is a New Zealand political figure who was the 37th Prime Minister of New Zealand for three consecutive terms from 1999 to 2008...

, who led the party in opposition to the National Party government of Jim Bolger
Jim Bolger
James Brendan "Jim" Bolger, ONZ was the 35th Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1990 to 1997. Bolger was elected on the promise of delivering a "Decent Society" following the previous Labour government's economic reforms, known as Rogernomics...

. During the period in opposition, the party made a measured repudiation of Rogernomics, although has never returned to the strong left-wing stance it originally took (it defines itself today as "centre-left" rather than simply "left"). When the 1996 election
New Zealand general election, 1996
The 1996 New Zealand general election was held on 12 October 1996 to determine the composition of the 45th New Zealand Parliament. It was notable for being the first election to be held under the new Mixed Member Proportional electoral system, and produced a parliament considerably more diverse...

, the first conducted under the MMP electoral system, gave the balance of power to the centrist New Zealand First
New Zealand First
New Zealand First is a political party in New Zealand that was founded in 1993, following party founder Winston Peters' resignation from the National Party in 1992...

 party, many believed that Labour would return to power, but in the end New Zealand First allied itself with National. This coalition was unstable, however, and eventually collapsed, leaving National to govern as a minority government
Minority government
A minority government or a minority cabinet is a cabinet of a parliamentary system formed when a political party or coalition of parties does not have a majority of overall seats in the parliament but is sworn into government to break a Hung Parliament election result. It is also known as a...

. In the 1999 election
New Zealand general election, 1999
The 1999 New Zealand general election was held on 27 November 1999 to determine the composition of the 46th New Zealand Parliament. The governing National Party, led by Prime Minister Jenny Shipley, was defeated, being replaced by a coalition of Helen Clark's Labour Party and the smaller Alliance...

, Labour returned to power at the head of a coalition government.

Major pieces of legislation:
  • Treaty of Waitangi Amendment Act 1985 – extended the scope of the Waitangi Tribunal to retrospective claims dating back to the Treaty
  • Constitution Act 1986
    New Zealand Constitution Act 1986
    The Constitution Act 1986 is the principal formal statement of New Zealand's Constitution.It ended the last remaining associations of New Zealand with the British Parliament.-1984 constitutional crisis:...

     – codified important constitutional conventions
  • Homosexual Law Reform Act 1986 – legalised homosexual relations
  • Immigration Act 1986 – liberalised immigration, particularly skilled migration, into NZ.
  • Māori Language Act 1987 – made Te Reo Māori
    Maori language
    Māori or te reo Māori , commonly te reo , is the language of the indigenous population of New Zealand, the Māori. It has the status of an official language in New Zealand...

     an official language.
  • State-Owned Enterprises Act 1986 – established the first SOEs
  • State Sector Act 1988 – made the civil service more business-like with Chief Executives instead of Permanent Secretaries
  • Public Finance Act 1989 – changed the reporting and accountability for government expenditure
  • Reserve Bank Act 1989 – enabled the Reserve Bank to autonomously pursue an inflation target
  • New Zealand Bill of Rights Act
    New Zealand Bill of Rights Act
    The New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 is a statute of the New Zealand Parliament setting out the rights and fundamental freedoms of the citizens of New Zealand as a Bill of rights...

     1990 – enumerated civil, political and criminal procedure rights

Other initiatives:
  • Establishment of the Royal Commission on the Electoral System
    Royal Commission on the Electoral System
    The Royal Commission on the Electoral System was formed in New Zealand in 1985, and reported in 1986. The decision to form the Royal Commission was taken by the Fourth Labour government, after the Labour party had received more votes, yet won fewer seats than the National Party in both the 1978 and...

  • Declaring New Zealand to be a nuclear-free zone
    New Zealand's nuclear-free zone
    In 1984, Prime Minister David Lange barred nuclear-powered or nuclear-armed ships from using New Zealand ports or entering New Zealand waters. Under the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act 1987, territorial sea, land and airspace of New Zealand became nuclear-free zones...


Fifth Labour Government


After the 1999 election, a coalition government of Labour and the Alliance took power, with Helen Clark as Prime Minister. This government, while undertaking a number of reforms, was not particularly revolutionary 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 Helen Clark for her calling the 2002 election
New Zealand general election, 2002
The 2002 New Zealand general election was held on 27 July 2002 to determine the composition of the 47th New Zealand Parliament. It saw the reelection of Helen Clark's Labour Party government, as well as the worst-ever performance by the opposition National Party.Arguably the most controversial...

 several months early, which Labour comfortably won.

In early 2004, the Labour Party came under attack for its policies on the foreshore and seabed controversy
New Zealand foreshore and seabed controversy
The New Zealand foreshore and seabed controversy is a debate in the politics of New Zealand. It concerns the ownership of the country's foreshore and seabed, with many Māori groups claiming that Māori have a rightful claim to title. These claims are based around historical possession and the Treaty...

. There were significant internal tensions within the party, eventually culminating in the resignation of junior minister Tariana Turia
Tariana Turia
Tariana Turia is a New Zealand politician. She gained considerable prominence during the foreshore and seabed controversy, and eventually broke with her party as a result...

 and her establishment of the new Māori Party
Maori Party
The Māori Party, a political party in New Zealand, was formed on 7 July 2004. The Party is guided by eight constitutional "kaupapa", or Party objectives. Tariana Turia formed the Māori Party after resigning from the Labour Party where she had been a Cabinet Minister in the Fifth Labour-led...

.

Following the 2005 general election
New Zealand general election, 2005
The 2005 New Zealand general election held on 17 September 2005 determined the composition of the 48th New Zealand Parliament. No party won a majority in the unicameral House of Representatives, but the Labour Party of Prime Minister Helen Clark secured two more seats than nearest rival, the...

, Labour formed a coalition with the Progressive party
New Zealand Progressive Party
Jim Anderton's Progressive Party , is a New Zealand political party generally somewhat to the left of its ally, the Labour Party....

 (a faction of the old Alliance), and entered into complex confidence and supply
Confidence and supply
In a parliamentary democracy confidence and supply are required for a government to hold power. A confidence and supply agreement is an agreement that a minor party or independent member of parliament will support the government in motions of confidence and appropriation votes by voting in favour...

 agreements with the centrist United Future party and New Zealand First parties, which gave both parties' leaders a Ministerial portfolio, while remaining outside of Cabinet. A limited support agreement was also made with the Green party
Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand
The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand is a political party that has seats in the New Zealand parliament. It focuses firstly on environmentalism, arguing that all other aspects of humanity will cease to be of concern if there is no environment to sustain it...

, 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 National in the 2008 general election
New Zealand general election, 2008
The 2008 New Zealand general election was held on 8 November 2008 to determine the composition of the 49th New Zealand parliament. The conservative National Party, headed by its Parliamentary leader John Key, won a plurality of votes and seats, ending 9 years of government dominated by the social...

.

Leaders

Helen Clark
Helen Clark
Helen Elizabeth Clark, ONZ is a New Zealand political figure who was the 37th Prime Minister of New Zealand for three consecutive terms from 1999 to 2008...

 is the longest serving leader of the Labour Party, and while some dispute exists as to when Harry Holland
Harry Holland
Henry Edmund Holland was a New Zealand politician and unionist. He was the first leader of the New Zealand Labour Party.-Early life:...

 officially became leader, by 26 October 2008 she had passed his longest possible leadership term.
Following the loss to the National Party
New Zealand National Party
The New Zealand National Party is the largest party in the New Zealand House of Representatives and in November 2008 formed a minority government with support from three minor parties.-Policies:...

 in the November 8, 2008 elections, Helen Clark
Helen Clark
Helen Elizabeth Clark, ONZ is a New Zealand political figure who was the 37th Prime Minister of New Zealand for three consecutive terms from 1999 to 2008...

 stood down as leader of the Labour Party. Phil Goff
Phil Goff
Philip Bruce Goff is the current Leader of the Opposition and the Leader of the New Zealand Labour Party. During the Fifth Labour Government, he served in a number of ministerial portfolios, including Minister of Defence of New Zealand, Minister of Corrections, Minister of Foreign Affairs and...

 is the current leader, and will step down from December 13.

List of leaders

The following is a complete list of Labour Party leaders:
Order Leader Term Leader of the Opposition Prime Minister
1 Harry Holland
Harry Holland
Henry Edmund Holland was a New Zealand politician and unionist. He was the first leader of the New Zealand Labour Party.-Early life:...

 
1919–1933 16 June 1926 – 18 October 1928
8 October 1933–1933
Did not serve as PM
2 Michael Joseph Savage
Michael Joseph Savage
Michael Joseph Savage was the first Labour Prime Minister of New Zealand.- Early life :Born in Tatong, Victoria, Australia, Savage first became involved in politics while working in that state. He emigrated to New Zealand in 1907. There he worked in a variety of jobs, as a miner, flax-cutter and...

 
1933–1940 1933–1935 1935–1940
3 Peter Fraser  1940–1950 1949–1950 1940–1949
4 Walter Nash
Walter Nash
Sir Walter Nash, GCMG, CH served as the 27th Prime Minister of New Zealand in the Second Labour Government from 1957 to 1960, and was also highly influential in his role as Minister of Finance...

 
1950–1963 1950–1957
1960–1963
1957–1960
5 Arnold Nordmeyer
Arnold Nordmeyer
Sir Arnold Henry Nordmeyer, ONZ, KCMG , born Heinrich Arnold Nordmeyer, was a New Zealand politician. He was leader of the Labour Party for three years while it was in Opposition.-Early life:...

 
1963–1965 1963–1965 Did not serve as PM
6 Norman Kirk
Norman Kirk
Norman Eric Kirk was the 29th Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1972 until his sudden death in 1974. He led the Parliamentary wing of the New Zealand Labour Party from 1965 to 1974. He was the fourth Labour Prime Minister of New Zealand, but the first to be born in New Zealand...

 
1965–1974 1965–1972 1972–1974
7 Bill Rowling
Bill Rowling
Sir Wallace Edward Rowling, KCMG , often known as Bill Rowling, was the 30th Prime Minister of New Zealand. He was in office for just over a year, having been appointed Prime Minister following the death of the highly popular Norman Kirk...

 
1974–1983 1975–1983 1974–1975
8 David Lange
David Lange
David Russell Lange, ONZ, CH , served as the 32nd Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1984 to 1989. He headed New Zealand's fourth Labour Government, one of the most reforming administrations in his country's history, but one which did not always conform to traditional expectations of a...

 
1983–1989 1983–1984 1984–1989
9 Geoffrey Palmer  1989–1990 Did not serve as Opposition Leader 1989–1990
10 Mike Moore  1990–1993 1990–1993 1990
11 Helen Clark
Helen Clark
Helen Elizabeth Clark, ONZ is a New Zealand political figure who was the 37th Prime Minister of New Zealand for three consecutive terms from 1999 to 2008...

 
1993–2008 1993–1999 1999–2008
12 Phil Goff
Phil Goff
Philip Bruce Goff is the current Leader of the Opposition and the Leader of the New Zealand Labour Party. During the Fifth Labour Government, he served in a number of ministerial portfolios, including Minister of Defence of New Zealand, Minister of Corrections, Minister of Foreign Affairs and...

 
2008–2011 2008–2011 Did not serve as PM
13 yet to be announced 2011–present Current Has not served as PM

List of presidents

The following is a list of Labour Party presidents:
President Term
Rex Mason
Rex Mason
Henry Greathead Rex Mason was a New Zealand politician. He served as Attorney General, Minister of Justice, Minister of Education, and Minister of Native Affairs, and had a significant influence on the direction of the Labour Party...

 
1931
Frank Langstone
Frank Langstone
Frank Langstone was a New Zealand Member of Parliament, Cabinet Minister and High Commissioner to Canada.-Member of Parliament:...

 
1933–1934
Martyn Finlay
Martyn Finlay
Allan Martyn Finlay was a New Zealand politician of the Labour Party, a lawyer and Q.C.- Member of Parliament :He represented the North Shore electorate from 1946 to 1949, when he was defeated...

 
1958–1964
Norman Kirk
Norman Kirk
Norman Eric Kirk was the 29th Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1972 until his sudden death in 1974. He led the Parliamentary wing of the New Zealand Labour Party from 1965 to 1974. He was the fourth Labour Prime Minister of New Zealand, but the first to be born in New Zealand...

 
1964–1969
Bill Rowling
Bill Rowling
Sir Wallace Edward Rowling, KCMG , often known as Bill Rowling, was the 30th Prime Minister of New Zealand. He was in office for just over a year, having been appointed Prime Minister following the death of the highly popular Norman Kirk...

 
1969–1972
Arthur Faulkner
Arthur Faulkner
Arthur James Faulkner was a New Zealand politician of the Labour Party.-Member of Parliament:He stood unsuccessfully for the Franklin electorate in 1951 and the North Shore electorate in 1954...

 
1976–1978
Jim Anderton
Jim Anderton
James Patrick Anderton, usually known as Jim Anderton , is the leader of the Progressive Party, a New Zealand political party. He has served in Parliament since 1984. He served as Deputy Prime Minister from 1999 to 2002 and is currently also the sitting Father of the House, the longest...

 
1979–1984
Margaret Wilson
Margaret Wilson
Dame Margaret Wilson DCNZM is a New Zealand academic and former politician. She was Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives during the Fifth Labour Government of New Zealand. She is a member of the Labour Party.-Early life:...

 
1984–1987
Ruth Dyson
Ruth Dyson
Ruth Suzanne Dyson is a New Zealand politician. She is a member of the Labour Party and has been a Member of Parliament since 1993.-Early years:...

 
1988–1993
Maryan Street
Maryan Street
Maryan Street is a Member of the New Zealand Parliament for the New Zealand Labour Party. In the 2005 elections, she became the first openly lesbian woman elected to the New Zealand Parliament.-Early years:...

 
1993–1995
Michael Hirschfeld
Michael Hirschfeld
Michael Avigdor Hirschfeld was a Wellington, New Zealand multi-millionaire businessman, and was President of the New Zealand Labour Party from 1995 to 1999....

 
1995–1999
Bob Harvey
Bob Harvey (mayor)
Robert "Bob" Harvey QSO is the mayor of Waitakere City, one of the four cities which make up the Auckland urban area in New Zealand...

 
1999–2000
Mike Williams
Mike Williams (New Zealand)
Mike Williams is a former President of the New Zealand Labour Party.Williams has been an information technology consultant and was a director of Genesis Power, the New Zealand Transport Agency, and GNS Science.He is currently Chief Executive of the anti-P Stellar Trust, a charity which campaigns...

 
2000–2009
Andrew Little  2009–2011
Moira Coatsworth
Moira Coatsworth
Moira Coatsworth is the current President of the New Zealand Labour Party succeeding former President Andrew Little on 2 April 2011. Before being elected President she was Senior Vice President of the Labour Party.-References:...

 
2011–current

See also

  • City Vision (Auckland, New Zealand political ticket)
    City Vision (Auckland, New Zealand political ticket)
    City Vision is a coalition of three left-wing political parties and independent political identities who contest Auckland Council elections every triennium...

     Prominent Auckland City political ticket composed of NZ Labour, Green Party and Alliance members.
  • Governments of New Zealand
    Governments of New Zealand
    The Government of New Zealand , formally Her Majesty's Government in New Zealand, is based on the Westminster system of responsible government...

  • List of New Zealand Labour Party MPs
  • Labour Party's Caucus and Labour MPs' responsibilities
  • Political parties in New Zealand
    Political parties in New Zealand
    New Zealand national politics feature a pervasive party system. Usually, all members of Parliament's unicameral House of Representatives belong to a political party. Independent MPs occur relatively rarely...

  • Princes Street Labour
    Princes Street Labour
    Princes Street Labour is a branch of the New Zealand Labour Party in Auckland.It is part of the Auckland Central Labour Electorate Committee. It is a "special branch" under the Labour Party constitution which means that members may live outside the boundaries of Auckland Central electorate and do...

  • Young Labour (New Zealand)
    Young Labour (New Zealand)
    Young Labour is an official sector of the New Zealand Labour Party. All New Zealand Labour Party members aged 15 to 25 are members of Young Labour.-Description:...


External links

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