Sidney Holland
Sir Sidney George Holland, GCMG
Order of St Michael and St George
The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George is an order of chivalry founded on 28 April 1818 by George, Prince Regent, later George IV of the United Kingdom, while he was acting as Prince Regent for his father, George III....

, CH
Order of the Companions of Honour
The Order of the Companions of Honour is an order of the Commonwealth realms. It was founded by King George V in June 1917, as a reward for outstanding achievements in the arts, literature, music, science, politics, industry or religion....

 (18 October 1893 – 5 August 1961) was the 25th Prime Minister of New Zealand
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...

 from 13 December 1949 to 20 September 1957.

Early life

Holland was born in Greendale
Greendale, New Zealand
Greendale is a lightly populated rural area, part of the Selwyn District, Canterbury, a region of New Zealand's South Island.It is notable as the birthplace of former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Sidney Holland....

 in the Canterbury
Canterbury, New Zealand
The New Zealand region of Canterbury is mainly composed of the Canterbury Plains and the surrounding mountains. Its main city, Christchurch, hosts the main office of the Christchurch City Council, the Canterbury Regional Council - called Environment Canterbury - and the University of Canterbury.-...

 region of the South Island
South Island
The South Island is the larger of the two major islands of New Zealand, the other being the more populous North Island. It is bordered to the north by Cook Strait, to the west by the Tasman Sea, to the south and east by the Pacific Ocean...

, one of eight children. His father was a farmer and merchant, and was elected mayor of Christchurch
Mayor of Christchurch
The Mayor of Christchurch is the head of the municipal government of Christchurch, New Zealand, and presides over the Christchurch City Council. The mayor is directly elected using a First Past the Post electoral system...

 in 1912. Holland was a prominent sportsman and sports administrator, representing Canterbury at provincial and inter-island level in hockey. After retiring from playing, he managed the New Zealand representative hockey team on an unbeaten tour of Australia in the 1932 and was a prominent hockey referee. In business, he worked for the successful family engineering company in Christchurch.

Member of Parliament

He came from a politically prominent family and his father, Henry Holland
Henry Holland (mayor)
Henry Holland, CBE was a New Zealand politician of the Reform Party, and Mayor of Christchurch from 1912 to 1919.-Member of Parliament:...

 served as Mayor of Christchurch
Mayor of Christchurch
The Mayor of Christchurch is the head of the municipal government of Christchurch, New Zealand, and presides over the Christchurch City Council. The mayor is directly elected using a First Past the Post electoral system...

 from 1912 to 1919. Sidney was elected to Parliament in 1935
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...

 after replacing his father in elections for his seat, due to Henry's ill health. In 1940 he became leader of the National Party and served as 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...

 for nearly ten years, until the National Party won the 1949 elections.

He represented the Christchurch North
Christchurch North (New Zealand electorate)
Christchurch North is a former New Zealand Parliamentary electorate.The electorate was in the northern suburbs of Christchurch, New Zealand.-History:The electorate existed three times:*1881 to 1890;*1905 to 1946;...

 electorate from 1935 to 1946, and then the Fendalton
Fendalton (New Zealand electorate)
Fendalton is a former New Zealand Parliamentary electorate. It existed during two periods between 1946 and 1996. The electorate was in the western suburbs of Christchurch, New Zealand...

 electorate from 1946 to 1957.

Prime minister

His First National Government
First National Government of New Zealand
The First National Government of New Zealand was the government of New Zealand from 1949 to 1957. It was a conservative government best remembered for its role in the 1951 waterfront dispute. It also began the repositioning of New Zealand in the cold war environment...

 implemented economic reforms, dismantling many state controls. In 1951, the National
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:...

 government signed the ANZUS
The Australia, New Zealand, United States Security Treaty is the military alliance which binds Australia and New Zealand and, separately, Australia and the United States to cooperate on defence matters in the Pacific Ocean area, though today the treaty is understood to relate to attacks...

  defence agreement with Australia and the United States. The government also undertook constitutional change in 1950, by abolishing the Legislative Council
New Zealand Legislative Council
The Legislative Council of New Zealand was the upper house of the New Zealand Parliament from 1853 until 1951. Unlike the lower house, the New Zealand House of Representatives, the Legislative Council was appointed.-Role:...

, the upper house
Upper house
An upper house, often called a senate, is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the lower house; a legislature composed of only one house is described as unicameral.- Possible specific characteristics :...

 of Parliament, on the grounds that it was ineffectual. Subsequently New Zealand has had a unicameral parliament.

In 1951, Holland caused controversy by confronting locked-out dockers
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...

 and coal miners intent on what he called "industrial anarchy". He ordered the army to unload cargo from key ports and called a snap election
New Zealand general election, 1951
The 1951 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of the New Zealand Parliament's 30th term. It saw the governing National Party remain in office, increasing its lead over the opposition Labour Party.-Background:...

, on the basis of this decision. Under his leadership the government implemented Emergency Regulations which drastically curtailed civic liberties, including the freedom of speech and expression. The Regulations were designed to silence and criminalise any support for the watersiders, including food supplies for their families and publications which publicised watersiders concerns and persepctives. The National Party was re-elected with an increased majority, with the backing of a largely conservative Press and the State control of radio broadcasting.

Resignation and later life

Following a period of ill health, Holland stepped down as Prime Minister in September 1957 and was replaced by Keith Holyoake
Keith Holyoake
Sir Keith Jacka Holyoake, KG, GCMG, CH, QSO, KStJ was a New Zealand politician. The only person to have been both Prime Minister and Governor-General of New Zealand, Holyoake was National Party Prime Minister from 20 September 1957 to 12 December 1957, then again from 12 December 1960 to 7...


Holland was knight
A knight was a member of a class of lower nobility in the High Middle Ages.By the Late Middle Ages, the rank had become associated with the ideals of chivalry, a code of conduct for the perfect courtly Christian warrior....

ed after stepping down as Prime Minister and retired at the November 1957 general election. He died in Wellington Hospital after suffering further ill health in 1961.

His son Eric Holland
Eric Holland (politician)
Eric Sidney Fostyn Holland is a New Zealand politician who served as cabinet minister and was an elected member of the Parliament of New Zealand from 1967 to 1981....

became a National MP for Fendalton and Riccarton (1967–81) and a cabinet minister (1975–78).

Significance of Holland's legacy

Holland was one of New Zealand’s most significant politicians. It was due not only because of his 22 years as an MP, of which 17 was as party leader, and almost eight as Prime Minister, or because of the achievements of his government between 1949 and 1957. His major contribution was undoubtedly the role he played in the creation and consolidation of the National Party, which was to dominate New Zealand politics for much of the latter half of the twentieth century.
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