New Zealand Labor Party

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New Zealand Labor Party
Jacinda Ardern - cropped.jpg
Party leader Jacinda Ardern

Nigel Haworth
Secretary General Andrew Kirton
vice-chairman Kelvin Davis
Emergence The United Labor Party merges with the Social Democratic Party
founding July 7, 1916
Place of foundation Wellington
Headquarters Fraser House
160-162 Willis St
Youth organization Young Labor
Alignment Social democracy
Colours) red
House of Representatives
Number of members 56,741 (2010)
International connections Progressive Alliance

The New Zealand Labor Party (NZLP), mostly in the short forms Labor Party or even Labor called, is one of the two largest parties in New Zealand . According to its party statutes , it follows democratic socialist principles and is an observer of the Socialist International .


The Labor Party started as a party of change, the mouthpiece of the working class who believed that a just future was possible. Many of those who were there at the beginning only wanted to improve their social situation , to have enough food, clothing, reasonable accommodation, work on reasonable terms and a regular income, security in the event of illness and in old age, and hope for a better one for their children Future.


The first socialist groups in New Zealand formed in the late 1890s. Fabian Societies in Dunedin and Christchurch , a Socialist Church and a so-called Clarion Club also in Christchurch and later a Socialist League in Wellington . These organizations were formed to inform, educate and promote political awareness for their members and the public through lectures, public events and publications . The first left-wing party to emerge from this was the New Zealand Socialist Party , which was founded in 1901.

Spurred on by the success of the Labor Party in Australia in 1901, the Independent Political Labor League was formed in April 1904 , a union of moderate trade unionists for whom the call for revolution by the socialists went too far and who believed more in the possibilities for change within the existing political system .

After the Blackball miners' strike of 1908, the New Zealand Federation of Miners was founded in August of the same year, led by militant socialists, but renamed the New Zealand Federation of Labor a year later in 1909 . Robert Semple , often just called Bob , was its spokesman and president. The New Zealand Federation of Labor can certainly be called the predecessor of the Labor Party , as the first prime ministers and some members of the Labor governments, such as Michael Joseph Savage , Peter Fraser , Harry Holland , Ted Howard and Paddy Webb , came out of the camp the Federation of Labor . The federation received a large number of visitors from various union camps in the few years, and the Maoriland Worker , a weekly publication, had a circulation of 10,000 copies in 1913.

In parallel, the Independent Political Labor League and its name reformed in 1910 in the New Zealand Labor Party to appear as the United Labor Party after further reform in 1912 . Now there were two inconsistent camps, the "moderates" and the "militants".

In January 1913 the Federation of Labor invited all representatives of the trade unions, the socialists, the United Labor Party and the Industrial Workers of the World to a Labor Unity Congress on July 1, 1913 in Wellington , which resulted in a then the United Federation of Labor and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) formed. The success was not lacking. In the parliamentary election the following year, the Social Democratic Party received two seats and the United Federation of Labor three seats.

Party formation

As the first secretary of the Social Democratic Party , Peter Fraser invited all representatives of the United Federation of Labor , the Labor Representation Committees and all the left groups represented in parliament to a conference on July 7, 1916 in Wellington on behalf of his party .

The Social Democratic Party was in financial difficulties, with William Massey and his Conservative Reform Party in office for four years, and the divided left with only 6 seats, against 33 of the Liberals and 41 of the Conservatives, far behind being able to exercise political influence at parliamentary level. In addition, Massey had introduced a bill in May that year to allow New Zealand to enter the First World War in support of Great Britain . The left was divided into supporters and absolute opponents of the war, who saw in it a conflict between two imperialist systems and who hoped for a collapse of the systems.

Under the leadership of John Thomas Paul , a moderate member of the United Labor Party , and with the name New Zealand Labor Party as a concession to the moderate wing, the new party was finally established. Its first president was J. McCombs , who had sat in parliament for the Social Democratic Party since 1914.

But with a founding platform, which was developed by 11 of the 13 members from the Social Democratic Party , the Social Democratic Party had actually only transformed into the New Zealand Labor Party when the party was founded .

In the first parliamentary election, which Labor had to pass in 1919, the party reached 8 seats, but did not get more than 24 seats until 1931. But the consequences of the Great Depression also had a lasting impact on New Zealand and the questions about adequate answers to the social effects of the economic crisis were obviously better answered by Labor . In addition, the Labor Party had earned the respect it deserved since it was founded and the fears of Labor , which the right had repeatedly fomented over the years, no longer worked.

1. Labor Government (1935-1949)

In the parliamentary elections on November 27, 1935, Labor finally won a landslide victory that they did not expect themselves, with 46.1% of the vote and 53 seats in the House of Representatives . The new government under Michael Joseph Savage took office on December 6, 1935 and showed that it could handle money and that despite the nationalization of the Reserve Bank in 1936, a financial disaster did not break out.

Unemployment fell from 57,000 in 1935 to 14,000 in 1938, health care became affordable for everyone, and the state took on the responsibility of providing inexpensive homes for the needy. A comprehensive social welfare system was set up to support the elderly, the sick and people without work. In addition, Labor ratified the 40-hour-week convention of the International Labor Organization (IOL) on March 29, 1938 and introduced it in the same year.

The reign of Peter Fraser , on the other hand, was dominated by the Second World War , in which Labor tried to ensure that the burden of war was shared equally. The question of whether or not New Zealand should take part in the war no longer arose for Labor .

Despite the fact that Labor had a comfortable majority in parliament in its first term in office, it worked with the initially two, later three elected representatives of the Ratana movement, a political and religious Māori group, and formed a partnership.

2. Labor Government (1957-1960)

The second phase of Labor government was very short. Led by Walter Nash as Prime Minister, the government only lasted from December 1957 to December 1960. The June 1958 tax increases , especially on tobacco, alcohol, gasoline and automobiles, made the government extremely unpopular. Labor supporters in particular refused to support the party because raising taxes on beer and cigarettes was an affront to workers as traditional voters. The crisis, caused by weaker exports to Great Britain and declining revenues , was not answered by Arnold Nordmeyer , the then finance minister , with austerity measures and so the term " Black Budget " was just used by a union leader, by Fintan Patrick Walsh , and later adopted by the New Zealand National Party in their anti- Labor campaign . Although Nordmeyer could never shed this stigma , he was elected party leader in 1963, but only lasted for three years.

3. Labor Government (1972-1975)

The third phase of Labor government from 1972 to 1975 was heralded by Norman Kirk , who was replaced by Bill Rowling after his death in August 1974 . The entire reign was characterized by the fact that it helped the Treaty of Waitangi to be more respectful and with the New Zealand Day Act 1973 (law) first introduced Waitangi Day as a national holiday. The Labor government also ensured that the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975 set up a Waitangi Tribunal to investigate violations of the Treaty of Waitangi . This created an instrument that could give the government recommendations to rectify an injustice committed by law.

Furthermore, abolished the government's general conscription from, spoke out against France against nuclear testing in the Pacific from under ribbon sporting contacts with apartheid regime of South Africa and made with the Royal Titles Act 1974 Elizabeth II. To the Queen of New Zealand , which she was anyway, but previously listed as Queen of the United Kingdom in the title of New Zealand.

In the 1975 election, Bill Rowling , who lacked charisma , failed to prevail over the National Party candidate , Robert Muldoon . Labor lost 39.6% and only 32 seats, versus National with 55 seats.

4. Labor Government (1984–1990)

Labor's fourth phase began in July 1984 with a financial crisis left by the National Party- led government. The value of the New Zealand dollar was fixed, the treasury was over-indebted and the interest burden was extremely high.

The government led by David Lange tried to get the financial problems under control with market-liberal approaches. In the same year as the government took over, Finance Minister Roger Douglas was able to take a few quick deregulation decisions without great resistance in order to solve problems quickly. Among other things, the government gave up control of the exchange rate of the dollar and left it to the financial markets , introduced the GST (comparable to VAT), cut subsidies for agriculture and taxes for companies, privatized state property and state companies and what for the citizens of the country weighed the heaviest, they reduced their incomes.

Two years after taking power at a party conference in 1986, the government received the receipt from its members. The party's dissatisfaction with the government's economic policy was great and its policies were deprecated. Finance minister Roger Douglas in particular was in the crossfire of criticism and his economic and financial policy was given a catchy name, Rogernomics , based on Reaganomics , which stood for a similar liberal market policy under Ronald Reagan .

Lange dismissed Douglas and a short time later resigned himself from office due to internal party conflicts. He was succeeded by Geoffrey Palmer , who was always associated with the unpleasant reforms of the government under Lange, as he himself was part of the government at the time. Two months before the 1990 election, Palmer resigned and was replaced by the new Prime Minister, Mike Moore . The next government was again provided by the National Party .

Despite the conflicts over the economic policy direction of Labor , the fourth phase of Labor was thoroughly successful. For example, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand improved the control of public finances with the Reserve Bank Act 1989, independent of government action, with the Public Finance Act 1989 , and with the Māori Language Act 1987 the Te Reo Māori language became the second official language in New Zealand, legalized homosexual relationships with the Homosexual Law Reform Act 1986 ; and with the Immigration Act 1986, liberalized and simplified immigration law for trained professionals.

5. Labor Government (1999-2008)

Labor's strategy for the 1999 election was to appear as a possible senior partner in a center-left government, the most likely of all possible constellations. This strategy alone promised a 10% increase. When the party won the election on November 27, 1999 with 38.7% of the vote and 49 seats in parliament, 10 seats more than the government National Party , it was clear that the strategy had worked. Also, it was Labor , led by Helen Clark removed to the market Liberal policies of the fourth Labor would not repeat reign.

Helen Clark started a minority government in coalition with the Alliance and supported by the Green Party , followed by a coalition with the Progressive Party and support from the Green Party and United Future in 2002.

The legislative period from 2005 to 2008 then became the most difficult for the party. Securing parliamentary majorities was only possible through the coalition with the Progressive Party and with the support of two right-wing parties, United Future and New Zealand First . The latter was awarded to the Foreign Office, which was taken over by the party leader of New Zealand First , Winston Peters , and became Foreign Minister, albeit without a member of the cabinet . The Green Party guaranteed the Labor government majorities by abstaining, but did not want to participate or support a government with the political right . The Māori Party followed suit.

In Helen Clark's tenure was a steady economic recovery with the lowest unemployment , the New Zealand had, but at the end of their term, the tide turned. In addition, shortly before the 2008 election, there was the party donation affair involving Winston Peters and his party, in which he became more and more entangled and Clark did not dismiss him for fear of their majorities. On August 29, 2008, Peters finally resigned himself and Helen Clark took over the State Department until the election. Helen Clark lost the election on November 8, 2008 with a gap of 15 seats to the National Party , which with 56 seats and 44.93% was the strongest parliamentary group and was able to form the government under John Key .

Labor in the opposition from 2008 to October 2017

Since the lost election in 2008 and the resignation of Helen Clark , the party has tried to find a new profile. In November 2008, Phil Goff was appointed as the new party leader and Annette King as his deputy. The following year, on March 2, 2009, Andrew Little changed the presidency of the party.

For the 2011 parliamentary elections, the party tried to score points with the voters from the beginning of 2010 with an “ AX THE TAX ” campaign aimed at preventing GST , the New Zealand VAT. But with 27.48% of the vote and only 22 direct mandates, it was only enough for 34 of 121 parliamentary seats. In the 2014 parliamentary elections, the party was able to win five more direct seats, but with a share of 25.13% of the vote, it only achieved 32 seats, a little more than half of the ruling party of the National Party . After Andrew Little resigned as party leader at the end of July 2017, Jacinda Ardern took over the chairmanship of the party with effect from August 1, 2017.

6. Labor Government (2017–)

In the general election in New Zealand in 2017 which reached Labor Party 36.9%, and in October 2017 she was able to successful coalition negotiations with the party New Zealand First of Winston Peters and by tolerating by the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand , led by Jacinda Ardern a Form a new government and replaced the New Zealand National Party in government responsibility after years .

Party principles according to the statutes

The New Zealand Labor Party accepts the following democratic socialist principles:

  • All political authority comes from the people, with democratic means, such as universal suffrage, regular and free elections in secret ballot.
  • All of New Zealand's natural resources belong to all citizens and the resources, especially non-renewable resources, should be managed for the benefit of all, including future generations.
  • All citizens should have equal access to all social, economic, cultural, political and legal areas, regardless of wealth or social position and continuous participation in the democratic processes.
  • Cooperation rather than competition should be the determining factor in economic relations, so that greater profit and a fair distribution of goods can be ensured.
  • All people have the right to dignity, self-respect and the opportunity to work.
  • All people, either individually or in groups, are allowed to own wealth or property for their own use, but in the event of any conflict of interest, people are always more important than property and the state must ensure a fair distribution of goods.
  • The Waitangi Treaty is the founding document of New Zealand and this treaty is intended to be honored in government, society and the family.
  • Peace and social justice should be promoted around the world through international cooperation and mutual respect.
  • Equal basic human rights, protected by the state, valid for all people, regardless of race, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, religious belief, political conviction or disability. Translation from the English original from May 2007.

Previous party leaders

Serial Party leader Period Labor government prime minister
Alfred Humphrey Hindmarsh
Henry Edmund Holland
Michael Joseph Savage
1. Government
phase 1935–1940
Michael Joseph Savage
Peter Fraser
1st government
phase 1940–1949
Peter Fraser
Walter Nash
2nd government
phase 1957–1960
Walter Nash
Arnold Nordmeyer
Norman Kirk
3rd government
phase 1972–1974
Norman Kirk
Bill Rowling
3rd government
phase 1974–1975
Bill Rowling
David Lange
4. Government
phase 1984–1989
David Lange
Geoffrey Palmer
4th government
phase 1989–1990
Mike Moore
4th government
phase in 1990
Mike Moore
Helen Clark
5. Government
phase 1999–2008
Helen Clark
Phil Goff
David Shearer
David Cunliffe
Andrew Little
Jacinda Ardern
since August 1, 2017
6. Government
phase 2017-
Jacinda Ardern

See also


  • Bruce Brown : The Rise of New Zealand Labor . A History of the New Zealand Labor Party from 1916 to 1940 . Price Milburne and Co. Ltd. , Wellington 1962 (English).
  • Bruce Macdonald Brown : Political Parties - Labor Party . In: Alexander Hare McLintock (Ed.): An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand . Wellington 1966 ( online [accessed December 28, 2015]).
  • Margaret Clark : The Labor Party after 75 Years . Department of Politics, Victoria University , Wellington 1992, ISBN 0-475-11203-2 (English).
  • Raymond Miller : Party politics in New Zealand . Oxford University Press , Melbourne 2005, ISBN 0-19-558413-9 (English).

Web links

Commons : New Zealand Labor Party  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
  • Homepage . New Zealand Labor Party,accessed December 28, 2015.

Individual evidence

  1. a b c New Zealand's Labor Party pulls the emergency brake. Deutsche Welle, August 1, 2017, accessed August 1, 2017 .
  2. ^ A b New Zealand Labor Party (Ed.): Constitution and Rules . Wellington May 2007, p.  1 (English).
  3. ^ Member Parties of the Socialist International . Socialist International , accessed March 14, 2010 .
  4. ^ Herbert Otto Roth : Political Parties - Socialist (NZ) Party . In: Alexander Hare McLintock (Ed.): An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand . Wellington 1966 ( online [accessed December 28, 2015]).
  5. ^ Herbert Otto Roth : Political Parties - Independent Political Labor League . In: Alexander Hare McLintock (Ed.): An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand . Wellington 1966 ( online [accessed December 28, 2015]).
  6. ^ Herbert Otto Roth : Political Parties - "Red" Federation of Labor . In: Alexander Hare McLintock (Ed.): An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand . Wellington 1966 ( online [accessed December 28, 2015]).
  7. ^ Bernard John Foster : Political Parties - Social Democratic Party . In: Alexander Hare McLintock (Ed.): An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand . Wellington 1966 ( online [accessed December 28, 2015]).
  8. ^ Miller : Party politics in New Zealand . 2005, p.  30 .
  9. a b c d General elections 1890-1993 - seats won by party . Elections Electoral Commission , September 9, 2013, accessed December 28, 2015 .
  10. Bruce Macdonald Brown : Political Parties - Labor Party . In: Alexander Hare McLintock (Ed.): An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand . Wellington 1966 ( online [accessed December 28, 2015]).
  11. ^ Brown : The Rise of New Zealand Labor . 1962, p.  184 .
  12. ^ Forty-Hour Week Convention, 1935 (No. 47) . Department of Labor , archived from the original on May 22, 2010 ; accessed on May 5, 2019 (English, original website no longer available).
  13. About Labor . New Zealand Labor , archived from the original on January 3, 2010 ; accessed on August 30, 2014 (English, original website no longer available).
  14. Bruce Brown : Nordmeyer, Arnold Henry . In: Dictionary of New Zealand Biography . Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand , December 10, 2013, accessed December 28, 2015 .
  15. ^ Colin James : The Rise and Fall of the Market Liberals in the Labor Party . In: The Labor Party after 75 Years . Victoria University Press , Wellington 1992, pp.  11-27 .
  16. Mike Williams : Labor Party Strategy in 1999 . In: Left Turn - The New Zealand General Election of 1999 . Victoria University Press , Wellington 2000, ISBN 0-86473-404-2 , pp.  23-35 .
  17. ^ New Zealand foreign minister quits over fraud inquiry . Thaindian News , August 29, 2008, accessed March 16, 2010 .
  18. News & Media - The Chief Electoral Officer has declared the official results for the 2008 General Election . Elections Electoral Commission , November 22, 2008, accessed December 28, 2015 .
  19. ^ Labor Party to name Goff and King as new leaders . New Zealand Herald , accessed March 15, 2010 .
  20. ^ Andrew Little elected Labor Party president . New Zealand Herald , accessed March 15, 2010 .
  21. ^ Ax the Tax . New Zealand Labor , archived from the original on June 5, 2010 ; accessed on August 30, 2014 (English, original website no longer available).
  22. 2011 General Election official results . Electoral Commissions , February 4, 2013, accessed May 29, 2016 .
  23. 2014 General Election Official Results . Electoral Commissions , October 10, 2014, accessed May 29, 2016 .