Continuous Ministry (New Zealand)

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The Continuous Ministry was the government of New Zealand from 1876 to 1890 (or 1887), except for 1877–79 and 1884–87.



Sir Harry Atkinson was the leading figure, although Sir John Hall and Sir Frederick Whitaker also served as Premiers, and William Rolleston was also part of the ministry. The term derives from William Pember Reeves, who as a Liberal politician emphasised the oligarchical and conservative tendencies of the ministry members, and downplayed as reformers from above Atkinson and Rolleston, even though they advocated some reforms similar to those of the Liberals of the 1890s. [1] A later historian, Keith Sinclair, detached the Scarecrow Ministry of 1887–90 as a new government rather than a continuation of the Continuous Ministry, although this ministry was formed by Atkinson. [2] As formal political parties did not exist at this time, ministries had to be formed by negotiation with individual members, and were liable to be defeated.

Harry Atkinson Prime Minister of New Zealand

Sir Harry Albert Atkinson served as the tenth Premier of New Zealand on four separate occasions in the late 19th century, and was Colonial Treasurer for a total of ten years. He was responsible for guiding the country during a time of economic depression, and was known as a cautious and prudent manager of government finances, though distrusted for some radical policies such as his 1882 National Insurance (welfare) scheme and leasehold land schemes. He also participated in the formation of voluntary military units to fight in the New Zealand Wars, and was noted for his strong belief in the need for seizure of Māori land.

Frederick Whitaker Prime Minister of New Zealand

Sir Frederick Whitaker was an English-born New Zealand politician who served twice as the Prime Minister of New Zealand and six times as Attorney-General.

William Rolleston New Zealand politician

William Rolleston was a New Zealand politician, public administrator, educationalist and Canterbury provincial superintendent.

The ministries of the Continuous Ministry were:

Whitaker Ministry, 1882–1883

The Whitaker Ministry was formed in 1882 as the government of New Zealand. It was led by Frederick Whitaker and lasted for 17 months, from 21 April 1882 to 25 September 1883. The Whitaker Ministry succeeded the Hall Ministry upon John Hall's resignation due to ill health.

The two (or three) ministries in the period that were not part of the Continuous Ministry were:

Grey Ministry, 1877–1879

The Grey Ministry was a responsible government that was formed in New Zealand. It formed in October 1877 and governed for two years until October 1879. From the outset, Sir George Grey served as Prime Minister.

See also


  1. Sinclair 1988, p. 169.
  2. Hamer, David (1988). The New Zealand Liberals: The Years of Power, 1891–1912 (1 ed.). Auckland: Auckland University Press. p. 15. ISBN   1-86940-014-3.

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