Dan Sullivan (New Zealand politician)

Last updated

Dan Sullivan
Daniel Giles Sullivan (1941).jpg
Dan Sullivan in 1941
13th Minister of Railways
In office
26 November 1935 12 December 1941
Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage
Peter Fraser
Preceded by George Forbes
Succeeded by Bob Semple
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Avon
In office
17 December 1919  8 April 1947
Preceded by George Warren Russell
Succeeded by John Mathison
35th Mayor of Christchurch
In office
Preceded by Rev. John Archer
Succeeded by John Beanland
Personal details
Born18 July 1882
Died8 April 1947(1947-04-08) (aged 64)
Lewisham Hospital, Wellington
NationalityNew Zealand
Political party Labour
Signature Dan Sullivan Signature.jpg

Daniel Giles Sullivan (18 July 1882 – 8 April 1947) was a New Zealand Member of Parliament, Cabinet Minister and Mayor of Christchurch.


Early years

Born in Christchurch in 1882, Sullivan was President/Secretary of the Canterbury French Polishers Union and National Federation of Furniture Trades Unions.

He was a councillor of the Christchurch City Council between 1915–1923 and 1925–1931, and Mayor of Christchurch 1931–1936. When Labour won the 1935 general election and Sullivan took on the heavy workload of a cabinet minister, he reluctantly resigned from the mayoralty in February 1936. [1] [2] [3] He was succeeded as mayor by John Beanland of the Citizens' Association. [4]

Member of Parliament

New Zealand Parliament
1919 1922 20th Avon Labour
1922 1925 21st Avon Labour
1925 1928 22nd Avon Labour
1928 1931 23rd Avon Labour
1931 1935 24th Avon Labour
1935 1938 25th Avon Labour
1938 1943 26th Avon Labour
1943 1946 27th Avon Labour
1946 1947 28th Avon Labour

Sullivan first stood for Parliament in the 1908 election as a candidate for the Independent Political Labour League in the Avon electorate; he came fourth out of five candidates in the first ballot. [5] The 1908 election was won by George Warren Russell, who would later become a cabinet minister, and was in 1912 considered a possible successor of Joseph Ward as leader of the Liberal Party. [6] In the 1914 election, Sullivan came second out of three candidates in the same electorate, this time standing for the Social Democratic Party, the successor of the IPLL. [7] [8]

In the 1919 election, Russell suffered a crushing defeat by Sullivan. As Minister of Public Health, Russell was held responsible by large parts of the population for New Zealand's unpreparedness for the 1918 flu epidemic. [6] Compared to the 1914 election, Sullivan's share of the vote increased by more than 27 percentage points. [7] [9] He represented the Avon electorate in the House of Representatives for 28 years from 1919 to 1947. [10] During the 1920s Sullivan and Jimmy McCombs led the opposition to Harry Holland within the Parliamentary Labour Party caucus. [1]

Sullivan was a significant Cabinet Minister in the First Labour Government of New Zealand: the Minister of Industries and Commerce between 1935–47, Minister of Railways from 1935 to 1941 and the high-profile wartime Minister of Supply and Munitions. He was also Acting Prime Minister from April to July 1944.

In 1935, Sullivan was awarded the King George V Silver Jubilee Medal. [11]

Death and commemoration

Sullivan died on 8 April 1947. [1] Sullivan Avenue in the Christchurch suburb of Woolston was named in Sullivan's honour in 1929. [12] Sullivan Park in Avonside was named for him in 1948. [13]


  1. 1 2 3 Watson, James. "Sullivan, Daniel Giles". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography . Ministry for Culture and Heritage . Retrieved 22 February 2011.
  2. "By-Elections for Council". The Press . LXXI (21647). 4 December 1935. p. 10. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  3. "Resignation in February". The Press . LXXII (21680). 14 January 1936. p. 8. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  4. "The By-Election". The Press . LXXII (21730). 12 March 1936. p. 12. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  5. AtoJs 1908 election 1909, p. 32.
  6. 1 2 Rice, Geoffrey W. "Russell, George Warren". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography . Ministry for Culture and Heritage . Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  7. 1 2 Hislop, J. (1915). The General Election, 1914. National Library. p. 21. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  8. "The Avon Seat". The Star (11215). 22 October 1914. p. 8. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  9. Hislop, J. (1921). The General Election, 1919. National Library. p. 4. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  10. Wilson 1985, p. 237.
  11. "Official jubilee medals". Evening Post . CXIX (105). 6 May 1935. p. 4. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  12. Harper, Margaret. "Christchurch Street Names S" (PDF). Christchurch City Libraries. p. 135. Retrieved 21 March 2010.
  13. Harper, Margaret (18 December 2013). "Christchurch Place Names N-Z" (PDF). Christchurch City Libraries. p. 92. Retrieved 16 February 2014.

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New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
George Warren Russell
Member of Parliament for Avon
Succeeded by
John Mathison
Political offices
Preceded by
John Archer
Mayor of Christchurch
Succeeded by
John Beanland
Preceded by
Robert Masters
Minister of Industries and Commerce
Succeeded by
Arnold Nordmeyer
Preceded by
George Forbes
Minister of Railways
Succeeded by
Bob Semple
Party political offices
Preceded by
James McCombs
Senior Whip of the Labour Party
Succeeded by
Bill Jordan