|22nd Prime Minister of New Zealand|
28 May 1930 –6 December 1935
|Governor-General|| Charles Bathurst |
|Preceded by||Joseph Ward|
|Succeeded by||Michael Joseph Savage|
|9th Leader of the Opposition|
13 August 1925 –4 November 1925
|Preceded by||Thomas Wilford|
|Succeeded by||Harry Holland|
6 December 1935 –2 November 1936
|Preceded by||Michael Joseph Savage|
|Succeeded by||Adam Hamilton|
George William Forbes
12 March 1869
Lyttelton, New Zealand
|Died||17 May 1947 78) (aged|
Cheviot, New Zealand
|Political party|| Liberal (1908–1928)|
Emma Serena Gee
(m. 1898;his death 1947)
George William Forbes PC ( // ; 12 March 1869 – 17 May 1947) was a New Zealand politician who served as the 22nd Prime Minister of New Zealand from 28 May 1930 to 6 December 1935.
Forbes was born in Lyttelton and later began farming near Christchurch. He became active in local politics. Forbes first entered the House of Representatives in 1908 as a member of the Liberal Party, and when that party declined he became the leader of the newly created United Party in 1928. His rise to power as Prime Minister was unexpected, and some believed him unsuited to the post; it was his misfortune to hold office during the very worst period of the Great Depression. He nevertheless remained in power for five years. Forbes headed the United–Reform coalition Government that eventually became the modern National Party.
Lyttelton is a port town on the north shore of Lyttelton Harbour, at the northwestern end of Banks Peninsula and close to Christchurch, on the eastern coast of the South Island of New Zealand.
Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand and the seat of the Canterbury Region. The Christchurch urban area lies on the South Island's east coast, just north of Banks Peninsula. It is home to 404,500 residents, making it New Zealand's third-most populous city behind Auckland and Wellington. The Avon River flows through the centre of the city, with an urban park located along its banks.
The New Zealand Liberal Party was the first organised political party in New Zealand. It governed from 1891 until 1912. The Liberal strategy was to create a large class of small land-owning farmers who supported Liberal ideals, by buying large tracts of Māori land and selling it to small farmers on credit. The Liberal Government also established the basis of the later welfare state, with old age pensions, developed a system for settling industrial disputes, which was accepted by both employers and trade unions. In 1893 it extended voting rights to women, making New Zealand the first country in the world to enact universal female suffrage.
Often referred to as "Honest George", Forbes had a reputation for probity, rare debating skill, and impressive memory. His courteous and friendly attitude earned him the liking and respect of parliamentarians from all sides of the House. Throughout his time in national politics his Hurunui constituents held Forbes in high regard: even when Prime Minister he would roll up his sleeves and help load sheep from his farm on the railway wagons for market.
Hurunui was a parliamentary electorate in the Canterbury region of New Zealand, from 1902 to 1963.
Forbes was born in Lyttelton, just outside the city of Christchurch. He gained his education at Christchurch Boys' High School in Christchurch, and did not attend university. He became known for his ability at sport, particularly in athletics, rowing, and rugby where he captained the Canterbury team. After finishing school he briefly worked in his father's ships' chandlery business in Lyttelton, but later established himself as a successful farmer near Cheviot, to the north of Christchurch. He quickly became active in the local politics of the region, particularly with regard to the Cheviot County Council and the Cheviot Settlers' Association.
Christchurch Boys' High School, often referred to as CBHS, is a single sex state secondary school in Christchurch, New Zealand. It is situated on a 12-hectare (30-acre) site between the suburbs of Riccarton and Fendalton, 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) to the west of central Christchurch. The school also provides boarding facilities for 130 boys in a residence called Adams House located about 500 metres (1,600 ft) to the east. The school's colours are deep blue and black with an occasional flash of gold.
Rowing, sometimes referred to as crew in the United States, is a sport whose origins reach back to Ancient Egyptian times. It involves propelling a boat on water using oars. By pushing against the water with an oar, a force is generated to move the boat. The sport can be either recreational for enjoyment or fitness, or competitive, when athletes race against each other in boats. There are a number of different boat classes in which athletes compete, ranging from an individual shell to an eight-person shell with a coxswain.
Rugby football refers to the team sports of rugby league and rugby union.
|New Zealand Parliament|
|1928||Changed allegiance to:||United|
|1936–1938||Changed allegiance to:||National|
At the 1902 election, Forbes made his first attempt to enter national politics, standing for the Hurunui electorate. He stood as an independent, having failed to gain the Liberal Party nomination. He lost the election. At the 1908 election, however, he became the Liberal Party's official Hurunui candidate, and won the seat of Hurunui. He would hold this seat for thirty-five years.
The New Zealand general election of 1902 was held on Tuesday, 25 November, in the general electorates, and on Monday, 22 December in the Māori electorates to elect a total of 80 MPs to the 15th session of the New Zealand Parliament. A total number of 415,789 (76.7%) voters turned out to vote.
The 1908 New Zealand general election was held on Tuesday, 17 November, 24 November and 1 December in the general electorates, and on Wednesday, 2 December in the Māori electorates to elect a total of 80 MPs to the 17th session of the New Zealand Parliament. A total number of 537,003 (79.8%) voters turned out to vote.
Forbes remained a backbencher for some time, but became the Liberal Party's Whip when party leader Thomas Mackenzie became Prime Minister in March 1912. He retained this position when his party went into Opposition on 10 July 1912. However, he had considerably higher status within the party than his official responsibilities indicated, although few thought of him as a potential leader.
In Westminster parliamentary systems, a backbencher is a member of Parliament (MP) or a legislator who holds no governmental office and is not a frontbench spokesman in the Opposition, being instead simply a member of the "rank and file". The term dates from 1855. The term derives from the fact that they sit physically behind the frontbench in the House of Commons. A backbencher may be a new parliamentary member yet to receive high office, a senior figure dropped from government, someone who for whatever reason is not chosen to sit either in the ministry or the opposition Shadow Ministry, or someone who prefers to be a background influence, not in the spotlight. By extension, those who are not reliable supporters of all of their party's goals and policies and have resigned or been forced to resign may be relegated to the back benches. For example, Clive Lewis becoming a backbencher after resigning from Jeremy Corbyn's shadow cabinet over Brexit, or Boris Johnson who became a backbencher again, after resigning as Foreign Secretary in Theresa May's cabinet, also over Brexit, before later succeeding her as Prime Minister following her own resignation and subsequent return to the backbenches.
The Liberal Party's Senior Whip was a political post in New Zealand. The whip's task was to administer the "whipping in" system that attempts to ensure that party MPs attend and vote according to the party leadership's wishes. All Liberal whips were members of the House of Representatives with none coming from the Legislative Council. The position held high esteem in the Liberal caucus and it was not uncommon for whips to move into higher positions later on. Two would later serve as party leader. Forbes also served as Prime Minister from 1930 to 1935.
Sir Thomas Mackenzie was a Scottish-born New Zealand politician and explorer who briefly served as the 18th Prime Minister of New Zealand in 1912, and later served as New Zealand High Commissioner in London.
By the early 1920s, the Liberal Party faced a decision as to its political future. The Reform Party government of William Massey dominated the political scene, having secured the conservative vote, while the growing Labour Party had started to undermine Liberal's progressive voter-base. Many members of the Liberal Party believed an alliance with the Reform Party inevitable, seeing such co-operation as necessary to counteract the "radicalism" of the Labour Party. When Massey died in 1925, Liberal leader Thomas Wilford decided to approach Massey's successor with a merger-proposal, suggesting that the new party could use the name "the National Party". The Liberal Party chose Forbes to represent them at a joint conference. The new Reform Party leader, Gordon Coates, rejected the proposal, although Wilford declared that Liberal would adopt the name "National" regardless.
Shortly after the merger proposal was rejected, Wilford resigned as leader, and Forbes unexpectedly became party leader. In the election later that year, however, the party did very badly, gaining only eleven seats compared with Reform's fifty-five. To compound the injury, Forbes no longer even held the post of Leader of the Opposition – the Labour Party had won twelve seats, enabling its leader Harry Holland to claim seniority in Opposition, although with two independents sitting in opposition as well the position of Leader of the Opposition remained vacant until Labour won the 1926 Eden by-election.
The party's poor fortune did not last long, however. In 1927, Liberal Party politician Bill Veitch secured an alliance with Albert Davy, a former Reform Party organiser who had become dissatisfied with what he saw as Reform's paternalism and intrusive governance. The former Liberal Party (still known as National) absorbed Davy's new "United New Zealand Political Organization", and adopted the name "the United Party". Forbes and Veitch both vied as candidates for the leadership of the United Party, but the position eventually went to a former Liberal Party Prime Minister, Joseph Ward. Forbes became one of two deputy leaders, having particular responsibility for the South Island.
Under the United banner, bolstered by Reform Party dissidents, the remnants of the old Liberal Party once again gained traction. In the 1928 election, United formed a government with backing from the Labour Party. Forbes gained the portfolios of Lands and Agriculture. Gradually, however, Ward's health declined to the state where he was unable to carry out his duties, and Forbes became leader in all but name. In 1930, Ward finally gave his official resignation, and Forbes became Prime Minister. He also made himself Minister of Finance.
As Prime Minister, Forbes, described as "apathetic and fatalistic", reacted to events but showed little vision or purpose. Opponents also criticised him for relying too much on the advice of his friends. However, the depression years proved a difficult time for many governments around the world, and his defenders claim that he did the best job possible in the circumstances of the economic crisis. During his premiership, Forbes also served as the Minister of External Affairs between 1930 and 1935.
The Forbes government began to show signs of instability when the Labour Party withdrew its support. Labour expressed dissatisfaction with a number of the government's economic measures – Forbes intended them to reduce the government deficit and to stimulate the economy, but Labour claimed that they unnecessarily harmed the interests of poorer citizens. Forbes had perforce to continue with reluctant support from the Reform Party, which now feared Labour's growing popularity.
In late 1931, Forbes called for a "grand coalition" of United, Reform, and Labour to resolve the country's economic problems. Forbes told a joint conference that he would not implement the measures he deemed necessary without broad backing. Labour refused to join this coalition, but ex-PM Coates (prompted by the Reform Party's finance spokesperson, William Downie Stewart, Jr.) eventually agreed.
In the 1931 election, the United-Reform Coalition performed well, winning a combined total of fifty-one seats. Forbes remained Prime Minister, but surrendered the finance role to William Stewart. Slowly, however, many people came to believe that Coates held significantly too much power, and that Forbes showed himself overwilling to give in to Coates' demands. This view became reinforced when Coates and Stewart argued over financial policy – although Forbes was known to prefer Stewart's policy, he publicly sided with Coates, and Stewart resigned.
Coates replaced Stewart as Minister of Finance, and became even more dominant in the coalition. Stewart, noting this, complained that "the Prime Minister is too passive and the Minister of Finance is too active". Both Forbes and Coates, however, increasingly took the blame for the country's ongoing economic problems, and could not avoid public dissatisfaction. In the election of 1935 the Labour Party defeated the coalition government, gaining fifty-five votes to the coalition's nineteen.
In 1935, Forbes was awarded the King George V Silver Jubilee Medal,and in 1937, he was awarded the King George VI Coronation Medal.
By 1935 Forbes had become increasingly weary of politics, writing that he agreed with Stewart's description of the profession as "slavery that is miscalled power". Nevertheless, Forbes reluctantly allowed his colleagues to select him as Leader of the Opposition, and from May 1936 led the new National Party (created out of United and Reform) until October 1936 when Adam Hamilton became the party leader. Both party and leader agreed on Forbes's tenure as leader of the new National Party as a temporary measure, as Forbes had indicated his desire to withdraw from the limelight, and younger figures in the party saw his past tenure as a political liability.
Forbes retained his parliamentary seat until 1943, when he retired after 35 years as a Member of Parliament. He declined the offer of the customary knighthood, and four years after his retirement he died at Crystal Brook, his farm near Cheviot.
The national memorial for Forbes, the George Forbes Memorial Library, forms part of Lincoln University near Christchurch.
The New Zealand National Party, shortened to National or the Nats, is a centre-right political party in New Zealand. It is one of two major parties that dominate contemporary New Zealand politics, alongside its traditional rival, the New Zealand Labour Party.
Sir Sidney George Holland was a New Zealand politician who served as the 25th Prime Minister of New Zealand from 13 December 1949 to 20 September 1957. He was instrumental in the creation and consolidation of the New Zealand National Party, which was to dominate New Zealand politics for much of the second half of the 20th century.
William Ferguson Massey, commonly known as Bill Massey, was a politician who served as the 19th Prime Minister of New Zealand from May 1912 to May 1925. He was the founding leader of the Reform Party, New Zealand's second organised political party, from 1909 until his death.
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 hung parliament is a term used in legislatures under the Westminster system to describe a situation in which no particular political party or pre-existing coalition has an absolute majority of legislators in a parliament or other legislature. This situation is also known, albeit less commonly, as a balanced parliament, or as a legislature under no overall control, and can result in a minority government. The term is not relevant in multi-party systems where it is rare for a single party to hold a majority.
In New Zealand, the Leader of the Opposition is the politician who commands the support of the Official Opposition. The Leader of the Opposition by convention leads the largest party not supporting the government: this is usually the parliamentary leader of the second largest caucus in the House of Representatives. In the debating chamber the Leader of the Opposition sits directly opposite the Prime Minister.
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. It was in government between 1912 and 1928, and later formed a coalition with the United Party, and then merged with United to form the modern National Party.
Sir Joseph George Ward, 1st Baronet, of Wellington, was a New Zealand politician who served as the 17th Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1906 to 1912 and from 1928 to 1930. He was a dominant figure in the Liberal and United ministries of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Joseph Gordon Coates served as the 21st Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1925 to 1928. He was the third successive Reform prime minister since 1912.
The 25th New Zealand Parliament was a term of the New Zealand Parliament. It opened on 25 March 1936, following the 1935 election. It was dissolved on 16 September 1938 in preparation for the 1938 election.
Adam Hamilton was a New Zealand politician. He was the first non-interim Leader of the National Party during its early years in Opposition.
The 24th New Zealand Parliament was a term of the New Zealand Parliament. It opened on 23 February 1932, following the 1931 election. It was dissolved on 1 November 1935 in preparation for the 1935 election. The 24th Parliament was extended by one year because the 1935 election was held later than anticipated due to the ongoing depression, similarly the 1919, and the 1943 elections were held two years late, having been postponed during World War I and World War II respectively.
Sir Francis Henry Dillon Bell was a New Zealand lawyer and politician who served as the 20th Prime Minister of New Zealand from 10 to 30 May 1925. He was the first New Zealand-born prime minister, holding office in a caretaker capacity following the death of William Massey.
William Andrew Veitch was a New Zealand politician. He began his career in the labour movement, but was a strong opponent of socialism, and rejected the militant views held by many of his colleagues.
Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, commonly called the Official Opposition, in New Zealand is usually the largest political party or coalition which is not a member of the ruling government—it does not provide ministers. This is usually the second-largest party in the House of Representatives, although in certain unusual circumstances it may be the largest party or even a third or fourth party.
The following lists events that happened during 1935 in New Zealand.
The Reform Government of New Zealand was the government of New Zealand from 1912 to 1928. It is perhaps best remembered for its anti-trade union stance in the Waihi miners' strike of 1912 and a dockworkers' strike the following year. It also governed during World War I, during which a temporary coalition was formed with the Liberal Party.
The United–Reform coalition government of New Zealand was the government of New Zealand from 1931 to 1935. It was a coalition between two of the three major parties of the time, the United and Reform, formed to deal with the Great Depression which began in 1929. The Labour Party refused to join the coalition, as it believed that the only solution to the depression was socialism, which United and Reform did not support. Rather, they attempted to solve the country's economic problems by cutting public spending. This, the policy of making the unemployed do relief work for the unemployment benefit, and other cost-cutting policies, made the government the most unpopular of its era, and it was defeated in the 1935 election.
The 23rd New Zealand Parliament was a term of the New Zealand Parliament. It was elected at the 1928 general election in November of that year.
The 1940 New Zealand National Party leadership election was held to determine the future leadership of the New Zealand National Party. The election was won by Christchurch North MP Sidney Holland.
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| Prime Minister of New Zealand |
Michael Joseph Savage
| Minister of Railways |
William Downie Stewart
| Attorney-General |
|New Zealand Parliament|
| Member of Parliament for Hurunui |
|Party political offices|
| Leader of the Liberal Party |
| Senior Whip of the Liberal Party |
Sydney George Smith