|Member of the New Zealand Parliament |
6 December 1899 –19 November 1913
|Preceded by||John Joyce|
|Succeeded by||James McCombs|
|Born||5 July 1857|
|Died||19 November 1913 56) (aged|
|Political party||Liberal (1899–1913)|
| New Liberal (1905)|
George Laurenson (5 July 1857 –19 November 1913) was a New Zealand Member of Parliament for Lyttelton in the South Island.
The Lyttelton Times parliamentary correspondent described Laurenson as:"a Scotchman by birth,a Shetlander by education,a New Zealander by adoption,a storekeeper by trade,and a yachtsman by preference."
George Laurenson was a partner in Forbes and Co,Ships Chandlers,of Lyttelton. He was born in Edinburgh,Scotland,and was educated in the Shetland Islands. Laurenson served on numerous local boards and committees:he was chairman of the Lyttelton Harbour Board and the Canterbury Chamber of Commerce. Laurenson was a member of the Navy League Canterbury.
|1905 –1908||16th||Lyttelton||New Liberal|
Laurenson represented the Lyttelton electorate in the New Zealand House of Representatives for fourteen years from 1899 to his death in 1913.From 1909 until 1910 he was senior whip of the Liberal Party.
Laurenson was the nominal leader or chairman of the New Liberal Party in 1905 though Tommy Taylor was the dominant figure.Like Taylor,Laurenson favoured federation with Australia. Laurenson was one of the few who stood as a New Liberal in the 1905 election and retained his seat. Most,including Taylor were defeated.
On 22 March 1912 he stood in a leadership election against Thomas Mackenzie to decide the successor to Sir Joseph Ward as leader of the Liberal Party,but lost (9 votes to 22). He was subsequently the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Labour,Customs and Marine in Mackenzie's cabinet.In July the Liberal government was defeated,after the defection of some Liberal members like John A. Millar to Reform.
In April 1913,Laurenson stood for mayor of Lyttelton,contesting the election with John Richard Webb,a Lyttelton borough councillor. Webb won;he received 608 votes to Laurenson's 490.
Laurenson was a Labour movement sympathizer,but never formally joined the Labour Party though he agreed with the Labour Party's stand during the 1913 general strike,and was often known to have appeared at meetings with the leaders of the Federation of Labour (the 'Red Feds').Laurenson died on 19 November 1913 aged just 56. Laurenson's seat was won by a Labour candidate,James McCombs.
A son of George Laurenson,George Lyttelton Laurenson CBE (1893–1968),was Commissioner of Transport.
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