|5th Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand|
8 December 1972 –1 September 1974
|Prime Minister||Norman Kirk|
|Preceded by||Robert Muldoon|
|Succeeded by||Bob Tizard|
|24th Minister of Works|
12 December 1957 –12 December 1960
|Prime Minister||Walter Nash|
|Preceded by||William Goosman|
|Succeeded by||William Goosman|
8 December 1972 –29 August 1974
|Prime Minister||Norman Kirk|
|Preceded by||Percy Allen|
|Succeeded by||Arthur Faulkner|
10 September 1974 –13 March 1975
|Prime Minister||Bill Rowling|
|Preceded by||Arthur Faulkner|
|Succeeded by||Mick Connelly|
|Member of the New Zealand Parliament |
19 December 1953 –29 November 1975
|Preceded by||Arthur Osborne|
|Succeeded by||Frank Rogers|
|Born||19 March 1912|
|Died||4 February 1980 67) (aged|
Auckland, New Zealand
|Spouse(s)||(1) Alice Merry Fowke (m. 1935; div 1965)|
(2) Irene Frances Watt
Hugh Watt PC JP (19 March 1912 – 4 February 1980) was a Labour member of Parliament and the Interim Prime Minister of New Zealand between 1 and 6 September 1974, following the death of Prime Minister Norman Kirk. He had been Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand since 8 December 1972. Watt later served as High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.
The Queen's Privy Council for Canada, sometimes called Her Majesty's Privy Council for Canada or simply the Privy Council, is the full group of personal consultants to the monarch of Canada on state and constitutional affairs. Responsible government, though, requires the sovereign or her viceroy, the Governor General of Canada, to almost always follow only that advice tendered by the Cabinet: a committee within the Privy Council composed usually of elected Members of Parliament. Those summoned to the QPC are appointed for life by the Governor General as directed by the Prime Minister of Canada, meaning that the group is composed predominantly of former cabinet ministers, with some others having been inducted as an honorary gesture. Those in the council are accorded the use of an honorific style and post-nominal letters, as well as various signifiers of precedence.
The New Zealand Labour Party, or simply Labour, is a centre-left political party in New Zealand. The party's platform programme describes its founding principle as democratic socialism; observers describe Labour as social-democratic and pragmatic in practice. The party participates in the international Progressive Alliance.
The Prime Minister of New Zealand is the head of government of New Zealand. The incumbent Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, leader of the New Zealand Labour Party, took office on 26 October 2017.
Watt was born in Perth, Western Australia, in 1912. His father was an engineer and his family emigrated to New Zealand when he was just two-years old settling in Auckland.He attended Seddon Memorial Technical College, where he studied engineering, and established his own engineering business in 1947.
Perth is the capital and largest city of the Australian state of Western Australia (WA). It is named after the city of Perth, Scotland and is the fourth-most populous city in Australia, with a population of 2.06 million living in Greater Perth. Perth is part of the South West Land Division of Western Australia, with the majority of the metropolitan area located on the Swan Coastal Plain, a narrow strip between the Indian Ocean and the Darling Scarp. The first areas settled were on the Swan River at Guildford, with the city's central business district and port (Fremantle) both later founded downriver.
Auckland is a city in the North Island of New Zealand. The most populous urban area in the country, Auckland has an urban population of around 1,628,900. It is located in the Auckland Region—the area governed by Auckland Council—which includes outlying rural areas and the islands of the Hauraki Gulf, resulting in a total population of 1,695,900. Auckland is a diverse, multicultural and cosmopolitan city, home to the largest Polynesian population in the world. A Māori-language name for Auckland is Tāmaki or Tāmaki Makaurau, meaning "Tāmaki with a hundred lovers", in reference to the desirability of its fertile land at the hub of waterways in all directions.
Auckland University of Technology (AUT) is a university in New Zealand, formed on 1 January 2000 when a former technical college was granted university status. It has five faculties across three campuses in Auckland: City, North, and South campuses, and an additional three specialist locations: AUT Millennium, Warkworth Radio Astronomical Observatory and AUT Centre for Refugee Education.
He had married twice. First to Alice Merry Fowke from 1935 to 1965. He was divorced and then married Irene Frances Watt. He had two sons and two daughters. Watt was Australian-born, like Labour Party founders such as Harry Holland, Michael Joseph Savage, Bob Semple and Paddy Webb and later MPs such as Mabel Howard and Jerry Skinner.
Henry Edmund Holland was an Australian-born newspaper owner, politician and unionist who relocated to New Zealand. He was the second leader of the New Zealand Labour Party.
Michael Joseph Savage was a New Zealand politician who served as the 23rd Prime Minister of New Zealand, heading the First Labour Government from 6 December 1935 until his death.
Robert Semple was a union leader and later Minister of Public Works for the first Labour Government of New Zealand.
|New Zealand Parliament|
He stood unsuccessfully for Labour in Remuera in 1949 and in Parnell in 1951.His initial failures were to help his subsequent development as a politician saying "I learned early in my political life that you've got to take the kicks with the congratulations". He was then successful in winning the seat of Onehunga in a 1953 by-election after the death of Arthur Osborne, and held it to 1975.
Remuera is a former New Zealand parliamentary electorate, in the city of Auckland. It existed from 1938, when it replaced the Parnell electorate, until 1996. It was consistently held by members of the National Party.
The 1949 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of the New Zealand Parliament's 29th term. It saw the governing Labour Party defeated by the opposition National Party. This marked the end of the First Labour government and the beginning of the First National government.
Parnell was a parliamentary electorate in the city of Auckland, New Zealand, from 1861 to 1954, with one break of eight years.
Watt was first appointed as a minister in the Second Labour Government led by Walter Nash; he was both Minister of Works from 1957 to 1960 and additionally was Minister of Electricity from 1958 until 1960.As Minister of Works he quickly became known for both his vitality and genial style of inspecting infrastructure sites. During the government he oversaw one of the most constructive and positive periods of public development New Zealand had seen. He was also the Chairman of the National Roads Board from 1957 to 1960.
The Second Labour Government of New Zealand was the government of New Zealand from 1957 to 1960. It was most notable for raising taxes on alcohol, cigarettes and petrol, a move which was probably responsible for the government lasting for only one term.
Sir Walter Nash was a New Zealand politician who served as the 27th Prime Minister of New Zealand in the Second Labour Government from 1957 to 1960. He is noted for his long period of political service, having been associated with the New Zealand Labour Party since its creation.
The Minister of Works in New Zealand was a former cabinet member appointed by the Prime Minister to be in charge of the Ministry of Works and Development.
When Labour was in opposition several previous ministers had either died or retired and Watt soon found himself as one of the party's most experienced MPs. He stood for the position of Deputy Leader in 1962 following the death of Jerry Skinner but was defeated by Fred Hackett.Following Hackett's own death in 1963 he stood again and was this time elected, narrowly ahead of Norman Kirk. At 11 years, 5 months and 5 days Watt is Labour's longest-serving deputy leader, first under Arnold Nordmeyer and then under Kirk. He was the Shadow Minister of Works and Electricity while Labour was in opposition.
The Deputy Leader of the Labour Party is the second-most senior politician within the Labour Party in New Zealand. The officeholder deputises for the Leader of the Labour Party at party-specific events. Unlike other political party leaders, the Labour Party's Leader does not have the power to dismiss or appoint their Deputy; both the Leader and Deputy Leader are elected. In all cases where the leadership is vacant, the Deputy Leader shall also serve as Acting Leader until a new leadership election. When the Labour Party forms the Official Opposition the Deputy Leader typically serves as Deputy Leader of the Opposition. When Labour forms the government the deputy leader is automatically given a seat in cabinet.
Clarence Farrington Skinner was a Labour politician from New Zealand, former Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand and a Minister from 1943 to 1949 and 1957 to 1960 in the First and Second Labour governments.
Frederick Hackett was a New Zealand politician of the Labour Party.
During this period Watt suffered several health scares. In 1962 he had an operation in Auckland Hospital for an undisclosed illness. Later, in 1967 he had his appendix removed and in 1969 he suffered a heart attack. Later that same year he was admitted to hospital yet again with both influenza and inflammation round the heart. He was also a diabetic.
During the Third Labour Government, in the ministry led by Norman Kirk, he was Minister of Labour (1972–1974) and Minister of Works and Development (1972–1974).As the only member of the government with prior cabinet experience Watt carried a significant amount of responsibility handling both the strenuous Labour portfolio and had high demands in foreign relations as Deputy Prime Minister. Mike Moore, a backbencher at the time, said Watt had "carried the 1972–75 Labour government."
In the highly demanding role of Minister of Labour he offered an "open door policy" to all parties in industrial disputes. However he quickly found that this was causing excessive demands on his time by warring trade unions and employers and he found himself in a position of being "too accessible".From 1973 he was given an Under-Secretary in the Labour portfolio, Eddie Isbey, which eased his workload. Regardless, his tenure as Minister of Labour was seen as successful in keeping disruptive industrial disputes to a minimum.
As Deputy Prime Minister he made a "futile but necessary" trip to Paris in April 1973 to voice New Zealand's opposition to nuclear weapons testing in French Polynesia. He also visited London and met with Prime Minister Edward Heath in an attempt to win British support, even offering to let Heath skipper the protest vessel, but failed to persuade the British government to support New Zealand's stand.
Watt continued to have a high workload and Kirk mooted taking the Works and Development portfolio from him to help, however Watt was reluctant to drop Works and Development as he enjoyed the role. He preferred to give up the Labour portfolio, but Kirk wanted him to remain in it as he was "making his mark" in it. In early 1974 he announced that he would stay on as Minister of Labour "in the national interest" but would be replaced as Minister of Works and Development.
Following Kirk's sudden death on 31 August 1974, the government was left with a leadership vacancy. Watt, who was then serving as Deputy Prime Minister, acted as prime minister for six days before a new leader was elected. On 6 September, Bill Rowling replaced Kirk as Labour Party Leader and Prime Minister after the ensuing leadership election at which he decided to retire as deputy leader. The party's National Executive and the Federation of Labour had preferred Watt.Many in the parliamentary party, however, felt at 61 he was too old and that Labour needed a younger leader. Watt took the defeat graciously and fought back tears informing reporters he had been defeated, later admitting that losing the leadership vote was "the greatest, most tragic disappointment of my life, it knocked me tremendously". Most of the votes Watt received were from Labour's senior MPs such as Henry May who thought Watt deserved the leadership and that many backbenchers, who did not appreciate the administrative burden he carried, unfairly voted against him.
In the Rowling ministry, Watt regained his cherished the Works and Development portfolio until March 1975, and was subsequently appointed to the Executive Council as a Minister without portfolio.In 1974 he was also appointed a Privy Councillor along side former Prime Minister Jack Marshall. Marshall said Watt's appointment (usually reserved only for Prime Ministers) was well deserved as "he had served the House for so long and so faithfully". Watt then decided to retire at the next general election in 1975 in favour of Frank Rogers.
Watt was appointed New Zealand's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom effective from 22 March 1975 for three years. Controversially, he stayed on as a member of Parliament and Cabinet minister.In June 1975, Watt was asked if he was about to resign as an MP. He stated that:
|“||If I were to resign now as a Member of Parliament [for Onehunga] it would mean that I would lose my Cabinet status and the unique position that I have as High Commissioner with Executive Council rank that gives me access to British Government Ministers."||”|
Following the election of the Third National Government Watt was pressured to resign by new Prime Minister Robert Muldoon, it was widely speculated that his recall was purely for political reasons.In the midst of the dispute he warmly welcomed Brian Talboys, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, to London reinforcing his considerate, genial reputation. During his brief time at the High Commission he did a great deal to boost the morale of the staff and a senior official there told media that "His [Watt's] politics and mine do not coincide, but that has nothing to do with the job. He is one of the best high commissioners we have had here for many years".
He served only fifteen months of his three year contract and as part of a well publicised deal he relinquished the role of High Commissioner in exchange for the role of Commissioner of the Accident Compensation Corporation in Wellington. He was replaced by Douglas Carter (a recently retired National MP) which served to strengthen the public perception that his removal was politically motivated. Upon his return to New Zealand over 300 people attended a function supporting Watt after his treatment by the new government.
In late 1977, after witnessing the Moyle Affair and generally depreciating state of politics under Muldoon, Watt put himself forward as a nominee for Onehunga once again stating that he felt that a man of his experience could guide MPs in conduct. He later withdrew his nomination.
Watt died on 4 February 1980 in Auckland's Greenlane Hospital after a long illness, aged 67 years. He was survived by his wife, ex-wife and four children.
Sir Robert David Muldoon, also known as Rob Muldoon, was a New Zealand politician who served as the 31st Prime Minister of New Zealand, from 1975 to 1984, while Leader of the National 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.
Norman Eric Kirk was a New Zealand politician who served as the 29th Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1972 until his sudden death in 1974.
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Jonathan Lucas Hunt is a New Zealand politician, and was New Zealand's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom from 2005 to March 2008. He formerly served as Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives. He is a member of the Labour Party, and was until recently the longest-serving MP in Parliament. Hunt is a member of the Order of New Zealand, New Zealand's highest civilian honour. Hunt was given the nickname the "Minister for Wine and Cheese" after his well-known liking of the combo.
Sir John Ross Marshall, commonly known as Jack Marshall, was a New Zealand politician of the National Party. He entered Parliament in 1946 and was first promoted to Cabinet in 1951. After spending twelve years as Deputy Prime Minister, he served as the 28th Prime Minister from February until December 1972, following the defeat of National at the general election held in November.
Sir Wallace Edward Rowling, commonly known as Bill Rowling, was a New Zealand politician who was the 30th Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1974 to 1975. He held office as the parliamentary leader of the Labour Party.
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Robert James Tizard was a Labour politician from New Zealand. He served as Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, Minister of Health and Minister of Defence.
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|New Zealand Parliament|
| Member of Parliament for Onehunga |
| Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand |
| Minister of Works |
| Minister of Labour |
|Party political offices|
| Deputy Leader of the Labour Party |
| High Commissioner of New Zealand to the United Kingdom |