John O'Brien (New Zealand politician)

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John O'Brien
John O'Brien - Crop.jpg
4th Leader of the Social Credit Party
In office
1970–1972
Deputy Tom Weal
Preceded by Vernon Cracknell
Succeeded by Bruce Beetham
Personal details
Born
John Bernard O'Brien

(1925-07-31)31 July 1925
Palmerston North, New Zealand
Died12 October 1990(1990-10-12) (aged 65)
Nelson, New Zealand
Political party Social Credit

John Bernard O'Brien (31 July 1925 – 12 October 1990) was a political candidate and party leader of Social Credit in New Zealand.

Contents

Biography

O'Brien was the Social Credit Party candidate for the Manawatu electorate in the 1957 and 1960 general election placing third. Following the sudden death of Bill Brown, O'Brien unsuccessfully contested the Palmerston North electorate in the 1967 by-election. [1] [2]

In the 1960s, O'Brien was deputy-leader to first P. H. Matthews and then Vernon Cracknell, who was the sole Social Credit MP. Cracknell lost his seat in the 1969 election, and the following year, O'Brien challenged him for the leadership. The contest was bitter, even resulting in brawling between supporters of the two camps. Eventually, O'Brien was successful. [3]

Although a powerful speaker and an energetic organiser, O'Brien was accused by his opponents of being abrasive and overly confrontational. He quickly antagonised many party members, particularly those in the Christchurch branch. O'Brien's leadership of the party lasted only until 1972, when, with Tom Weal, the deputy leader, and others, he quit the party and was replaced by Bruce Beetham. [4]

O'Brien then formed his own group, the New Democratic Party. The New Democrats were one of the larger parties to contest the 1972 election, standing candidates in all but one electorate. In the end, they placed fifth overall, winning merely 0.66% of the vote. They did not win any seats. O'Brien himself stood in the Nelson electorate placing last of five candidates with only 2.97% of the vote. [5]

He was from the Palmerston North area. After politics, he ran a shop in Nelson then retired and later died there, aged 65. [3]

Notes

  1. Norton 1988, pp. 308.
  2. Hancock, Mervyn (December 2005). "Joseph Albert Walding : Member of Parliament for Palmerston North 1967–1975 1978–1981" (PDF). Palmerston North Library. Retrieved 25 December 2011.[ dead link ]
  3. 1 2 "Former Socred leader sies". The Dominion. 15 October 1990. p. 3.
  4. Bryant 1981, p. 25.
  5. Norton 1988, pp. 286.

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References

Party political offices
Preceded by
Vernon Cracknell
Leader of the Social Credit Party
1970–1972
Succeeded by
Bruce Beetham
Vacant Deputy Leader of the Social Credit Party
1960–1970
Succeeded by
Tom Weal