Courtney in 1966
|Member of the New Zealand Parliament |
28 February 1976 –28 November 1981
|Preceded by||Stanley Whitehead|
|Succeeded by||Philip Woollaston|
|Born||2 October 1943|
Christchurch, New Zealand
Melvyn Francis Courtney (born 2 October 1943) is a Nelson City Councillor and a former Labour then Independent Member of Parliament for Nelson, in the South Island of New Zealand.
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.
An independent or nonpartisan politician is an individual politician not affiliated with any political party. There are numerous reasons why someone may stand for office as an independent.
A member of parliament (MP) is the representative of the voters to a parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, this category includes specifically members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title. Member of Congress is an equivalent term in other jurisdictions.
Courtney was born in Christchurch on 2 October 1943, the son of Clifford Francis and Joyce Elizabeth Courtney.He grew up in the suburb of Spreydon, and was educated at Christchurch Technical College. He studied business administration and trained in the grocery industry before moving to Nelson.
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.
Spreydon is a suburb of Christchurch, New Zealand, 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) south-south-west of Cathedral Square. The most central street through Spreydon is Barrington Street. Spreydon is flanked by the suburbs Hoon Hay, Somerfield, and Lower Cashmere.
In 1968, Courtney married his wife, Wendy, and the couple went on to have three children.
|New Zealand Parliament|
|1981||Changed allegiance to:||Independent|
Courtney represented the Nelson electorate from 1976 to 1981 and was opposition spokesman for horticulture and fisheries for five years. He was a recipient of both the Queen's Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977 for service to the community and the New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal in recognition of services to New Zealand. Courtney is currently in his fifth term on the Nelson City Council.
Nelson is a New Zealand parliamentary electorate, returning one Member of Parliament to the House of Representatives of New Zealand. From 1853 to 1860, the electorate was called Town of Nelson. From 1860 to 1881, it was City of Nelson. The electorate is the only one that has continuously existed since the 1st Parliament in 1853.
The New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal was a commemorative medal awarded in New Zealand in 1990 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, and was awarded to approximately 3000 people.
Nelson City Council is a unitary local authority. It has its headquarters in Nelson.
In March 1981 Courtney announced that he had let his membership of the Labour Party lapse. Soon after, he withdrew from the Labour Party caucus and sat in the New Zealand House of Representatives as an independent.
The New Zealand House of Representatives is a component of the New Zealand Parliament, along with the Sovereign. The House passes all laws, provides ministers to form a Cabinet, and supervises the work of the Government. It is also responsible for adopting the state's budgets and approving the state's accounts.
The Labour Party suffered defeats in the 1975, 1978 and 1981 general elections under the leadership of Bill Rowling. Courtney saw the momentum that had been gained under the Prime Ministership of the charismatic Labour leader Norman Kirk (1972–74) was being eroded and lost by Rowling. Courtney firmly believed that change was needed in the leadership in order to beat Robert Muldoon and the National Party. Rowling was not an effective counter to Muldoon: in Parliament Muldoon had the measure of Rowling and Rowling was perceived as weak in the media. After Courtney's strong performance in the Nelson by-election in 1976 the 1978 Labour Party general election result was a "major disappointment" for Courtney (Henderson, 1981). In the December 1980 leadership vote of confidence Courtney voted against Rowling. Rowling clung onto the Labour leadership by one vote-his own (Bassett, 2008).
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.
The Nelson by-election was a by-election in the New Zealand electorate of Nelson a predominantly urban seat at the top of the South Island.
Courtney's announcement of his independent candidacy for the 1981 general election was made only a few days before the 35th anniversary of the death of Harry Atmore, MP for Nelson from 1911 to 1946. Atmore had been the last independent MP to be elected to the New Zealand Parliament.
At the 1981 election supporters rallied around Courtney's Independent campaign and, although defeated, it was by the very narrow margin of 698 votes. Courtney took 37.0 per cent of the total vote, 3.4 percentage points behind the Labour candidate, and nearly three times as many votes as the National candidate's share of the vote. This was the best result by an independent candidate in New Zealand elections in nearly 40 years.
|Social Credit||Neville McLean||1,545||7.61|
Courtney was an elected member of Nelson City Council for six years during the 1970s under Mayor Roy McLennan; for some of that time, he was also a Member of Parliament. He had a three-year gap and then became a member of the city council for another three-year term under Mayor Peter Malone.
Courtney came out of political retirement for the 2016 local elections.Of the 12 successful candidates, Courtney was elected with 6,743 votes. Courtney was re-elected with 8,417 votes in the 2019 local elections.
Courtney owned and operated supermarkets in Nelson and at its peak, he had five of them. He retired to Australia in about 2000. He returned to live in Nelson in late 2014 or early 2015.
Courtney was the Vice Chair of Norm Kirk's Campaign Committee for the Sydenham Electorate in 1969.
Mel Courtney's grandfather, H.F. Courtney, was an engine driver on the Nelson Railway from 1915 to 1920 and lived at Glenhope. See Voller, Lois (1991) Rails to Nowhere: The History of the Nelson Railway, Nelson: Nikau Press.
Courtney was a member of the Cawthron Institute Trust Board from 1976 to 1981.
Courtney was a member of the first New Zealand Parliamentary delegation to China in 1977.
Courtney attended the 21st Anniversary of Scott Base in 1978 representing the New Zealand Parliament
For contemporaneous events in Britain between January and June 1981 and the Council for Social Democracy
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.
The 1984 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of the 41st New Zealand Parliament. It marked the beginning of the Fourth Labour Government, with David Lange's Labour Party defeating the long-serving Prime Minister, Robert Muldoon, of the National Party. It was also the last election in which the Social Credit Party won seats as an independent entity. The election was also the only one in which the New Zealand Party, a protest party, played any substantial role.
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.
The 1981 New Zealand general election, held on 28 November 1981, was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of the 40th New Zealand Parliament. It saw the governing National Party, led by Robert Muldoon, win a third term in office, but the opposition Labour Party, led by Bill Rowling, won the largest share of the votes cast.
The 1975 New Zealand general election was held on 29 November to elect MPs to the 38th session of the New Zealand Parliament. It was the first general election in New Zealand where 18- to 20-year-olds and all permanent residents of New Zealand were eligible to vote, although only citizens were able to be elected.
The 1978 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to elect the 39th New Zealand Parliament. It saw the governing National Party, led by Robert Muldoon, retain office, but the opposition Labour Party won the largest share of the vote. Reorganisation of the enrolment system caused major problems with the electoral rolls, which left a legacy of unreliable information about voting levels in this election.
The 40th New Zealand Parliament was a term of the Parliament of New Zealand. Its composition was determined by the 1981 elections, and it sat until the 1984 elections.
Norman John Kirk, generally called John Kirk,, is a former New Zealand Member of Parliament for Sydenham, in the South Island.
Harry Atmore was a New Zealand Independent Member of Parliament for Nelson in the South Island.
Hugh Watt 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 Third National Government of New Zealand was the government of New Zealand from 1975 to 1984. It was an economically and socially conservative government, which aimed to preserve the Keynesian economic system established by the First Labour government while also being socially conservative. Throughout its three terms it was led by Robert Muldoon, a populist but antagonistic politician who was sometimes described as his party's best asset and worst liability.
Colin James Moyle is a former politician of the New Zealand Labour Party. He was a Government Minister in the Third Labour and Fourth Labour Governments. In the Fourth Labour Government he oversaw the removal of farming subsidies and the establishment of a fisheries quota system.
George Charles Cecil Black was a member of the House of Representatives for Motueka electorate, in the South Island of New Zealand, initially as a representative of the United Party and from early 1931 as an Independent. He committed suicide and was succeeded as MP by Keith Holyoake.
The 1974 New Zealand Labour Party leadership election was held on 6 September 1974 to determine the eighth leader of the New Zealand Labour Party. The election was won by Tasman MP Bill Rowling.
On 3 February 1983, a New Zealand Labour Party leadership election was held to determine the leadership of the New Zealand Labour Party. The leadership was won by Mangere MP David Lange, who had been Deputy Leader of the party since 1979.
The New Zealand National Party leadership election was held to determine the future leadership of the New Zealand National Party. The election was won by Tamaki MP Robert Muldoon.
|New Zealand Parliament|
| Member of Parliament for Nelson |