NewLabour Party (New Zealand)

Last updated

NewLabour Party
Leader Jim Anderton (1989–2000)
Founded1 May 1989
Dissolved13 October 2000;23 years ago (13 October 2000)
Split from Labour Party
Merged into Alliance
Ideology Social democracy
Political position Centre-left
National affiliationAlliance

The NewLabour Party was a centre-left [1] [ better source needed ] political party in New Zealand that existed from 1989 to 2000. It was founded by Jim Anderton, a member of parliament (MP) and former president of the New Zealand Labour Party, [2] on 1 May 1989. [1]


NewLabour was established by a number of Labour Party members who left the party in reaction to Rogernomics, the economic policies implemented by the Labour Party's Minister of Finance, Roger Douglas, which saw the traditionally left-leaning Labour Party swing heavily to the new right on issues of state intervention, regulation, and taxation. Anderton, who had been among the most vocal critics of Douglas, was joined by a number of other members of the Labour Party, such as Matt Robson, Laila Harré and Phil Amos, and a number of left-wing activists, such as Bruce Jesson. Anderton was the party's only MP before it joined the Alliance.

Electoral success

In the 1990 elections, NewLabour stood candidates in all electorates. The party gained a certain amount of support from disillusioned Labour voters, winning 5.16% of the vote. Anderton was NewLabour's only successful candidate, retaining the Sydenham seat in working-class south-central Christchurch. He remained the party's sole representative in Parliament, which was now dominated by the National Party with 67 seats out of 97. [3]

Alliance building

In 1991, NewLabour and several other parties formed the Alliance, a broad left-wing coalition. [4] Initially, NewLabour maintained a separate identity within the Alliance, keeping its own party organization intact. By 2000, however, many felt that maintaining parallel NewLabour and Alliance structures was counter-productive, and at NewLabour's October conference, it was decided to completely assimilate the party into the larger Alliance structure, marking the end of NewLabour as an autonomous group. [5]

Former parliamentarians

Former parliamentarianTerm
Jim Anderton 1989–2000
Laila Harré 1996–2000
Matt Robson 1996–2000
Pam Corkery 1996–1999
Liz Gordon 1996–2000
Kevin Campbell 1999–2000

MPs elected between 1991 and 2000 were members of the NewLabour Party's faction of the Alliance.

Related Research Articles

The Alliance was a left-wing political party in New Zealand. It was formed at the end of 1991 by the linking of four smaller parties. The Alliance positioned itself as a democratic socialist alternative to the centre-left New Zealand Labour Party. It was influential throughout the 1990s, but suffered a major setback after its founder and leader, Jim Anderton, left the party in 2002, taking with him several of its members of parliament (MPs). After the remaining MPs lost their seats in the 2002 general election, some commentators predicted the demise of the party.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jim Anderton</span> New Zealand politician (1938–2018)

James Patrick Anderton was a New Zealand politician who led a succession of left-wing parties after leaving the Labour Party in 1989.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">2002 New Zealand general election</span> General election in New Zealand

The 2002 New Zealand general election was held on 27 July 2002 to determine the composition of the 47th New Zealand Parliament. It saw the reelection of Helen Clark's Labour Party government, as well as the worst-ever performance by the opposition National Party.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1999 New Zealand general election</span> General election in New Zealand

The 1999 New Zealand general election was held on 27 November 1999 to determine the composition of the 46th New Zealand Parliament. The governing National Party, led by Prime Minister Jenny Shipley, was defeated, being replaced by a coalition of Helen Clark's Labour Party and the smaller Alliance. This marked an end to nine years of the Fourth National Government, and the beginning of the Fifth Labour Government which would govern for nine years in turn, until its loss to the National Party in the 2008 general election. It was the first New Zealand election where both major parties had female leaders.

Jim Anderton's Progressive Party was a New Zealand political party to the political left of its ally, the Labour Party.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Social Credit Party (New Zealand)</span> New Zealand political party

The New Zealand Social Credit Party was a political party that was New Zealand's third party from the 1950s to the 1980s. It won representation in the New Zealand House of Representatives, holding one seat at times between 1966 and 1981, and two seats from 1981 to 1987. While Social Credit once had significant support, particularly as a protest vote, it was disadvantaged by first-past-the-post voting as it had no geographically concentrated vote. Its most identifiable leaders were Vernon Cracknell (1963-70), who served just one term in parliament, and the household name Bruce Beetham, who rebuilt the party into a significant political force. At its zenith under Beetham in 1981, Social Credit achieved an unprecedented 20.7% of the vote.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1990 New Zealand general election</span> General election in New Zealand

The 1990 New Zealand general election was held on 27 October to determine the composition of the 43rd New Zealand parliament. The governing Labour Party was defeated, ending its two terms in office. The National Party, led by Jim Bolger, won a landslide victory and formed the new government.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Laila Harré</span> New Zealand politician

Laila Jane Harré is a New Zealand former politician and trade unionist. Joining the Labour Party at 15, she left in 1989 to join the left-wing splinter party NewLabour, later the Alliance. She was elected to the New Zealand Parliament in 1996 and re-elected in 1999. In her second term, she served as Minister for Women in the Fifth Labour Government, overseeing the introduction of paid parental leave. After long-time leader Jim Anderton split from the Alliance in 2002, Harré replaced him as leader. With the party's fortunes in steep decline, it failed to win any seats in that year's election.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1993 New Zealand general election</span> General election in New Zealand

The 1993 New Zealand general election was held on 6 November 1993 to determine the composition of the 44th New Zealand Parliament. Voters elected 99 members to the House of Representatives, up from 97 members at the 1990 election. The election was held concurrently with an electoral reform referendum to replace the first-past-the-post system, with all members elected from single-member electorates, with mixed-member proportional representation. It saw the governing National Party, led by Jim Bolger, win a second term in office, despite a major swing away from National in both seats and votes, and the carrying of the referendum by 53.9% to 46.1%.

The New Zealand Liberal Party founded in 1991 was a splinter group of the National Party.

Matthew Peter Robson is a New Zealand politician. He was deputy leader of the Progressive Party, and served in the Parliament from 1996 to 2005, first as a member of the Alliance, then as a Progressive.

John Wright is a former New Zealand politician. He was a member of parliament from 1996 to 2002, representing the Alliance. Before entering Parliament he owned the Port-a-Loo company.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">43rd New Zealand Parliament</span> Term of the Parliament of New Zealand

The 43rd New Zealand Parliament was a term of the Parliament of New Zealand. Its composition was determined by the 1990 elections, and it sat until the 1993 elections.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">42nd New Zealand Parliament</span> Term of the Parliament of New Zealand

The 42nd New Zealand Parliament was a term of the New Zealand Parliament. Its composition was determined by the 1987 election, and it sat until the 1990 election.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mana Motuhake</span> Defunct Māori political party in New Zealand

Mana Māori Motuhake was a Māori political party in New Zealand from 1980 to 2005. The name is difficult to translate accurately, but essentially refers to Māori self-rule and self-determination — mana, in this context, can be understood as "authority" or "power", while motuhake can be understood as "independent" or "separate". The purpose of the party was to unify Māori to gain 'political potency'. From 1991 to 2002, the party participated in the left-wing Alliance.

The Onehunga by-election of 1980 was a by-election for the Onehunga electorate during the 39th New Zealand Parliament. It was prompted by the death of Frank Rogers, a Labour Party MP. It was held on 7 June 1980 and was won by Fred Gerbic, also of the Labour Party.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Wigram (New Zealand electorate)</span> Electoral district in Canterbury, New Zealand

Wigram is a New Zealand parliamentary electorate, returning one Member of Parliament to the New Zealand House of Representatives. The current MP for Wigram is Megan Woods of the Labour Party. She took over this position from Jim Anderton, who had held this position from 1996 until 2011.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Norman Douglas (politician)</span> New Zealand politician

Norman Vazey Douglas was a New Zealand trade unionist and left-wing politician. He joined the New Zealand Labour Party in 1932, but when John A. Lee was expelled from the party in 1940, Douglas followed to join the new Democratic Labour Party. He rejoined the Labour Party in 1952 and represented the Auckland Central electorate in Parliament from 1960 until his retirement in 1975, serving time on the Opposition front bench.

Sydenham was a New Zealand parliamentary electorate, from 1881 to 1890 and again from 1946 to 1996. It had notable politicians representing it like Mabel Howard, Norman Kirk and Jim Anderton.

The Backbone club was a ginger group within the New Zealand Labour Party in the late 1980s and early 1990s that advocated neoliberal economic policies and supported Roger Douglas in his financial reforms of New Zealand. Its members later became the nucleus of ACT New Zealand, a neoliberal party which Douglas founded in 1994.


  1. 1 2 Locke, Cybèle (2012). Workers in the Margins: Union Radicals in Post-war New Zealand. Wellington, N.Z.: Bridget Williams Books. p. 172. ISBN   978-1927131398. Jim Anderton led a centre-left breakaway from the Labour Party, announcing the formation of the New Labour Party on 1 May 1989. Progressives who had remained outside mainstream political parties joined the NLP, as did [Sue] Bradford
  2. Anderton, Jim (13 October 2000). "Address to NewLabour Party Conference". The Beehive. Retrieved 21 July 2009.
  3. "1890–1993 general elections". Electoral Commission New Zealand. Archived from the original on 8 April 2023. Retrieved 9 July 2023.
  4. Orsman, Bernard (2 December 1991). "Alliance born with eye on Tamaki win". The New Zealand Herald . p. 1.
  5. Venter, Nick (14 October 2000). "Anderton's NewLabour voted out of existence". The Dominion . p. 2.