New Zealand Democrat Party (1934)

Last updated
This article is about the party founded in 1934. It should not be confused with the modern New Zealand Democratic Party for Social Credit.
New Zealand Democrat Party
Founder Albert Davy and William Goodfellow
Dissolved1936;82 years ago (1936)
Merged into National Party
Ideology Classical liberalism
Political position Right-wing
Colours     Blue

The New Zealand Democrat Party was a political party in New Zealand, founded in 1934 with the purpose of opposing socialist legislation by the government. [1]

A political party is an organized group of people, often with common views, who come together to contest elections and hold power in the government. The party agrees on some proposed policies and programmes, with a view to promoting the collective good or furthering their supporters' interests.

New Zealand Country in Oceania

New Zealand is a sovereign island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses—the North Island, and the South Island —and around 600 smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long period of isolation, New Zealand developed a distinct biodiversity of animal, fungal, and plant life. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.

Socialism is a range of economic and social systems characterised by social ownership of the means of production and workers' self-management, as well as the political theories and movements associated with them. Social ownership can be public, collective or cooperative ownership, or citizen ownership of equity. There are many varieties of socialism and there is no single definition encapsulating all of them, with social ownership being the common element shared by its various forms.



The Democrat Party was founded and developed by Albert Davy, a prominent political organiser of the time. Davy had worked first for the Reform Party, then for the United Party, and finally for Reform again. He was highly effective in both campaign management and fundraising, but often came into conflict with those he worked for. Politically, Davy was an advocate of reducing the size of government, and of minimising government intervention in the business world the slogan "More Business in Government, Less Government in Business", once used by the Reform Party, was thought up by Davy. When the United Party and the Reform Party formed a coalition, Davy initially supported it, but later resigned in protest at the legislation the coalition enacted to counter the Great Depression. Davy denounced the coalition as "socialistic by inclination, action and fact".

Albert Ernest Davy was a New Zealand political organiser and campaign manager; and at the height of his career, was regarded as one of the best in the country. He was a strong opponent of socialism, and spent most of his life fighting what he saw as socialist tendencies in New Zealand politics.

The United Party of New Zealand, a party formed out of the remnants of the Liberal Party, formed a government between 1928 and 1935, and in 1936 merged with the Reform Party to establish the National Party.

Great Depression 20th-century worldwide economic depression

The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression that took place mostly during the 1930s, beginning in the United States. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations; in most countries it started in 1929 and lasted until the late-1930s. It was the longest, deepest, and most widespread depression of the 20th century. In the 21st century, the Great Depression is commonly used as an example of how intensely the world's economy can decline.

In 1934, Davy was approached by William Goodfellow, a wealthy Auckland businessman and industrialist. Goodfellow strongly opposed the economic policies of the United-Reform Coalition, and was also concerned by the rise of the Labour Party. Goodfellow hoped that a small but committed party could hold the balance of power in Parliament, and force the government to adopt more business-friendly policies. It was hoped by Goodfellow and his allies that Davy's talents could create an effective organisation.

Sir William Goodfellow was a New Zealand hardware merchant, dairying industrialist, company director and philanthropist. He was born in Alexandra, Waikato, New Zealand, on 26 May 1880.

Auckland Metropolitan area in North Island, New Zealand

Auckland is a city in the North Island of New Zealand. Auckland is the largest urban area in the country, with 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. A diverse and multicultural city, Auckland is home to the largest Polynesian population in the world. The Māori-language name for Auckland is Tāmaki or Tāmaki-makau-rau, meaning "Tāmaki with a hundred lovers", in reference to the desirability of its fertile land at the hub of waterways in all directions.

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, while observers describe Labour as social-democratic and pragmatic in practice. It is a participant of the international Progressive Alliance.

In response to this, the New Zealand Democrat Party was founded. Its primary base of support was the business community, particularly in Auckland. Before long, however, Davy and Goodfellow came into conflict. The most notable cause for dispute was the scale of Davy's plans Goodfellow had wanted a small party focused on winning a select few seats, but Davy was recruiting candidates as though the Democrats were a major party. Goodfellow tried to remove Davy from the chairmanship of the Democrats in July 1935, and later initiated court proceedings to recover part of the salary Davy had been paid. Davy remained in office, however, and the Democrat Party continued on. The sitting Mayor of Wellington, Thomas Hislop, was recruited as the party's political leader, [2] while Davy remained its chief organiser and strategist.

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Thomas Hislop (mayor) New Zealand politician

Thomas Charles Atkinson Hislop was the Mayor of Wellington from 1931 to 1944.

1935 election

In the 1935 elections, Davy's campaign was not as effective as his previous efforts. The Democrats fielded fifty-one candidates, including seven former United Party candidates and members of Parliament including Bill Veitch and Arthur Stallworthy. [1] However, the Democrats did not win any seats. In total, they won around 7.8% of the national vote (66,695 votes). Despite their failure to enter Parliament, their impact on the election may have been the opposite to what was intended by splitting the anti-Labour vote they probably contributed to Labour's overwhelming victory in 1935.

Bill Veitch New Zealand politician

William Andrew Veitch was a New Zealand politician. He began his career in the labour movement, but was a strong opponent of socialism, and rejected the militant views held by many of his colleagues.

Arthur Stallworthy New Zealand politician

Arthur John Stallworthy was a New Zealand politician of the United Party, and a Cabinet minister.


Among the defeated Democrat candidates were Frederick Doidge and Matthew Oram who would become future National Party MPs. [3] Davy himself went on to found the People's Movement and the New Zealand Co-operative Party but eventually retired from politics and returned to business. The party's remnants amalgamated with the National Party in 1936. [1]

Frederick Doidge New Zealand politician

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Matthew Oram New Zealand politician

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New Zealand National Party Major New Zealand political party

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  1. 1 2 3 McLintock, A. H. "Democrat Party". An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  2. "Democrat Choice". Auckland Star. LXVI (233). 2 October 1935. p. 11. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  3. Lundy, Jim. "Oram, Matthew Henry - Biography". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography . Ministry for Culture and Heritage . Retrieved 17 August 2012.