|Founded||10 January 1953|
|Preceded by||Real Democracy Movement|
|Succeeded by||New Zealand Democratic Party|
The New Zealand Social Credit Party (sometimes called "Socred") was a political party which served as the country's "third party" from the 1950s through into the 1980s. The party held a number of seats in the New Zealand House of Representatives, although never more than two at a time. It has since renamed itself the New Zealand Democratic Party, and was for a time part of the Alliance.
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 New Zealand Democratic Party for Social Credit is a small leftist political party in New Zealand whose policies are based on the ideas of social credit. The party has been known as the Social Credit Political League, the Social Credit Party and the New Zealand Democratic Party and was part of the Alliance for a time.
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.
The party was based on the ideas of social credit, an economic theory established by C. H. Douglas. Social Credit movements also existed in Australia (see: Douglas Credit Party & Australian League of Rights), Canada (see: Social Credit Party of Canada), and the United Kingdom (see: UK Social Credit Party) although the relationship between those movements and the New Zealand movement was not always good.
Social credit is an interdisciplinary and distributive philosophy developed by C. H. Douglas (1879–1952), a British engineer who published a book by that name in 1924. It encompasses economics, political science, history, and accounting. Its policies are designed, according to Douglas, to disperse economic and political power to individuals. Douglas wrote, "Systems were made for men, and not men for systems, and the interest of man which is self-development, is above all systems, whether theological, political or economic." Douglas said that Social Crediters want to build a new civilization based upon "absolute economic security" for the individual, where "they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid." In his words, "what we really demand of existence is not that we shall be put into somebody else's Utopia, but we shall be put in a position to construct a Utopia of our own."
Major Clifford Hugh "C. H." Douglas MIMechE, MIEE, was a British engineer and pioneer of the Social Credit economic reform movement.
Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide.
Before the founding of the Social Credit Party in 1953, there was the Social Credit Association. The association focused most of its efforts on the Country Party and New Zealand Labour Party, where they attempted to influence policy.
The Country Party of New Zealand was a political party which appealed to rural voters. It was represented in Parliament from 1928 to 1938. Its policies were a mixture of rural advocacy and social credit theory.
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.
The Social Credit Movement decided to set up a "separate political organisation" the Real Democracy Movement in 1942, but the RDM got only about 4,400 votes in the 1943 election.Roly Marks had stood as a monetary reform candidate on behalf of the Real Democracy Movement in the Wanganui electorate in 1943, and was later made a life member of the League.
The Real Democracy Movement of New Zealand was a short-lived political movement in New Zealand founded in 1942. The Social Credit Movement decided to set up a "separate political organisation" the “Real Democracy Movement” at their annual conference in January 1942, but the RDM got only about 4,400 votes in the 1943 election.
The 1943 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of the New Zealand Parliament's 27th term. With the onset of World War II, elections were initially postponed, but it was eventually decided to hold a general election in September 1943, around two years after it would normally have occurred. The election saw the governing Labour Party re-elected by a comfortable margin, although the party nevertheless lost considerable ground to the expanding National Party.
Rowland Oswald Colin Marks was born in Auckland, New Zealand and was a pioneer of the social credit movement in New Zealand.
Maurice John Hayes stood for the Waimate electorate on behalf of the Social Credit Association in the 1951 election, receiving 374 votes and coming third.
Waimate was a parliamentary electorate in the Canterbury region of New Zealand from 1881 to 1893 and from 1946 to 1957. It was represented by three Members of Parliament
The 1951 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of the New Zealand Parliament's 30th term. The First National Government was re-elected, with the National Party increasing its parliamentary majority over the opposition Labour Party.
Social Credit claimed that the first Labour government, which was elected at the 1935 election, pulled New Zealand out of the Great Depression by adopting certain Social Credit policies. Several followers of Social Credit policies eventually left the Labour Party, where their proposals (for example, those of John A. Lee for housing) were strongly opposed by the "orthodox" Minister of Finance, Walter Nash and other prominent Labour Party members.
The First Labour Government of New Zealand was the government of New Zealand from 1935 to 1949. Responsible for the realisation of a wide range of progressive social reforms during its time in office, it set the tone of New Zealand's economic and welfare policies until the 1980s, establishing a welfare state, a system of Keynesian economic management, and high levels of state intervention. The government came to power towards the end of, and as a result of, the Great Depression of the 1930s, and also governed the country throughout World War II.
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.
John Alfred Alexander Lee was a New Zealand politician and writer. He is one of the more prominent avowed socialists in New Zealand's political history.
In 1940 Lee, who had by then been expelled from the Labour Party, and Bill Barnard formed the Democratic Labour Party. However the new party got only 4.3% of the vote in the 1943 general election, with both Lee and Barnard losing their seats.
The Social Credit Party was established as the Social Credit Political League. It was founded on 10 January 1953, and grew out of the earlier Social Credit Association.
The party's first leader was Wilfrid Owen, a businessman. Much of the early activity in the party involved formulating policy and promoting Social Credit theories to the public.
Social Credit gained support quickly, and in the 1954 elections, the party won 11.13% of the vote. The party failed to win seats in parliament under the first past the post electoral system. The party's quick rise did, however, prompt discussion of the party's policies. National saw Social Credit as a threat in the 1957 election and established a caucus committee to challenge their theories. Gustafson comments that the successes in some seats (Hobson, Rangitikei, East Coast Bays and Pakuranga) came from a "peculiar and infrequent combination of factors", with votes in those seats coming from "a handful of committed monetary reformers plus alienated National voters and the tactical voting of Labour supporters in a seat where Labour could not win".
In 1960 P. H. Matthews replaced Owen as leader. It was not until the 1966 elections, however, that the party won its first representation in parliament. Vernon Cracknell, an accountant, won the Hobson electorate in Northland, a region that had been a stronghold of the Country Party. Cracknell narrowly defeated the National Party's Logan Sloane, the incumbent, after having placed second in the previous two elections.
Cracknell did not prove to be a good performer in parliament itself, however, and did not succeed in advancing the Social Credit manifesto. Partly due to this, and partly due to an exceptionally poor campaign, Cracknell was not re-elected in the 1969 elections, returning Sloane to parliament and depriving Social Credit of its only seat.
The following year, a leadership contest between Cracknell and another prominent Social Credit member, John O'Brien, ended in disaster, with brawling between supporters of each candidate. The damage done to the party's image was considerable. O'Brien was eventually victorious, but his blunt and confrontational style caused him to lose his position after only a short time in office. He split from Social Credit to found his own New Democratic Party.
O'Brien's replacement was Bruce Beetham, who would become the most well known Social Credit leader. Beetham took over in time for the 1972 elections. Despite a relatively strong showing, Social Credit failed to win any seats, a fact that some blamed on the rise of the new Values Party. While the Values Party did not win any seats, many supporters of Social Credit believed that it drew voters away from the older party.
In the 1978 by-election in Rangitikei, caused by the death of National Party MP Roy Jack, Beetham managed to defeat National's replacement candidate and win the seat. Beetham was more successful in parliament than Cracknell had been, and gained Social Credit considerable attention. He also put forward a New Zealand Credit and Currency Bill, intended to implement many Social Credit policies. The Bill was criticised by some of the more extreme Social Credit supporters, who claimed that it was too weak, but was nevertheless strongly promoted in parliament by Beetham. The Bill quickly failed, although this was not particularly unexpected - it had been put forward primarily for the purpose of drawing attention, not because Beetham believed it would succeed.
Beetham retained his seat in the 1978 general election. He was later joined by Gary Knapp, who defeated National Party candidate Don Brash in the 1980 by-election in East Coast Bays (caused by the resignation of the sitting National MP). Knapp, like Beetham, was highly active in parliament.
Led by Beetham and Knapp, Social Credit became a popular alternative to the two major parties. Political scientists debate how much of this was due to Social Credit policies and how much was merely a "protest vote" against the established parties, but one poll recorded Social Credit with as much as 30% of the vote.
By the 1981 elections, the party's support had subsided somewhat, and Social Credit only gained 20.55% of the vote. As expected, the electoral system did not translate this into seats in parliament, but Social Credit did retain the two seats it already held. A year later, it officially dropped "Political League" from its official name, becoming merely the Social Credit Party.
During that parliamentary term, Social Credit's support was damaged by a deal between Beetham and National Party Prime Minister Rob Muldoon. In exchange for Social Credit support for the Clyde Dam, a controversial construction project and part of Think Big , Muldoon undertook to back certain Social Credit proposals. This did considerable harm to Social Credit's popularity, as Muldoon's government (and the project itself) were opposed by most Social Credit members. To make matters worse, Muldoon did not deliver on many of his pledges, depriving Social Credit of any significant victories with which to mitigate its earlier setback.
In 1983, Beetham suffered a minor heart attack, causing him to lose some of his earlier energy. He also became, according to many Social Credit supporters, more demanding and intolerant. This reduced Social Credit's appeal to voters.
In the 1984 elections, Beetham lost his Rangitikei seat to a National Party challenger, Denis Marshall. Knapp retained his East Coast Bays seat, and another Social Credit candidate, Neil Morrison, won Pakuranga. Despite still holding the same number of seats, Social Credit won only 7.6% of the total vote in 1984, a substantial drop. Some commentators attributed this to the New Zealand Party, an economically right-wing liberal party that opposed Muldoon's government. The New Zealand Party may have taken some of the protest votes that Social Credit once received. It was from this election that the term "Crimplene Suit and Skoda Brigade" was coined for Social Credit (by defeated National Party Pakuranga MP Pat Hunt).
At the party's 1985 conference, the Social Credit name was dropped, and group became the New Zealand Democratic Party. The Democrats did not retain any seats in the 1987 elections. Although several Democrats were elected to parliament as part of the Alliance in the 1990s, the Democratic Party has not had independent representation in parliament since 1987.
The Social Credit name did not vanish immediately, however. In 1986, the year after the party was renamed, Bruce Beetham was removed from the leadership of the Democrats and replaced by Neil Morrison. Beetham was extremely bitter about his dismissal, and led a short-lived splinter group which readopted the Social Credit label. It failed to win any seats, however, and quickly vanished.
Before the 2005 election the Democrats renamed themselves to the New Zealand Democratic Party for Social Credit, reincorporating the Social Credit name.
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While some people associated with the early international Social Credit movement were anti-Semitic, there is no indication that the New Zealand movement displayed this to any significant degree or for any significant period of time.
The history of anti-Semitism and the New Zealand Social Credit political movement was unique to the history of the country. Anti-Semitism has largely been absent in New Zealand, even in the Victorian period, as evidenced by the election without comment of a Jewish premier (Julius Vogel) in the 1870s. The early Social Credit movement diverged from its international brethren. In New Zealand, Social Credit concentrated solely on the economic theories of the international movement without its attendant racial theories.
The New Zealand faction of the League of Rights, unlike similar organisations in Australia and the United Kingdom, was structurally and historically unrelated to Social Credit. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, it began to infiltrate Social Credit in order to have a wider platform for their views. This attempt was curtailed when it became identified and those members of the party were purged by Beetham.
|Vernon Cracknell||1966-1969||Social Credit|
|Bruce Beetham||1978-1984||Social Credit|
|Gary Knapp||1980-1987||Social Credit|
|Neil Morrison||1984-1987||Social Credit|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Social Credit Party (New Zealand) .|
The 1987 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of the 42nd sitting of the New Zealand Parliament. The governing New Zealand Labour Party, led by Prime Minister David Lange, was re-elected for a second term, although the Opposition National Party made gains. The election also saw the elimination of the Democratic Party from Parliament, leaving Labour and National as the only parties represented.
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.
The New Zealand Party operated as a political party in New Zealand from 1983 to about 1986. Established by millionaire property tycoon Bob Jones, the party promoted economic liberalisation—it was the first political party to promote free market reforms. It failed to win any seats in Parliament, but it purportedly played a role in causing the defeat of Robert Muldoon's National government in the 1984 election by splitting the vote.
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.
Bruce Craig Beetham was an academic and politician from New Zealand, whose career spanned the 1970s and early 1980s.
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 39th New Zealand Parliament was a term of the Parliament of New Zealand which began with the general election held on 25 November 1978, and finished with the general election held on 28 November 1981. The dates of the Muldoon Ministry were from 13 December 1978 to 11 December 1981.
The New Democratic Party of New Zealand was a small political party established in 1972. It was a splinter group from the better-known Social Credit Party.
Vernon Francis Cracknell was a New Zealand politician. He served as the Social Credit Party's third leader (1963–1970).
John Bernard O'Brien was a political candidate and party leader of Social Credit in New Zealand.
The East Coast Bays by-election of 1980 was a by-election during the 39th New Zealand Parliament in the East Coast Bays electorate. It resulted in an upset for the National Party, as their candidate and future leader Don Brash was unexpectedly beaten by Gary Knapp of the Social Credit Party.
The Rangitikei by-election of 1978 was a by-election in the New Zealand electorate of Rangitikei, a predominantly rural district in the middle of New Zealand's North Island. The by-election occurred on 18 February 1978, and was precipitated by the death of sitting National Party member of parliament Sir Roy Jack in December 1977.
Pakuranga is a New Zealand Parliamentary electorate. It gave the Social Credit Party one of its few MPs when Neil Morrison held the seat from 1984 to 1987, but otherwise the electorate seat has been held by the National Party since 1972. Its current MP is Simeon Brown who has held the electorate since the 2017 general election.
Rangitīkei is a New Zealand parliamentary electorate, returning one Member of Parliament to the New Zealand House of Representatives. The current MP for Rangitīkei is Ian McKelvie of the National Party. He has held this position since 2011.
Garry Thomas Knapp is a former New Zealand politician of the Social Credit Party.
Neil Joseph Morrison was a New Zealand politician of the Social Credit Party.
The Timaru by-election of 1985 was a by-election for the electorate of Timaru during the term of the 40th New Zealand Parliament. It was triggered by the death of Sir Basil Arthur on 1 May 1985. Sir Basil was Speaker of the House, and had inherited the rank of baronet from his father in 1949.