This article needs additional citations for verification .(September 2015)
|Preceded by||Liberal Party|
|Merged into||National Party|
|National affiliation||United/Reform Coalition (1931–36)|
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.
In the 1920s the Liberal Party, although previously dominant in New Zealand party politics, seemed in serious long-term decline following the advent of the Labour Party, and its organisation had decayed to the point of collapse. The United Party represented an unexpected resurgence of the Liberals, and some historians consider it nothing more than the Liberal Party under a new name.
The United Party emerged from a faction of the decaying Liberal Party known as "the National Party" (not directly related to the modern National Party, although it may have inspired the name). George Forbes, a Liberal Party leader, led the faction. In 1927 Forbes joined with Bill Veitch (who led another faction of the Liberals, but who had once been involved with the labour movement) and with Albert Davy (a well-known and highly successful organiser for the Reform Party, the traditional opponent of the Liberals). They hoped that the United Party would draw support not only from former Liberals, but from moderates on either the right or left of the Liberals by promoting themselves as a safer alternative than the Labour Party.
The new organisation adopted the name "the United Party". This reflected in shortened form the name of the "United New Zealand Political Organisation", which Davy had used after he had left Reform. Forbes and Veitch both contested the leadership, but eventually, Joseph Ward won the position. Although Ward, a former Liberal Prime Minister in 1906 - 1912, did not enjoy the best of health, Davy backed him as a compromise candidate.
The reversal of the party fortunes came in Auckland, where the big business group abandoned the Reform Party because of the handling of a licensing bill, and put forward a programme equally appealing to the business community and to the remnants of the Liberal Party. So 42,000 votes and five seats went to United, compared with 8,800 votes and no seats in the previous election.
In the 1928 elections, the new United Party performed surprisingly well, winning twenty-seven seats. The Reform Party also had twenty-seven seats, the Labour Party had nineteen, the Country Party had one, and independents held six. The United Party formed a government with the backing of the Labour Party, and Ward became Prime Minister again.
The United Party administration did not run particularly smoothly, however. Ward's ill health persisted, and he finally resigned in 1930. His deputy, George Forbes, became Prime Minister, though he had effectively been leading both the party and the government for some time before Ward's formal departure. Forbes faced serious economic problems, including the onset of the Great Depression. He did not project an image of activity or leadership — William Downie Stewart Jr, finance spokesman for Reform, privately described Forbes as "apathetic and fatalistic", and suggested that although he had "a rotten job", Forbes was really simply marking time.
In 1931 the United government passed a number of economic measures which appeared unfavourable to workers, and the Labour Party withdrew its support. The United Party continued in office with reluctant support from the Reform Party, which feared that a collapse of government (and thus a general election) would see large gains for Labour. Later the same year, formal coalition talks took place between United, Reform, and Labour, with a "unity government" proposed to counter the depression. Labour eventually walked out of the talks, but Reform leader Gordon Coates (pressed by Downie Stewart) eventually agreed to form a coalition between United and Reform. Forbes, backed by dissident members of Reform, won the leadership of the coalition government, but Downie Stewart of Reform became the Minister of Finance.
In the 1931 elections, the coalition worked in close co-operation and won fifty-one out of the eighty seats. United and Reform between them had held a few more seats before, but their combined tally exceeded what many had anticipated in light of the economic conditions. The government did not exhibit great stability, however — particularly strong tensions arose between Coates and Downie Stewart, who clashed over the best response to the country's economic problems. Coates eventually won, and Stewart resigned. Coates, as the new Minister of Finance, became increasingly powerful, and the weary Forbes did not strongly oppose Coates's influence; while Forbes remained Prime Minister, Coates effectively led the government. The economic situation persisted.
In the 1935 elections, United and Reform maintained their coalition. Anger at the country's ongoing economic problems remained high, however, and many saw Forbes and Coates as jointly responsible for the situation. In addition, Albert Davy had founded a new "anti-socialist" party, the Democrats, which took votes away from the coalition. Forbes, still the nominal leader of the coalition, appeared tired and apathetic. These factors all added up to a decisive defeat of the coalition, which won only 19 seats–including only seven for United–to Labour's 53. Michael Joseph Savage became New Zealand's first Labour Prime Minister.
United and Reform maintained their coalition while in opposition. In 1936 they decided to make the coalition permanent and to merge United and Reform into a single party. The new organisation took the name of "the National Party", and - along with Labour - became one of New Zealand's two dominant political parties from that point on.
|Part of a series on|
United Reform Labour
PM: Prime Minister LO: Leader of the Opposition
|1||Joseph Ward||17 September 1928||28 May 1930||LO1928||Coates|
|2||George Forbes||28 May 1930||May 1936||PM1930–1935||Forbes|
|United Party merged into National Party 1936.|
|Election||# of votes||% of vote||# of seats|
27 / 80
|Coalition with Labour then Reform|
19 / 80
|Coalition with Reform|
7 / 80
†Total Coalition vote.
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. The party participates in the international Progressive Alliance. It is one of two major political parties in New Zealand, alongside its traditional rival, the National Party.
George William Forbes was a New Zealand politician who served as the 22nd prime minister of New Zealand from 28 May 1930 to 6 December 1935.
The New Zealand National Party, shortened to National or the Nats, is a centre-right political party in New Zealand. It is one of two major parties that largely dominate contemporary New Zealand politics, alongside its traditional rival, the Labour Party.
William Ferguson Massey, commonly known as Bill Massey, was a politician who served as the 19th prime minister of New Zealand from May 1912 to May 1925. He was the founding leader of the Reform Party, New Zealand's second organised political party, from 1909 until his death.
A hung parliament is a term used in legislatures under the Westminster system to describe a situation in which no single political party or pre-existing coalition has an absolute majority of legislators in a parliament or other legislature. This situation is also known, as a balanced parliament, or as a legislature under no overall control (NOC), and can result in a minority government. The term is not relevant in multi-party systems where it is rare for a single party to hold a majority.
In New Zealand, the Leader of the Opposition is a senior politician who leads the Official Opposition. The Leader of the Opposition is, by convention, the leader of the largest political party in the House of Representatives that is not in government. This is usually the parliamentary leader of the second-largest caucus in the House of Representatives.
This article gives an overview of historic liberalism in New Zealand. It is limited to liberal parties with substantial support, mainly proved by having had representation in parliament.
The Reform Party, formally the New Zealand Political Reform League, was New Zealand's second major political party, having been founded as a conservative response to the original Liberal Party. It was in government between 1912 and 1928, and later formed a coalition with the United Party, and then merged with United to form the modern National Party.
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.
The 1935 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of the New Zealand Parliament's 25th term. It resulted in the Labour Party's first electoral victory, with Michael Joseph Savage becoming the first Labour Prime Minister after defeating the governing coalition, consisting of the United Party and the Reform Party, in a landslide.
Sir Joseph George Ward, 1st Baronet, was a New Zealand politician who served as the 17th prime minister of New Zealand from 1906 to 1912 and from 1928 to 1930. He was a dominant figure in the Liberal and United ministries of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Joseph Gordon Coates served as the 21st prime minister of New Zealand from 1925 to 1928. He was the third successive Reform prime minister since 1912.
William Andrew Veitch was a New Zealand politician. He began his career in the labour movement, but became a strong opponent of more militant socialism, and rejected the radical views held by many of his colleagues.
Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, commonly called the Official Opposition, in New Zealand is usually the largest political party or coalition which is not a member of the ruling government—it does not provide ministers. This is usually the second-largest party in the House of Representatives, although in certain unusual circumstances it may be the largest party or even a third or fourth party.
The 19th New Zealand Parliament was a term of the New Zealand Parliament. It opened on 24 June 1915, following the 1914 election. It was dissolved on 27 November 1919 in preparation for 1919 election.
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 Reform Government of New Zealand was the government of New Zealand from 1912 to 1928. It is perhaps best remembered for its anti-trade union stance in the Waihi miners' strike of 1912 and a dockworkers' strike the following year. It also governed during World War I, during which a temporary coalition was formed with the Liberal Party.
The United–Reform coalition government of New Zealand was the ministry that governed New Zealand from 1931 to 1935. It was a coalition between two of the three major parties of the time, the United and Reform, formed to deal with the Great Depression which began in 1929. The Labour Party refused to join the coalition, as it believed that the only solution to the depression was socialism, which United and Reform did not support. Rather, they attempted to solve the country's economic problems by cutting public spending. This, the policy of making the unemployed do relief work for the unemployment benefit, and other cost-cutting policies, made the government the most unpopular of its era, and it was defeated in the 1935 election.
The United Government of New Zealand was the government of New Zealand from 1928 to 1931, defeating the long-lived Reform Government. The United Party had been formed in 1927 from the remnants of the Liberal Party under Sir Joseph Ward, who had made a political comeback. They did not manage an outright win, but formed a government with Labour Party support. However, Ward was in poor health and was eventually succeeded by George Forbes. The new cabinet was notable for its inexperience, with four ministers not having sat in the House of Representatives previously.
The 23rd New Zealand Parliament was a term of the New Zealand Parliament. It was elected at the 1928 general election in November of that year.