New Zealand

New Zealand Labour Party


Published 7th November, 2011

The New Zealand Labour Party or Labour was founded in 1916. It describes itself as centre-left and believes in social democracy, democratic socialism , progressivism and the third way.

In its first electoral outing in 1919 the Labour party won eight seats. This number slowly crept up over the years and they were the third largest party until 1931 when they came second with 24 seats. In 1935 they made their big breakthrough and won the election, taking 46.1% of the vote and 53 seats in the 80 seat House of Representatives. They went on to win the 1938 and 1943 elections and were in office until 1946. During this period they created the welfare state in New Zealand.

They were briefly in power from 1957 until 1960 and again from 1972 until 1975. Labour managed a two election success when they won in 1984 and again in 1987, but were then in opposition to National until 1999.

In that year Labour emerged as the largest party with 49 seats and formed a minority government with The Alliance Party. Labour attempted to broaden its appeal with the Third Way agenda. It was successful, as a result in winning again in 2002, but again was obliged to form a minority coalition with the Progressive Party and then again in 2995 when they continued their coalition with the Progressive Party.

Labour dropped six seats in the 2008 election and were forced into opposition once more.

The New Zealand Labour Party is an observer at Socialist International.


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