Labour celebrates their first government 80 years ago – has one more party on the political Titanic

This weekend Labour celebrates the first time they formed a government 80 years ago. It is nearly their 100th birthday as well and there isn’t that much to celebrate.

A dinner to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the election of the first ever Labour Government will bring together a potentially explosive mix of people as some of the Rogernomes return to their original home for some reminiscing.

The dinner at Parliament is organised by current MP Stuart Nash, the grandson of the Prime Minister in the Second Labour Government: Sir Walter Nash.

It is to mark the anniversary of the election of the first Labour Government in 1935, under then Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage.

The 100 guests attending include Sir Roger Douglas, the architect of the Rogernomics reforms who later founded the Act Party, and Michael Bassett, another backer of those reforms and minister of the fourth Labour Government. Sir Roger’s nemesis Jim Anderton was unable to attend.  

It was an opportunity for some nostalgia, Sir Roger said, and to catch up with some people he hadn’t seen in a long time. He would have some support – another former Act MP Ken Shirley was attending although Richard Prebble could not make it.

“I think it will be just a pleasant dinner. It’s an opportunity to talk to a few people about a few issues.”

However, it will not all be pleasure.

“I’d like to talk to the odd one about the big crisis facing New Zealand with the welfare system, which is getting far too costly. I know National won’t do anything about it so I’m hoping Labour will.”

United Future leader Peter Dunne will also be there and kicked off the fireworks early by penning a critique of the modern day Labour Party compared to Labour of the past, including the “reforming and innovative” fourth Labour Government he was part of. In it he said Labour had lost its soul and place and was too negative.

Current leader Andrew Little responded in kind, pointing out Dunne was a “party of one”.

It took Labour damn near 20 years to first attain government and I’m not sure they have 20 years left in them right now.

Their vote is steadily declining and their membership is in the doldrums. The last two elections got the worst and second worst results since that election in 1935.

Let’s face it the party is as decrepit as most of those who can remember voting for Michael Joseph Savage.


– NZ Herald


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