Incite Politics

Hybrid vigour

Tom Wilkes was known as the ‘Master Builder’ of the National Party. According to historian Barry Gustafson, author of The First 50 Years: A History of the New Zealand National Party, the former soldier, insurance agent and sports administrator “was certainly quite a remarkable political organiser, probably the greatest in New Zealand’s political history.”

Gustafson illustrates Wilkes skills by detailing the growth of National Party membership in the Auckland Division of the party between January and August 1938:

“On 31 January 1938 the Auckland Division had 4,288 members; by 28 February, 6,783; by 31 March, 9,477 . . .

This is Subscriber Content.

You can access subscriber content, including crosswords, polling, commentary and podcasts by subscribing to one of our membership packages.

48%