In 1893, William Lee Rees accused Alfred Cadman, the Member for Thames, of using his position as Minister for Native Affairs for his own personal benefit. Cadman then sued Rees for libel but the trial proved inconclusive. The jury in the libel case found that "the letters of Mr Rees to the Premier were defamatory, and that the defamatory matter was not only not fair and bona fide comment on the acts and conduct of the plaintiff, but that it was not true", however they only awarded damages of £1 which "implied [Cadman's] acts and conduct were yet not above suspicion."
On 11 July 1893 while in the debating chamber of New Zealand's parliament Cadman challenged Rees to vacate his seat and contest the subsequent by-election against him. Rees accepted the challenge although Cadman was ultimately successful.
The following table gives the election results:
|Liberal||William Lee Rees||1,132||37.48|
A by-election was later held in Thames for Cadman's newly vacant seat.
- "Otago Daily Times". 26 June 1893. Retrieved 14 October 2016 – via Papers Past.
- "Oamaru Mail". 12 July 1893. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
- "The Cadman-Rees Contest". Otago Witness. No. 2057. 27 July 1893. Retrieved 1 April 2016 – via Papers Past.
- Butterworth, Graham. "Cadman, Alfred Jerome". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 3 April 2016.
- "Auckland Election". Hawera & Normanby Star. Vol. XXVI, no. 2497. 5 August 1893. p. 2. Retrieved 1 April 2016.