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William Arthur "Bill" Fox CMG (28 August 1899 – 9 October 1994) was a New Zealand politician of the Labour Party, and a Cabinet minister in the Second Labour Government of 1957–1960.[1]

Bill Fox

Bill Fox.tif
Fox in 1959
7th Minister of Housing
In office
12 December 1957 – 12 December 1960
Prime MinisterWalter Nash
Preceded byJohn Rae
Succeeded byJohn Rae
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Miramar
In office
13 November 1954 – 26 November 1966
Preceded byBob Semple
Succeeded byBill Young
Personal details
William Arthur Fox

(1899-08-28)28 August 1899
Died9 October 1994(1994-10-09) (aged 95)
Wanganui, New Zealand
Political partyLabour


Early life and careerEdit

Fox was born in England in 1899. During World War I he served in the merchant navy aboard the SS Tainui. He was a long-time trade unionist and was a prominent member of the Federated Cooks and Stewards Union, of which he became general secretary. He then proceeded to serve as vice-president of the Federation of Labour from 1948 to 1955. In addition in 1950 he was a representative of the New Zealand government to the International Labour Organization in Geneva.[2]

In 1945 Fox was appointed by the government as a member of the National Rehabilitation Council.[3]

Political careerEdit

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1954–1957 31st Miramar Labour
1957–1960 32nd Miramar Labour
1960–1963 33rd Miramar Labour
1963–1966 34th Miramar Labour

At the 1953 local-body elections he stood unsuccessfully for the Wellington Harbour Board on a Labour ticket.[4]

Fox represented the Wellington electorate of Miramar from 1954 succeeding the retiring Bob Semple.[5] During the three-year tenure of the Second Labour Government Fox was a member of cabinet. He served as both Minister of Marine as well as Minister of Housing.[1] Despite his cabinet ranking, Fox was one of a group of three Labour MPs (the others being Mick Moohan and Frank Kitts) who were deeply critical of the decisions made in the "Black Budget".[6]

He was an agitator against the leadership of Arnold Nordmeyer, whom he deemed to be unelectable. Fox, along with Moohan and Warren Freer, was one of the few senior Labour MPs who backed Norman Kirk's successful leadership challenge to Nordmeyer in 1965. Thereafter he became a close confidant of Kirk who promoted him to the frontbench.[7]

Fox was unexpectedly defeated at the 1966 election by National's Bill Young.[5]

Later life and deathEdit

Following his exit from Parliament Fox retired and moved to Otaki.[8] He was a guest of honour at the first meeting of caucus following Labour's victory in the 1972 election and oversaw the election of the cabinet.[9]

In the 1975 Queen's Birthday Honours, Fox was appointed a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George for public services.[10]

Fox died on 9 October 1994 at Wanganui Hospital, aged 95.[2]


  1. ^ a b Wilson 1985, p. 88.
  2. ^ a b "Ex-Cabinet Minister Bill Fox dies". The Evening Post. 10 October 1994. p. 2.
  3. ^ "Personal Items". The Press. LXXXI (24586). 7 June 1945. p. 4.
  4. ^ "Citizens Keep Majority on Harbour Board". The Dominion. 1 November 1953.
  5. ^ a b Wilson 1985, p. 197.
  6. ^ Freer 2004, p. 103.
  7. ^ Grant 2014, p. 79-80.
  8. ^ Grant 2014, p. 198.
  9. ^ Grant 2014, p. 220.
  10. ^ "No. 46595". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 June 1975. p. 7405.


Political offices
Preceded by
John Rae
Minister of Housing
Succeeded by
John Rae
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Bob Semple
Member of Parliament for Miramar
Succeeded by
Bill Young