Bill Fraser (New Zealand politician)
Fraser in 1953
|26th Minister of Defence|
10 September 1974 – 12 December 1975
|Prime Minister||Bill Rowling|
|Preceded by||Arthur Faulkner|
|Succeeded by||Allan McCready|
|9th Minister of Housing|
8 December 1972 – 10 September 1974
|Prime Minister||Norman Kirk|
|Preceded by||Eric Holland|
|Succeeded by||Roger Douglas|
|Member of the New Zealand Parliament|
for St Kilda
30 November 1957 – 28 November 1981
|Preceded by||Jim Barnes|
|Succeeded by||Michael Cullen|
|Born||28 July 1924|
Dunedin, New Zealand
|Died||13 January 2001 (aged 76)|
Dunedin, New Zealand
Early life and careerEdit
Fraser was born in Dunedin on 28 July 1924. He attended school at Forbury and King Edward Technical College. His father was a film projectionist and whilst not politically active, was a Labour supporter. In 1938 he became an apprentice carpenter and later worked as a builder.
He served in the Royal New Zealand Air Force during World War II. He enlisted in No. 5 Squadron of the Air Training Corps in 1941 and trained at Ohakea as an air gunner. In 1943 he gained his flying badge was posted to the Solomon Islands where he saw action conducting bombings, strafing runs and photographic reconnaissance. He ended the war with the rank of Warrant Officer and was demobilized in May 1946.
While on leave between operational tours, he met Dorothy Tucker at a services club in Gisborne. They married in 1947 and had two children together. He then entered work again as a builder and was a prominent member of the Returned Services' Association.
|New Zealand Parliament|
With Dorothy's encouragement he joined the Dunedin South branch of the Labour Party, where he became a delegate to the Otago Labour Representation Committee and became president of the St Kilda Junior Branch. At the 1947 local body elections he stood as a candidate for the St Kilda Borough Council, but was unsuccessful.
Member of ParliamentEdit
He represented the Dunedin electorate of St Kilda from 1957 to 1981, when he retired. He was Dunedin's longest-serving MP. He defeated the popular National MP James Barnes and defeated Barnes again in 1960. He increased his majority steadily over his career and turned St Kilda from a marginal seat to a safe Labour seat.
Fraser was a backbencher during the government of Walter Nash before spending 12 years in opposition. During these years he was a trustee of the Otago Savings Bank from 1959 to 1973 and president of the Associated Trustee Banks from 1973 to 1976.
As Minister of Housing he oversaw a huge increase in building of state houses to fulfill Labour's election promise to increase rental supply and restore the "Kiwi dream" of home ownership. He overcame formidable hurdles such as lack of funding, a depleted construction industry and uncooperative banking industry. He recounted at the time that one of the biggest hurdles in house construction was the manufacturing of toilet pans and that to keep construction going he had to authorize shipments from Australia and when they arrived half were broken. He also initiated the New Zealand Housing Corporation.
When Bill Rowling succeeded Norman Kirk as Prime Minister he appointed Fraser as Minister of Defence. Rowling gave the Housing portfolio to Roger Douglas but hastened to say the change was not a demotion and that it was due to a lack of experienced ministers with military experience (Fraser's cabinet ranking remained unchanged).
Later life and deathEdit
In 1979, after Labour's failure to regain government in 1978, Fraser made the decision to retire and return to the building trade. Upon leaving parliament he said "I still have a strong right arm and can wield a hammer."
As a former carpenter Fraser occupied time in retirement repairing and renovating Labour's Dunedin South branch office. In 1980 it was renamed the Bill Fraser Lounge in Fraser's honour. In 2015 the office was damaged in a flood and was refurbished in 2018.
- Europa Publications Limited (1974). The international who's who. Europa Publications. ISBN 9780900362729. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
- Parry, Gordon (20 January 2001). "Well-loved Labour man got things done". Otago Daily Times. p. 23.
- "MP touched the lives of many". The Press. 1 February 2001. p. 5.
- "Past Dunedin City Councils". Dunedin City Council. Archived from the original on 21 May 2003. Retrieved 20 May 2019. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Wilson 1985, p. 92-3.
- "No. 52953". The London Gazette (Supplement). June 1992. p. 30.
- "Cemeteries search: cremation". Dunedin City Council. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
- "Cemeteries search: ashes burial". Dunedin City Council. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
- "PM opens Labour's refurbished rooms". Otago Daily Times. 20 February 2018. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
- Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First published in 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.
| Minister of Defence
| Minister of Housing
|New Zealand Parliament|
| Member of Parliament for St Kilda