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William Ross "Bill" Laney (4 May 1913 – 7 August 1998) was a New Zealand Member of Parliament representing the Labour Party, and Mayor of Oamaru.


Early life and careerEdit

Laney was born in 1913 in Weston.[1] He graduated from the University of Otago with a BA in 1937.[2] He was also a New Zealand Universities rugby and cricket blue and later Otago rugby captain. Laney then became a teacher of agriculture at Waitaki Boys' High School.[3]

Political careerEdit

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1972–1975 37th Oamaru Labour

Laney's political career began in 1951 when he was elected as a member of the Oamaru Borough Council in 1951.[4] He was then Mayor of Oamaru for 19 years from 1956 to 1975. From 1945 until 1956 he was an executive member of the Oamaru branch of the National Party when he resigned to join the Labour Party. His resignation did not endear him to the local National Party faithful.[3]

Laney contested the Oamaru electorate in the 1972 election, and defeated the incumbent, National's Allan Dick by a 390 votes majority.[5] At the next election in 1975, he was in turn defeated by National's Jonathan Elworthy.[6]

Laney was described as a man of integrity not prepared to compromise his principles and opposed the influence liquor industry lobbyists had over politicians during his time as an MP.[7]

Later life and deathEdit

In 1990 he was awarded the New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal.[8]

Laney died on 7 August 1998 in Christchurch.[3]


  1. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 211.
  2. ^ "NZ University Graduates 1870-1961". Shadows of Time. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
  3. ^ a b c "Mayor, MP after party switch". The Evening Post. 13 August 1998. p. 5.
  4. ^ "21 new members in House". The Press. 27 November 1972. p. 3.
  5. ^ Wilson 1985, pp. 192, 211.
  6. ^ Wilson 1985, pp. 195, 211.
  7. ^ "The politicians have always been the booze problem". Manawatu Standard. 19 October 2012. p. 16.
  8. ^ Taylor, Alister; Coddington, Deborah (1994). Honoured by the Queen – New Zealand. Auckland: New Zealand Who's Who Aotearoa. p. 61. ISBN 0-908578-34-2.


  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Allan Dick
Member of Parliament for Oamaru
Succeeded by
Jonathan Elworthy