Bill Parry (politician)

William Edward Parry (1878 – 27 November 1952) was a New Zealand Minister and trade unionist.

Bill Parry
Bill Parry.jpg
Photograph of Bill Parry taken in 1935.
13th Minister of Internal Affairs
In office
6 December 1935 – 13 December 1949
Prime MinisterMichael Joseph Savage
Peter Fraser
Preceded byAlexander Young
Succeeded byWilliam Bodkin
1st Minister of Social Security
In office
25 June 1946 – 13 December 1949
Prime MinisterPeter Fraser
Preceded bynew office
Succeeded byJack Watts
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Auckland Central
In office
17 December 1919 – 4 November 1946
Preceded byAlbert Glover
Succeeded byBill Anderton
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Arch Hill
In office
27 November 1946 – 27 July 1951
Succeeded byJohn Stewart
Personal details
Orange, New South Wales, Australia
Died27 November 1952
Auckland, New Zealand
Political partyLabour
Georgina Fowke (m. 1906)
ChildrenTwo daughters

Early yearsEdit

Parry was born at Orange, New South Wales, Australia. He had 12 siblings and the family faced hardship. His father, John Parry, was a goldminer and prospector, and at age 12, Bill Parry left school and went mining himself in Barmedman. Parry first came to New Zealand in 1902 and lived in Auckland for a short time, and went mining in Karangahake. After two years, he returned to Australia. On 15 April 1906, he married Georgina Fowke at Wyalong in New South Wales. Later that year, they and some family members arrived in New Zealand.[1][2]

Parry was a miner at Waihi and Secretary of the Waihi Miners' Union. He became a miners' inspector and was appointed to the 1911 Royal Commission on Mines. He was imprisoned at Mount Eden during the 1912 Waihi miners' strike. He was blacklisted in Waihi and moved to Palmerston North. He became involved in the 1913 waterfront and general strike.

He moved to Auckland in 1915 to be an agent for the Maoriland Worker newspaper. He opposed conscription during World War I, but not during World War II.[1]

Member of ParliamentEdit

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1919–1922 20th Auckland Central Labour
1922–1925 21st Auckland Central Labour
1925–1928 22nd Auckland Central Labour
1928–1931 23rd Auckland Central Labour
1931–1935 24th Auckland Central Labour
1935–1938 25th Auckland Central Labour
1938–1943 26th Auckland Central Labour
1943–1946 27th Auckland Central Labour
1946–1949 28th Arch Hill Labour
1949–1951 29th Arch Hill Labour

Parry was one of the founders of the New Zealand Federation of Labour and was vice president from 1911 to 1913. He was on the executive of the Social Democratic Party and joined the New Zealand Labour Party when it was formed by the merger of various parties in 1916.[1]

Parry represented the electorates of Auckland Central from 1919 to 1946, and then Arch Hill from 1946 to 1951, when he retired.[3]

When the First Labour Government was formed after the 1935 election, Parry was appointed Minister of Internal Affairs[4] and Minister in Charge of Pensions.[5] In the latter role, he introduced Social Security in 1938.[6][7] The minor ministerial role was converted to a full role when in June 1946, Parry became Minister of Social Security.[8] Parry lost his ministerial roles when Labour was defeated in the 1949 election.[9]

Parry was not regarded as an outstanding politician, but more of an administrator. He did not contribute to Labour's policy development in a major way, but was nevertheless Michael Joseph Savage's automatic choice as minister due to their strong friendship and long-standing activism.[1]

In 1935, he was awarded the King George V Silver Jubilee Medal.[10]

Family and deathEdit

Parry died on 27 November 1952 in Auckland. He was survived by his wife and their two daughters.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Gustafson, Barry. "Parry, William Edward". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  2. ^ Gustafson 1986, p. 293.
  3. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 225.
  4. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 82.
  5. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 127.
  6. ^ Gustafson 1980, p. 164.
  7. ^ McLintock, A. H., ed. (22 April 2009) [First published in 1966]. "Scope of Legislation of 1938". An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand. Ministry for Culture and Heritage / Te Manatū Taonga. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  8. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 83.
  9. ^ Wilson 1985, pp. 82f.
  10. ^ "Official jubilee medals". Evening Post. CXIX (105). 6 May 1935. p. 4. Retrieved 21 March 2015.


Political offices
Preceded by
Alexander Young
Minister of Internal Affairs
Succeeded by
William Bodkin
New ministerial post Minister of Social Security
Succeeded by
Jack Watts
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Albert Glover
Member of Parliament for Auckland Central
Succeeded by
Bill Anderton
New constituency Member of Parliament for Arch Hill
Succeeded by
John Stewart