Citizens for Rowling

The Citizens for Rowling campaign was a failed campaign to stop Robert Muldoon winning the 1975 New Zealand election. It was named after then Labour Prime Minister Bill Rowling in the lead-up to the 1975 general election. Members of the campaign publicly signed the "Citizens for Rowling" petition warning against a National government led by Muldoon. The campaign was largely organised by David Exel, a former television producer and current affairs interviewer.

Citizens for Rowling
Citizens for Rowling.jpg
AuthorDavid Exel
CountryNew Zealand
Publication date
October 1975

Central to the campaign was a booklet, in the form of a petition, which attacked Muldoon's leadership style, which was stated as being "divisive" and "moving towards factional strife". Ads were run in major papers around New Zealand asking people to 'stand up and be counted' as supporting Bill Rowling and the campaign. Many offshoot groups were formed, such as Lawyers for Rowling and Clergy for Rowling. Rowling's eldest son, Carl, also joined the campaign.

Prominent membersEdit

Prominent members of the campaign included:


Despite gaining a lot of press for Labour, the campaign did not succeed, with Muldoon launching a public denial of the claims and stating, "The average chap doesn't want to be told how to vote."[3] Labour went on to lose power after the 1975 general election.

The publication came up again after the controversial decision by Muldoon to appoint Keith Holyoake as Governor-General in 1977. Rowling said that should Labour win the 1978 general election, he would remove Holyoake as Governor-General and openly stated that he would have appointed Sir Edmund Hillary to the post.[4] That was criticised by Muldoon's government, as Hillary had notably backed Labour in the "Citizens for Rowling" campaign in 1975.[5] Fellow Citizen Sir Paul Reeves was appointed Governor-General by the Fourth Labour Government in 1985.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The Listener, Ask that Philosopher, 1–7 May 2004, Volume 193, Number 3338 Source
  2. ^ du Fresne, Karl (16 February 2019). "Sir John Jeffries: From school failure to career overachiever".
  3. ^ Rowling: The man and the myth by John Henderson, Australia New Zealand Press, 1980
  4. ^ Henderson, 1980.
  5. ^ Ross Doughty (1977). The Holyoake years. Feilding.


  • The Citizens for Rowling Campaign : An Insiders View pp 81–96, Political Science, Volume 28, No 2, December 1976.