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Frederick Hackett (1901 – 19 March 1963) was a New Zealand politician of the Labour Party.

Fred Hackett
Fred Hackett, 1958.JPG
19th Minister of Labour
In office
12 December 1957 – 12 December 1960
Prime MinisterWalter Nash
Preceded byJohn McAlpine
Succeeded byTom Shand
6th Minister of Transport
In office
18 October 1947 – 13 December 1949
Prime MinisterPeter Fraser
Preceded byJames O'Brien
Succeeded byWilliam Goosman
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Grey Lynn
In office
25 September 1943 – 19 March 1963
Preceded byJohn A. Lee
Succeeded byReginald Keeling
Personal details
Southampton, England
Died (aged 61)
Auckland, New Zealand
Political partyLabour
Ivy Lily Bradford (m. 1923)

Early lifeEdit

Hackett was born in Southampton in 1901. He found employment in the British Merchant Navy transporting refugees. He became a gunner in the Royal Navy during World War I. In 1921 he moved to New Zealand and he married Ivy Lily Bradford in Dunedin in 1923; together they had four children. He became an active unionist and in 1922 Hackett gained employment at the Auckland Tramways Board.[1] He was a prominent member of the Auckland Tramways Union for the next twenty years.[2]

Political careerEdit

Member of ParliamentEdit

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1943–1946 27th Grey Lynn Labour
1946–1949 28th Grey Lynn Labour
1949–1951 29th Grey Lynn Labour
1951–1954 30th Grey Lynn Labour
1954–1957 31st Grey Lynn Labour
1957–1960 32nd Grey Lynn Labour
1960–1963 33rd Grey Lynn Labour

Hackett was the Member of Parliament for Grey Lynn from 1943 to 1963, when he died.[3] He defeated John A. Lee in the electorate after Lee was expelled from the Labour Party following the "Lee Affair".[4]

Contemporary Martyn Finlay said Hackett was an extremely effective representative for his electorate due to his ability to use the life experiences he acquired to relate personally with constituents; "Hackett learnt his trade in the best university of all - that of practical experience on the job."[2]

Hackett was described by contemporaries as a party hack, though he was well-liked by caucus members and the wider Labour Party.[5]

Cabinet MinisterEdit

He was a cabinet minister in the Fraser Ministry of the First Labour Government: Postmaster-General and Minister of Telegraphs (1946–1949),[6] Minister of Transport (1947–1949),[6] Minister of Marine (1947–1949),[6] Minister in charge of the Public Trust Office (1946–1947),[7] State Fire Insurance (1946–1947),[8] and Government Life Insurance Department (1946–1947).[9]

Hackett was opposed to New Zealand joining the International Monetary Fund, arguing that the state should have sole right to govern the country's finances.

Towards the end of the First Labour Government Hackett made a speech in New Plymouth where he stated that "The first duty of and government is to stay in office." It was said in rebuke to sentiments that when people were suffering in economic hardship they turned to Labour, but after prosperity had been restored Labour was deemed expendable. The remark was seen as 'cynical but true'.[10]

In the Second Labour Government, he was Minister of Labour, Minister of Mines, and Minister of Immigration from 1957–1960.[11] As Minister of Labour he represented New Zealand at the 1959 International Labour Organisation conference in Geneva. There, he was unanimously elected as chairman of the government group at the conference. His largest challenge as Minister of Immigration was the decline of immigrants to New Zealand following the economic upturn in Europe during the late 1950s.[2]

Deputy Leader of the OppositionEdit

Following Labour's defeat in 1960, Hackett served on the opposition frontbench and in June 1962 Hackett was elected as the deputy leader of the Labour Party, in preference to Arnold Nordmeyer and Hugh Watt, upon the unexpected death of Jerry Skinner.[12] He beat Nordmeyer on the second ballot after Watt (a fellow Aucklander) had been eliminated in the first ballot for the position, as a compromise candidate as was regarded by many within the Party as a middle roader. Hackett also likely received sympathy votes as he was known to have been ill.[5]

On 25 July 1962 he was admitted to Auckland Hospital for an operation on his brain, which saved his life. Following the operation he recovered steadily and was discharged in early September. During his absence Nordmeyer acted as deputy leader until Hackett returned to Parliament on 27 November 1962.[2]

Following Skinner's death Walter Nash favoured Hackett to replace him when he retired prior the 1963 election, but with the death of Hackett, Nash was eventually replaced by Arnold Nordmeyer. Before he died, Hackett informed the caucus that he would also resign the deputy-leadership when Nash retired. He was replaced by Hugh Watt.[13] He did however intend to stay in parliament and had been re-selected to contest Grey Lynn at the upcoming 1963 general election.[2]


On 19 March 1963 Hackett collapsed and died at his New Lynn home. He was buried at Purewa Cemetery.[1] He was survived by his wife, three sons and daughter.[2]


  1. ^ a b Verran, David (2000). "Frederick (Fred) Hackett". Archived from the original on 26 October 2009. Retrieved 3 May 2016. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Mr F. Hackett Dies After Illness". The New Zealand Herald. 20 March 1963. p. 1.
  3. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 202.
  4. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 212.
  5. ^ a b Sinclair 1976, p. 355.
  6. ^ a b c Wilson 1985, p. 84.
  7. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 128.
  8. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 131.
  9. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 120.
  10. ^ Hobbs 1967, p. 115.
  11. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 88.
  12. ^ "Labour Party Elects Deputy Leader". The Evening Post. 7 June 1962. p. 15.
  13. ^ Sinclair 1976, p. 357.


Political offices
Preceded by
Paddy Webb
and Minister of Telegraphs

Succeeded by
Walter Broadfoot
Preceded by
James O'Brien
Minister of Transport
Succeeded by
William Goosman
Preceded by
John McAlpine
Minister of Labour
Succeeded by
Tom Shand
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
John A. Lee
Member of Parliament for Grey Lynn
Succeeded by
Reginald Keeling
Party political offices
Preceded by
Jerry Skinner
Deputy Leader of the New Zealand Labour Party
Succeeded by
Hugh Watt