Sir John Ross Marshall GBE CH ED PC (5 March 1912 – 30 August 1988), commonly known as Jack Marshall, was a New Zealand politician of the National Party. He entered Parliament in 1946 and was first promoted to Cabinet in 1951. After spending twelve years as Deputy Prime Minister, he served as the 28th Prime Minister from February until December 1972, following the defeat of National at the general election held in November.
Sir Jack Marshall
Marshall in September 1957
|28th Prime Minister of New Zealand|
7 February 1972 – 8 December 1972
|Preceded by||Keith Holyoake|
|Succeeded by||Norman Kirk|
|2nd Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand|
20 September 1957 – 12 December 1957
|Prime Minister||Keith Holyoake|
|Preceded by||Keith Holyoake|
|Succeeded by||Jerry Skinner|
12 December 1960 – 7 February 1972
|Prime Minister||Keith Holyoake|
|Preceded by||Jerry Skinner|
|Succeeded by||Robert Muldoon|
John Ross Marshall
5 March 1912
Wellington, New Zealand
|Died||30 August 1988 (aged 76)|
Snape, Suffolk, England
Jessie Margaret Livingston (m. 1944)
|Alma mater||Victoria University of Wellington|
|Allegiance||New Zealand Army|
|Years of service||1941–1945|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
The Second National Government, in office since 1960, appeared worn-out and out of touch, and at the time of Marshall's appointment, it seemed headed for heavy electoral defeat. After Labour's victory in the 1972 general election, Marshall became Leader of the Opposition. He was determined to remain as leader of the National Party, but in July 1974 was challenged for the leadership by Robert Muldoon, his deputy, rival and successor.
Marshall's politeness and courtesy were well known, and he was sometimes nicknamed Gentleman Jack. He disliked the aggressive style of some politicians, preferring a calmer, less confrontational approach. These traits were sometimes misinterpreted as weakness by his opponents. Marshall was a strong believer in common sense and pragmatism, and he disliked what he considered populism in other politicians of his day.
Marshall was born in Wellington. He grew up in Wellington, Whangarei, and Dunedin, attending Whangarei Boys' High School and Otago Boys' High School. He was noted for his ability at sports, particularly rugby.
After leaving high school, Marshall studied law at Victoria University College. He gained an LL.B. in 1934 and an LL.M. in 1935. He also worked part-time in a law office. He also wrote a series of children's books called Dr Duffer.
In 1941, during World War II, Marshall entered the army, and received officer training. In his first few years of service, he was posted to Fiji, Norfolk Island, New Caledonia, and the Solomon Islands, eventually reaching the rank of major. During this time he also spent five months in the United States at a marine staff school in Virginia. On 29 July 1944, while on leave in Perth, Western Australia, Marshall married Jessie Margaret Livingston, a nurse. At the start of 1945, Marshall was assigned to a unit sent to reinforce New Zealand forces in the Middle East. This unit later participated in the battle of the Senio River and the liberation of Trieste.
Member of ParliamentEdit
|New Zealand Parliament|
After the war, Marshall briefly established himself as a barrister, but was soon persuaded to stand as the National Party's candidate for the new Wellington seat of Mt Victoria in the 1946 election. He won the seat by 911 votes. He was, however, nearly disqualified by a technicality – Marshall was employed at the time in a legal case for the government, something which ran afoul of rules barring politicians from giving business to their own firms. However, because Marshall had taken on the case before his election (and so could not have influenced the government's decision to give him employment), it was obvious that there had been no wrongdoing. As such, the Prime Minister, Peter Fraser of the Labour Party, amended the regulations.
Marshall's political philosophy, which was well-defined at this stage, was a mixture of liberal and conservative values. He was opposed to laissez-faire capitalism, but was equally opposed to the redistribution of wealth advocated by socialists – his vision was of a property-owning society under the benign guidance of a fair and just government. Barry Gustafson states, "[Marshall] was strongly motivated by his Christian faith and by an equally deep intellectual commitment to the principles of liberalism."
In the 1949 election, Marshall kept his seat. The National Party gained enough seats to form a government, and Sidney Holland became Prime Minister. Marshall was elevated to Cabinet, taking ministerial responsibility for the State Advances Corporation. He also became a direct assistant to Holland.
After the 1951 election, Marshall became Minister of Health (although he also retained responsibility for State Advances until 1953). In the 1954 election, his Mt Victoria seat was abolished, and he successfully stood for another Wellington electorate, Karori. After the election, he lost the Health portfolio, instead becoming Minister of Justice and Attorney-General. In these roles, he supported the retention of the capital punishment for murder. In 1957, he proposed a referendum on capital punishment. (New Zealand's last execution was carried out in 1957, during Marshall's time in office.) He also supported the creation of a separate Court of Appeal.
When Holland became ill, Marshall was part of the group that persuaded him to step down. Keith Holyoake became Prime Minister. Marshall sought the deputy leadership, managing to defeat Jack Watts for this post.
Deputy Prime MinisterEdit
Shortly after the leadership change, National lost the 1957 election to Labour's Walter Nash. Marshall, therefore, became deputy leader of the Opposition. The Nash government did not last long, however – its drastic measures to counter an economic crisis proved unpopular. Marshall was later to admit that the crisis had been prompted by a failure to act by the National government, although other members of the National Party dispute this assertion. Labour lost the 1960 election, and National returned to power.
Marshall became Deputy Prime Minister, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice again. He also took up several new positions, including ministerial responsibility for Industries and Commerce, and Overseas Trade, Immigration, and Customs. One of his major achievements was the signing of trade arrangements with Australia and the United Kingdom. Marshall also supported the abolition of compulsory union membership, which had been a National Party election policy – when the government eventually decided not to push forward with the change, Marshall's relations with some of his colleagues were strained.
Marshall promoted the retention of capital punishment for murder. However, Labour under Sir Arnold Nordmeyer was opposed, and in 1961 ten National MPs, including Robert Muldoon, crossed the floor and voted with Labour to abolish it.
Increasingly, as time went on, Marshall became overworked, with Holyoake giving him more and more cabinet responsibilities. In the 1960s he led negotiations over trade consequences if Britain joined the European Economic Community. Marshall was also put under considerable pressure by ongoing labour disputes, which he took a significant role in resolving. Relations between Marshall and Robert Muldoon, the Minister of Finance, grew very tense, with Marshall resenting Muldoon's open interference in the labour negotiations. Marshall was also responsible for establishing the Accident Compensation Corporation.
On 7 February 1972, Holyoake stepped down as Prime Minister. Marshall contested the leadership against Muldoon, and won. Muldoon became Deputy Prime Minister. Marshall was keen to organise the government, believing that it had become stagnated and inflexible. The public, however, were tired of the long-serving National government, and considered the reforms insufficient.
In the 1972 general election, Norman Kirk's Labour Party was triumphant. On 8 December, after less than a year in office, Kirk was sworn in as Prime Minister and Marshall became the leader of the Opposition.
On 4 July 1974, Marshall was informed that a leadership challenge was imminent. Aware that much of his support had drained away, Marshall resigned, and Muldoon became party leader. Marshall's decline was primarily the result of his inability to damage the highly popular Kirk; Marshall's quiet, understated style did not fit well with the aggressive tactics required of an opposition party seeking to return to government. Ironically, Kirk died later that same year and his replacement, Bill Rowling, was perceived as a quiet and non-confrontational leader, just as Marshall had been.
He remained active in the National Party organisation, and was highly respected for his many years of service. Over time he grew ever more critical of Muldoon, accusing him of being overly aggressive and controlling. Muldoon's highly controversial decision to allow a visit by a rugby union team from apartheid South Africa exasperated Marshall even more.
Marshall wrote and published several children's books, his memoirs and a law book. He was active in various charities and cultural organisations, including the New Zealand Chess Association, and was a founder of the New Zealand Portrait Gallery. Many of his later activities were related to his strong Christian faith. Marshall died in Snape, Suffolk, England on 30 August 1988, en route to Budapest to give an address at the world conference of the United Bible Societies. He was survived by his wife and four children.
In the 1973 New Year Honours, Marshall was appointed a Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour, in recognition of his service as New Zealand prime minister, and the following year he was bestowed with a knighthood as a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jack Marshall.|
- New Zealand Army Orders 1952/405
- Gustafson, Barry. "Marshall, John Ross". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 27 August 2013.
- "NZ behind UN resolution to abolish death penalty". beehive.govt.nz. New Zealand Government. 11 October 2007. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
- Chapman, R M; Jackson, W K; Mitchell, A V (1962). New Zealand Politics in Action: the 1960 General Election. London: Oxford University Press.
- "Capital punishment in New Zealand - The death penalty". NZ History. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. 5 August 2014. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
- McLean, Gavin (8 November 2017). "John Marshall". NZ History. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
- "NZ Federation". NZ Federation. Archived from the original on 29 August 2012. Retrieved 1 December 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- "About New Zealand Portrait Gallery". New Zealand Portrait Gallery. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
- Taylor, Alister; Coddington, Deborah (1994). Honoured by the Queen – New Zealand. Auckland: New Zealand Who's Who Aotearoa. p. 345. ISBN 0-908578-34-2.
- "No. 45861". The London Gazette (2nd supplement). 29 December 1972. p. 33.
- "No. 46360". The London Gazette (2nd supplement). 4 October 1974. p. 8345.
- "No. 52953". The London Gazette (2nd supplement). 13 June 1992. p. 30.
| Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand
| Prime Minister of New Zealand
| Minister of Health
| Minister of Justice
|New Zealand Parliament|
|New constituency|| Member of Parliament for Mount Victoria
| Member of Parliament for Karori