Jack Williams (New Zealand politician)

John Henry Williams (21 December 1918 – 12 December 1975) was a New Zealand politician of the Labour Party.

Jack Williams
John Henry Williams.jpg
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Wairarapa
In office
29 November 1969 – 29 November 1975
Preceded byHaddon Donald
Succeeded byBen Couch
Personal details
John Henry Williams

(1918-12-21)21 December 1918
Lawrence, New Zealand
Died12 December 1975(1975-12-12) (aged 56)
Masterton, New Zealand
Political partyLabour


Early lifeEdit

Williams was born in Lawrence, Otago on 21 December 1918. His family moved north and he was educated at Kurow. Upon completing his education he moved to the Wairarapa region and took up farming in the town of Bideford.[1]

During World War II Williams enlisted in the New Zealand Army. He served in both Egypt and Italy rising to the rank of sergeant-major by the end of the war. After the war he returned to farming in Bideford and was allocated a 1,000 acre rehabilitation farm section, but later moved to farm at Te Ore Ore, near Masterton, instead.[2] He later became a farming equipment salesman.[3] He was also an executive member of the Masterton Secondary Schools' Board of Governors.[4]

Political careerEdit

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1969–1972 36th Wairarapa Labour
1972–1975 37th Wairarapa Labour

Williams was for many years a member of the Masterton Licensing Trust. He stood unsuccessfully for the Labour Party in the 1963 election and 1966 election for the marginal Wairarapa seat. In the 1969 election and 1972 election he was successful, and he represented the Wairarapa electorate from 1969 to 1975. In 1974 he stood unsuccessfully for the role of Labour's junior whip. His majority in 1969 was 467 votes, and in 1972 was 1,086 votes.[5]

In the 1975 election he was defeated by Ben Couch.[6] During the middle of the 1975 election campaign he was admitted to hospital with a serious heart condition, after collapsing, leaving him little opportunity to campaign.[1] His wife Chriss said that long hours, local duties to constituents and late at night debates at Parliament led him to often return home greatly fatigued which contributed to his collapse.[2] After spending four weeks in hospital he was discharged before being readmitted once again before finally being released to recuperate at home.[7]


He died shortly after the election at his home in Masterton, aged 56 years.[1] The Masterton Licensing Trust instructed hotels to close early on the day of his funeral as a mark of respect for his service.[1] A notification of Williams' death was the first message Bill Rowling received after moving in to the office of Leader of the Opposition.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d "Former MP Dies". The Evening Post. 12 December 1975. p. 22.
  2. ^ a b "Defeated Labour M.P. dies". The Press. Vol. CXV, no. 34025. 13 December 1975. p. 2.
  3. ^ "Many New Faces". The Otago Daily Times. 1 December 1969. p. 6.
  4. ^ "18 New Members Elected". The Press. Vol. CIX, no. 32159. 1 December 1969. p. 1.
  5. ^ Norton, Clifford (1988). New Zealand Parliamentary Election Results 1946-1987: Occasional Publications No 1, Department of Political Science. Wellington: Victoria University of Wellington. ISBN 0-475-11200-8.
  6. ^ Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. p. 245. OCLC 154283103.
  7. ^ "Former M.P. out of hospital". The Press. Vol. CXV, no. 34024. 12 December 1975. p. 10.
  8. ^ "Mr Rowling's Tribute to Mr Williams". The Evening Post. 13 December 1975. p. 2.
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Wairarapa
Succeeded by