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Ronald Leslie Bailey QSO (15 December 1926 – 16 April 2015) was a New Zealand politician of the Labour Party.

Ron Bailey

Ron Bailey.jpg
21st Minister of Railways
In office
10 September 1974 – 12 December 1975
Prime MinisterBill Rowling
Preceded byTom McGuigan
Succeeded byColin McLachlan
Personal details
Born15 December 1926
Napier, New Zealand
Died16 April 2015(2015-04-16) (aged 88)
Auckland, New Zealand
Political partyLabour

Early lifeEdit

Bailey was born in Napier in 1926. He grew up in various public works camps and attended four different primary schools in the central North Island. He received his secondary education at Wairoa District High School (now Wairoa College) and Gisborne High School. His first jobs were as a clerk and a carpenter. He became a union organiser in 1956.[1]

Political careerEdit

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1960–1963 33rd Heretaunga Labour
1963–1966 34th Heretaunga Labour
1966–1969 35th Heretaunga Labour
1969–1972 36th Heretaunga Labour
1972–1975 37th Heretaunga Labour
1975–1978 38th Heretaunga Labour
1978–1981 39th Heretaunga Labour
Plaque from his period as Minister of Railways at Hamilton Railway Station, Waikato

When Phil Holloway retired from the Heretaunga electorate,[1] Bailey won the Labour Party nomination and the subsequent election.[2] He served seven terms and retired in 1981, when he was succeeded by Bill Jeffries.[3]

Bailey was Labour's junior whip from 1966 to 1972.[4] He was Chairman of Committees from 16 February 1973 until 10 September 1974.[5]

He was the Minister of Railways[6] in the Third Labour Government and Minister of Electricity from 10 September 1974 to 12 December 1975, when National came to power.[7]

In 1977, Bailey was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal.[8]

Bailey was not a member of the Fourth Labour Government, but was the convenor of the Backbone Club formed to support Roger Douglas against Jim Anderton.[9]

After politicsEdit

Bailey struggled to find permanent work when he left parliament. He worked as a real estate agent for a while but found it hard to persuade people to take on high debt. For a while, he and his wife manufactured artisan chocolate at their home. He then became a review officer for the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) and went to retirement when he was 66.[1] In the 1987 Queen's Birthday Honours, Bailey appointed a Companion of the Queen's Service Order for public services,[10] and in 1990 he was awarded the New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal.[8]

Private lifeEdit

Bailey was married to Shirley for 29 years, when she died. They had one daughter and one son. His second wife was Barbara; she was the electorate secretary for Roger Douglas. They first met during the election campaign for the Mangere by-election in 1977.[1] They later moved to Auckland and he died there on 16 April 2015, survived by his second wife.[11]

Notes and referencesEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Fitzsimons, Tom (9 June 2015). "Veteran Labour MP Ron Bailey became vocal Rogernomics supporter". The Dominion Post. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  2. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 181.
  3. ^ Wilson 1985, pp. 181, 208.
  4. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 281.
  5. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 252.
  6. ^ Leitch & Stott 1988, p. Appendix two – Ministers of Railways 1895–1988.
  7. ^ Wilson 1985, pp. 93–94.
  8. ^ a b Taylor, Alister; Coddington, Deborah (1994). Honoured by the Queen – New Zealand. Auckland: New Zealand Who's Who Aotearoa. p. 53. ISBN 0-908578-34-2.
  9. ^ Bassett, Michael (2008). Working with David: Inside the Lange Cabinet. Auckland: Hodder Moa. p. 586 (Note 2). ISBN 978-1-86971-094-1.
  10. ^ "No. 50950". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 June 1987. p. 33.
  11. ^ "Ronald Bailey obituary". New Zealand Herald. 20 April 2015. Retrieved 20 April 2015.


  • Stott, Bob; Leitch, David (1988). New Zealand Railways: The First 125 Years. Auckland: Heinemann Reed. ISBN 0-7900-0000-8.
  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.
Political offices
Preceded by
Richard Harrison
Chairman of Committees of the House of Representatives
Succeeded by
Jonathan Hunt
Preceded by
Tom McGuigan
Minister of Railways
Succeeded by
Colin McLachlan
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Phil Holloway
Member of Parliament for Heretaunga
Succeeded by
Bill Jeffries