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Thomas Kelly (New Zealand politician)

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1869–1870 4th Town of New Plymouth Independent
1871–1875 5th Town of New Plymouth Independent
1875–1879 6th Town of New Plymouth Independent
1879–1881 7th New Plymouth Independent
1881–1884 8th New Plymouth Independent

Thomas Kelly (1830 – 20 September 1921) was a 19th-century Member of Parliament in Taranaki, New Zealand.

He represented the Town of New Plymouth electorate from 1869 to 1879, and then the (renamed) New Plymouth electorate from 1879 to 1884, when he was defeated.[1]

He then became a member of the Legislative Council from 1892 to 1913.[1]

In 1893 Kelly, a new councillor was at the centre of a drama that led to the passing of the Women's suffrage bill into law. Premier Seddon had expected to stop the bill in the upper house, but found that one more vote was needed. Kelly had left himself paired in favour of the measure, but Seddon obtained his consent by wire to change his vote. Seddon’s manipulation so incensed two opposition councillors William Hunter Reynolds and Edward Cephas John Stevens that they changed sides and voted for the bill, allowing it to pass by 20 votes to 18 and so gave the vote to women.[2]

Kelly died at his home in Bell Block on 20 September 1921,[3] and was buried at Te Henui Cemetery.[4]


  1. ^ a b Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.
  2. ^ Women's Suffrage in New Zealand by Patricia Grimshaw, p 92 (1972, Auckland University Press)
  3. ^ "Personal matters". Evening Post. 21 September 1921. p. 8. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
  4. ^ "Cemetery search". New Plymouth District Council. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Harry Atkinson
Member of Parliament for Town of New Plymouth
Constituency renamed
New title
Constituency renamed
Member of Parliament for New Plymouth
Succeeded by
Oliver Samuel