Wellington Citizens' Association

(Redirected from Wellington Citizens League)

The Wellington Citizens' Association, was a right-leaning local body electoral ticket in Wellington, New Zealand. It was formed in 1911 by merging the selection process of council candidates of several civic interest groups and business lobby groups. Its main ambitions were to continue to control the Wellington City Council, reduce local spending and deny left-leaning Labour Party candidates being elected.

Wellington Citizens' Association
Founded1907
Dissolved2001
IdeologyFiscal conservatism
Nonpartisanism
Localism
Political positionCentre-right
ColoursBlue & White
SloganAdvance Wellington![1]

HistoryEdit

The Citizens' Association was founded in 1907 under the name of the Wellington Citizens League, created with the goal of electing "desirable" candidates to the Wellington City Council to represent the needs of businessmen in the local community.[2] In 1921 the Citizens League was renamed as the Civic League a name it would retain until changing names again to the Citizens' Association in 1932 in the lead up to the 1933 civic elections. The body grew from the earlier Civic League organisation and also absorbed the Greater Wellington Electors' Association and Ratepayers' Association to jointly nominate and endorse candidates for local government. It picked candidates from applicants for Wellington's mayoralty, City Council, Harbour Board and Hospital Board. Despite several publicly embarrassing selection controversies (such as in 1950, 1956 and 1965),[3] the Citizens' Association controlled the council from the time of its inception until finally losing its decades long majority in 1986 when the Labour Party won its first ever majority with Labour's Jim Belich also capturing the mayoralty for Labour.[4] It was less successful in controlling the Mayoralty particularly during the 18 year period of 1956–74 when Labour's Frank Kitts was Mayor.[5]

The last time the Citizens' Association contested an election was a 1997 by-election where it backed Ian Hutchings, who finished second in the Northern Ward.[6] In the lead up to the 1998 mayoral election the Citizens' were considering contesting the mayoralty, with councillor Chris Parkin seen as the most likely candidate.[7] Ultimately it did not contest any seats at the election, instead endorsing the Wellington Alive ticket for the city and regional council. In 1999 it blocked former councillor Bryan Weyburne's attempt to create a new "Citizens and Ratepayers" ticket, arguing it was infringing on the Citizens' Association's name. At the time of the dispute Citizens' Association president Les Stephens stated that the Citizens' were intending to contest the 2001 local elections.[8]

Relationship with the National PartyEdit

The Citizens' Association, throughout its entire existence, had no formal link with the National Party (which does not contest local elections) or any other political party. Many times opponents attempted to debunk the Citizens' Association claim to possess an "anti-party" ideology (and thusly contrast themselves from Labour candidates) by linking the two.[9]

The matter surfaced several times such as in the 1977 elections when Labour mayoral candidate Sir Frank Kitts stated that he had been informed by Citizens' Association members that the National Party had been using its head office officials to advise the Citizens' Association about its local election campaign and how best to keep Labour out of local office. The director of the National Party, Barrie Leay, said the claim was "totally untrue" and the Citizens' campaign co-ordinator Michael Veal also denied any contact with the National Party.[10][11] In 1983 Citizens' leader, and mayoral candidate, Ian Lawrence replied at a husting that he did not know which of his colleagues were or were not National Party members and nor did he care; "It [National membership] is not a criterion. The Citizens' Association of Wellington has no formal connection with the National Party."[12] In 1992, when responding to a jibe that the Citizens' Association were just "the National Party in local body drag", Citizens' president John Liddiard stated "For sure, we have National Party members but we also have people who aren't aligned to a political party."[13]

Unmistakably however, several Citizens' councillors (such as Charles Bowden, Allan Highet and Arthur Kinsella) were National MPs and many more (including Will Appleton, Ernest Toop and Michael Fowler) have stood unsuccessfully for parliament as National candidates. Between 1938 and 1966 alone there were 11 Citizens' candidates who stood as National Party candidates demonstrating a presence of joint membership, informal or otherwise.[14]

Electoral resultsEdit

Council seatsEdit

Year no. of seats won % of seats ±
1907
9 / 15
60.0%   9
1909
11 / 15
73.3%   2
1911
10 / 15
66.6%   1
1913
9 / 15
60.0%   1
1915
13 / 15
86.6%   4
1917
14 / 15
93.3%   1
1919
9 / 15
60.0%   5
1921
13 / 15
86.6%   4
1923
13 / 15
86.6%   0
1925
12 / 15
80.0%   1
1927
11 / 15
73.3%   1
1929
12 / 15
80.0%   1
1931
11 / 15
73.3%   1
1933
7 / 15
46.6%   4
1935
9 / 15
60.0%   2
1938
9 / 15
60.0%   0
1941
15 / 15
100.0%   6
1944
15 / 15
100.0%   0
1947
15 / 15
100.0%   0
1950
8 / 15
53.3%   7
1953
9 / 15
60.0%   1
1956
9 / 15
60.0%   0
1959
12 / 15
80.0%   3
1962
11 / 15
73.3%   1
1965
10 / 15
66.6%   1
1968
10 / 15
66.6%   0
1971
8 / 15
53.3%   2
1974
12 / 18
66.6%   4
1977
10 / 18
55.5%   2
1980
10 / 18
55.5%   0
1983
9 / 18
50.0%   1
1986
9 / 21
42.8%   0
1989
9 / 21
42.8%   0
1992
6 / 21
28.5%   3
1995
4 / 18
22.2%   2

MayoraltyEdit

Year Candidate Popular vote Percentage Result +/-
1910 Thomas Wilford 6,248 54.26 Elected 1st
1911 Thomas Wilford Unopposed Elected 1st
1912 John Smith 1,907 18.45 Unelected 3rd
1913 John Luke 9,997 51.29 Elected 1st
1914 John Luke 11,555 56.44 Elected 1st
1915 John Luke 9,987 53.56 Elected 1st
1917 John Luke Unopposed Elected 1st
1919 John Luke 7,361 42.57 Elected 1st
1921 Robert Wright 13,405 65.33 Elected 1st
1923 Robert Wright 10,876 42.30 Elected 1st
1925 Charles Norwood 13,180 52.87 Elected 1st
1927 George Troup 12,549 54.45 Elected 1st
1929 George Troup 14,407 60.97 Elected 1st
1931 Thomas Hislop 13,593 52.68 Elected 1st
1933 Thomas Hislop Unopposed Elected 1st
1935 Thomas Hislop 21,505 53.08 Elected 1st
1938 Thomas Hislop 24,368 56.85 Elected 1st
1941 Thomas Hislop 19,919 63.92 Elected 1st
1944 Will Appleton 29,899 58.80 Elected 1st
1947 Will Appleton 27,000 54.17 Elected 1st
1950 Robert Macalister 17,582 52.02 Elected 1st
1953 Robert Macalister 21,809 48.78 Elected 1st
1956 Ernest Toop 11,920 31.28 Unelected 2nd
1959 Ernest Toop 17,680 48.47 Unelected 2nd
1962 Bill Arcus 10,821 31.79 Unelected 2nd
1965 Matt Benney 11,966 38.64 Unelected 2nd
1968 Bob Archibald 9,569 33.91 Unelected 2nd
1971 Alex O'Shea 9,915 31.37 Unelected 2nd
1974 Michael Fowler 14,980 41.36 Elected 1st
1977 Michael Fowler 17,041 40.92 Elected 1st
1980 Michael Fowler 17,964 51.63 Elected 1st
1983 Ian Lawrence 19,952 49.28 Elected 1st
1986 Ian Lawrence 16,519 44.62 Unelected 2nd
1989 Rex Nicholls 14,183 27.70 Unelected 3rd
1992 Ken Comber 8,751 15.31 Unelected 3rd
1995 Nigel Gould 4,414 7.08 Unelected 4th
Citizens' Mayors

NotesEdit

  1. ^ "Advance Wellington!". Evening Post. Vol. CII, no. 49. 26 August 1921. p. 2. Retrieved 9 August 2016.
  2. ^ Betts 1970, pp. 132.
  3. ^ Betts 1970, pp. 156–7, 184–6.
  4. ^ Franks & McAloon 2016, p. 225.
  5. ^ Betts 1970, pp. 262.
  6. ^ "Hutchings backed by Citizens group". The Dominion. 12 March 1997.
  7. ^ Zatorski, Lidia (12 January 1998). "Political groups eye mayoral race". The Evening Post. p. 13.
  8. ^ Johnson, Ann-Marie (30 October 1999). "Citizens' groups argue over name". The Evening Post. p. 3.
  9. ^ Betts 1970, pp. 188.
  10. ^ "National Party Denies Claim". The Evening Post. 28 September 1977.
  11. ^ "Citizens candidates confess their politics". The Evening Post. 20 September 1983.
  12. ^ O'Leary, Eileen (21 April 1992). "Party clothes shed 'for city's sake'". The Evening Post.
  13. ^ Betts 1970, pp. Appendix 17.

ReferencesEdit

  • Betts, G.M. (1970). Betts on Wellington: A City and its Politics. Wellington: A. H. & A. W. Reed Ltd. ISBN 0 589 00469 7.
  • Franks, Peter; McAloon, Jim (2016). Labour: The New Zealand Labour Party 1916–2016. Wellington: Victoria University Press. ISBN 978-1-77656-074-5.