Story: National Party

1931 election race

1931 election race

This 1931 cartoon satirises the divisions in conservative party politics in the early 1930s. Following the collapse of the United–Labour coalition in early 1931, the United Party continued to govern with Reform Party support. The two parties joined forces to fight the 1931 election as a coalition. The cartoon shows the Reform and United party leaders, George Forbes and Gordon Coates, in a chariot race with Labour leader Harry Holland for the election. Titled 'Handicapped by their friends', it suggests that a cast of other conservative candidates might thwart the coalition's chances and see Labour charge ahead. In the end the coalition won, but its overwhelming defeat in 1935 highlighted the need for a single conservative party. This led to the formation of the National Party the following year.

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Penguin Random House
Reference: Barry Gustafson, The first 50 years: a history of the New Zealand National Party. Auckland: Reed Methuen, 1986, p.5
Cartoon by Stuart Peterson

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How to cite this page:

Colin James, 'National Party - Formation and rise', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/cartoon/33900/1931-election-race (accessed 21 June 2021)

Story by Colin James, published 20 Jun 2012, updated 1 Jul 2020