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Prime Ministers : a history of Cabinet Government in New Zealand

Gavin McLean is working on this project, the third in the series on the history of government in New Zealand – following John E. Martin's The House: New Zealand's House of Representatives 1854-2004 (Dunmore Press, 2004) and Gavin McLean's The Governors – New Zealand's Governors and Governors-General (2006).

In the 160 years since Henry Sewell led New Zealand's first short, shaky ministry, around 40 men and women have held an office whose title has changed from 'colonial secretary' to 'premier' to 'prime minister.' Some are famous – Richard John Seddon, Michael Joseph Savage and Robert Muldoon – while others – George Marsden Waterhouse or Thomas Noble Mackenzie – are barely remembered.

This project will examine the evolving history of government by Prime Minister and Cabinet. It will look at the people who held office, government formation and Cabinet management as individuals and institutions responded to changes. It will pay particular attention to the second half of the twentieth century when New Zealand's political culture deepened and the nation developed a more assertive identity.


Updated on 20th September 2016