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New Zealand Upper House

December 23, 2020 December 2020 No Comments

New Zealand’s parliament included an Upper House called the Legislative Chamber from 1853 until 1951. It consisted of a minimum of ten members appointed by the Governor General. At first it was an independent body however from the 1890s it became controlled by the Government of the day and as a result possessed little influence and rarely criticised Bills  before it.

However as Parliament was unable to amend the New Zealand Constitution Act of 1852, it had to first adopt the Statute of Westminster of 1931 which it did by adopting the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1947. Are you still with me?

The ruling Labour Government of the time which had instigated the abolition did not actually get to pass this as it lost power in the 1949 election. 

This was done in 1951 by incoming National Government under Sid Holland who stacked the Legislative Council with twenty new members, who became known as the suicide squad  to ensure that it would pass  the legislation abolishing itself as the Australian State Queensland had already done. 

To encourage co-operation of the other Legislative Council members Holland also promised to use the money saved through the abolition to set up  a fund for the retired members – I.E. themselves.  

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