Story: Political parties

Getting along

Getting along

Neither National nor Labour introduced fundamental changes to New Zealand's industrial relations system In the 1960s and 1970s. Despite sometimes heated rhetoric and conflicts, union and political leaders often had sufficient common interest (and sometimes good personal relationships) to work together.

This 1976 cartoon shows Federation of Labour president Tom Skinner and National Party Prime Minister Rob Muldoon persuading workers to accept a nil wage order from the Court of Arbitration. Although Labour was traditionally the workers' party, Skinner and Muldoon had more than a working relationship, enjoying each other's company. A few weeks later the two were at odds – the Federation of Labour joined the Employers' Federation in re-applying for a wage order, and the union and employer representatives on the three-person Court of Arbitration Court found in favour of a 5% general wage order. Muldoon described the joint move as an 'unholy alliance'. (Quoted in Pat Wash, 'An unholy alliance: the 1968 nil wage order.' New Zealand Journal of History 28, no. 2 (October 1994), p.189.)

Courtesy of Peter Bromhead

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Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: A-347-014
Cartoon by Peter Bromhead

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Jennifer Curtin and Raymond Miller, 'Political parties - Two party dominance, 1935 to 1978', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/cartoon/34307/getting-along (accessed 6 December 2019)

Story by Jennifer Curtin and Raymond Miller, published 20 Jun 2012, reviewed & revised 21 Jul 2015