Story: Cabinet government

Collective responsibility: skittled (1st of 3)

Collective responsibility: skittled

A cabinet that is fractured is politically vulnerable, as this cartoon of 15 April 1882 suggests. Minister of Native Affairs John Bryce had recently ordered troops to march on the Māori village of Parihaka to arrest leaders of a passive resistance movement protesting against the survey of confiscated Taranaki land. Although the government publicly agreed with his stance, there was disagreement within cabinet about his methods. When Bryce found out accidentally about Premier John Hall's opposition to his approach, he resigned, and this precipitated the resignation of the entire cabinet. In this cartoon the ministers are depicted as being skittled (knocked over) by a ball labelled 'incompetence'. They are, (clockwise from left) Thomas Dick, William Rolleston, Frederick Whitaker, Richard Oliver, Harry Atkinson, John Bryce and Walter Johnson.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: A-095-028
Cartoon by William Hutchison

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:

Chris Eichbaum, 'Cabinet government - Collective responsibility', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 23 November 2019)

Story by Chris Eichbaum, published 20 Jun 2012