Story: Families: a history

Labour Party pamphlet, 1925

Labour Party pamphlet, 1925

In the 1925 election campaign the New Zealand Labour Party advocated for a basic wage that assumed that men would be supporting wives and children, and for a motherhood endowment based on the number of children. This election pamphlet shows a well-dressed mother with four attractive children. The possibility that a man on the minimum wage would be able to support a wife and children in this degree of comfort is questioned. The Reform Party, which won the 1925 election, succumbed to pressure to introduce allowances for families and passed the Families Allowances Act in 1926. From 1927 mothers received two shillings a week for their third and subsequent children, if their household income was less than £4 a week. From 1946 family allowances were paid to all mothers for every child. The introduction of family allowances undermined arguments that all men should be paid 'a family wage'.

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Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: Eph-B-NZ-LABOUR-1925-01

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:

Ian Pool and Rosemary Du Plessis, 'Families: a history - Families, wars and economic hardship: 1914–1944', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 25 April 2024)

Story by Ian Pool and Rosemary Du Plessis, published 5 May 2011, updated 1 Jul 2017