Labour Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage opens the head office of the new department of social security on 27 March 1939. After suffering setbacks in the 1920s, the Labour Party was finally swept into government in 1935. They set up a comprehensive welfare state to protect New Zealanders from what many had suffered in the depression. In his victory speech, Savage outlined the party’s vision of a decent standard of living and economic security for ordinary New Zealand working families. The welfare state was paid for by raising taxes.
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