Sir Sidney George Holland

(1893—1961) prime minister of New Zealand

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(b. 18 Oct. 1893, d. 5 Aug. 1961).

Prime Minister of New Zealand 1949–57 Born in Greendale (Canterbury), he served in World War I and became a successful businessman thereafter. In 1935 he followed his father into the House of Representatives and in 1940 became leader of the National Party due to their desperate search for a vigorous and youthful leader. After a brief period in the War Cabinet, he set about rebuilding his divided party, which eventually came to power in 1949. As Prime Minister, he gradually relaxed the state controls on enterprise established during the war. In 1950, he abolished the Upper House and the Legislative Council. In 1951, he used the bitter strike by the Waterside Worker's Union to call a general election, which he won with a comfortable majority.

Holland shifted the National Party to the left, whereby it endorsed pragmatic conservatism, for example through strengthening much of the social welfare legislation which had been introduced by the Labour Party. In foreign policy, he committed troops to fight in the Korean War, and welcomed the creation of ANZUS and SEATO, which New Zealand joined. Despite his emphasis on the need for closer relations with the USA and its Asian neighbours, he remained strongly committed to the country's links with Britain and the Commonwealth, supporting Eden in the Suez Crisis. He retired owing to ill health.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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