New Zealand: Political Parties Material

Scope and Content

Constitutions, conference reports, pamphlets, leaflets, posters, speeches, letters, newsletters, journals and miscellaneous election materials from 1925, issued at national, local and youth level by the Alliance (New Zealand), the Citizens' Association (Wellington), the Communist Party of Aotearoa, the Communist Party of New Zealand, the Communist Party of New Zealand (Marxist-Leninist), the Communist Party of New Zealand Wellington District Committee, the Imperial British Conservative Party, the New Zealand Labour Party, the New Zealand Labour Party Youth Advisory Council, the National Front (New Zealand), the National Gay Rights Coalition of New Zealand, the Nationalist Workers' Party (New Zealand), the New Labour Party (New Zealand), the New Zealand Christian Democratic Union Party, the New Zealand National Party, the New Zealand Party, the New Zealand Social Credit Political League (Inc.), the New Zealand Socialist Unity Party, the New Zealand Spartacist League, the New Zealand Values Party, the Social Credit Party (New Zealand), the Socialist Action League (New Zealand), A Women's Liberation Group, the Workers' Communist League of New Zealand, and the Young Socialists (N.Z.).

Administrative / Biographical History

Post-war materials predominate in this collection, with the majority of the items dating from the 1960s-1980s. Both main electoral parties (the New Zealand Labour Party and the New Zealand National Party) feature significantly, with the most notable of the issues contested being the economy, especially from the 1970s as world events began to intrude upon New Zealand's previous policy of protectionism, and foreign affairs. The latter provided the largest gap between Labour and the Nationals, the latter continuing to orient policy towards America and the West whilst the former withdrew troops from Vietnam, forced the cancellation of the 1973 Springboks tour and displayed persistent opposition to French nuclear testing in the Pacific. That nuclear technology and other environmental issues were becoming significant political factors in New Zealand in the 1970s is shown by the rise of the Values Party. Although brief this represented the first instance worldwide of a 'green party' commanding significant mass support. Also represented here is the Social Credit Party and its precursor, the Social Credit Political League, adhering to the C.H. Douglas doctrine of cheap money and constituting New Zealand's third party from the 1950s onwards. Outside the realm of electoral politics there are a variety of items produced by right-wing parties of various seriousness, including the National Front and the Imperial British Conservative Party, and a large collection of materials produced by various incarnations of the New Zealand Communist Party. The decision of the latter to take China's side in its dispute with the Soviet Union led to the formation of the Socialist Unity Party in 1966, and another splinter group, the pro-Chinese New Zealand Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) emerged after the mother party transferred its allegiance to Hoxha's Albania after the death of Mao in 1976. All of these labyrinthine quarrels are reproduced here.


Alphabetically by party, and then in rough chronological order.

Access Information

Open to all for research purposes; access is free for anyone in higher education.

Acquisition Information

Institute of Commonwealth Studies

Other Finding Aids

Records at item level on library catalogue (SASCAT)

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Daniel Millum, Political Archives Project Officer at the Institutes of Commonwealth and Latin American Studies.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies can usually be obtained - apply to library staff.

Custodial History

The Commonwealth Political Parties Materials collection was begun in 1960-61, with special emphasis being placed then, as now, on "primary material such as party constitutions, policy statements, convention reports and election manifestos." (ICS, Twelfth Annual Report 1960-1961). Since then, the main method of gathering material has been to appeal directly to political parties throughout the Commonwealth, though contributions from Institute members and staff following visits to relevant countries have been significant. More recently material has been collected by means of downloading documents from the websites of the major parties.


Further accruals are expected, some in electronic form.

Related Material

See also New Zealand: Pressure Groups Material (PG.NZ) and New Zealand: Trades Unions Material (TU.NZ) as well as Political Party, Trades Unions and Pressure Group Materials for other Commonwealth countries and related material in the library's main classified sequence, all held at the ICS.

Geographical Names