287,292 Pages

The Honourable
Mick Connelly
Connelly in 1969
27th Minister of Works

In office
13 March 1975 – 12 December 1975
Prime Minister Bill Rowling
Preceded by Hugh Watt
Succeeded by Bill Young
12th Minister of Statistics

In office
10 September 1974 – 12 December 1975
Prime Minister Bill Rowling
Preceded by Bill Rowling
Succeeded by Peter Wilkinson
21st Minister of Police

In office
8 December 1972 – 12 December 1975
Prime Minister Norman Kirk
Bill Rowling
Preceded by Percy Allen
Succeeded by Allan McCready
44th Minister of Customs

In office
8 December 1972 – 13 March 1975
Prime Minister Norman Kirk
Bill Rowling
Preceded by George Gair
Succeeded by Roger Douglas
Member of the New Zealand Parliament

In office
27 October 1956 – 14 July 1984
Preceded by Angus McLagan
Succeeded by Margaret Austin
Constituency Riccarton (1956-69)
Wigram (1969-78)
Yaldhurst (1978-84)
Personal details
Born 21 February 1916
Wellington, New Zealand
Died 27 August 2003
Christchurch, New Zealand
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Margaret Kennedy
Relations Michael Connelly (father)
Children 6
Alma mater University of Otago

Michael Aynsley Connelly CMG QSO (21 February 1916 – 27 August 2003), commonly known as Mick Connelly, was a New Zealand politician of the Labour Party, and a Cabinet Minister from 1972 to 1975 in the Third Labour Government.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Early life[edit | edit source]

Connelly was born in Wellington on 21 February 1916. His primary schooling was in Greymouth and later he attended Christian Brothers' High School in Dunedin. He was steeped in unionism and politics from a young age. His father Michael Connelly was a prominent trade unionist, foundation Labour Party member, city councillor and member of the Legislative Council. His mother was the president of the Dunedin women's branch of the Labour Party and wrote articles for several socialist publications. He was politically active himself from a very early age. As a 12 year old schoolboy he walked Dunedin streets delivering pamphlets for the Labour Party.[1]

When aged only 16 he won a scholarship to the University of Otago where he studied commerce. During the Great Depression his scholarship expired. He had to halt his studies and had to take a job as a telegraph boy in order to support himself. He married Margaret Kennedy in 1941, with whom he had six children. During World War II he joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force in 1942. He served in a military administration capacity in New Zealand and the Pacific until 1946. After the war ended he resumed his study and graduated Bachelor of Commerce and became a chartered accountant. He then worked for several government departments. He moved to Christchurch taking up a position as an investigating officer with Inland Revenue.[1]

Political career[edit | edit source]

Parliament of New Zealand
Years Term Electorate Party
1956–57 31st Riccarton Labour
1957–60 32nd Riccarton Labour
1960–63 33rd Riccarton Labour
1963–66 34th Riccarton Labour
1966–69 35th Riccarton Labour
1969–72 36th Wigram Labour
1972–75 37th Wigram Labour
1975–78 38th Wigram Labour
1978–81 39th Yaldhurst Labour
1981–84 40th Yaldhurst Labour

Connelly took active roles in Labour Party organisation and stood for Parliament in St Albans in 1954 but was unsuccessful.[1] Connelly was then elected a member of the Christchurch City Council from 1956 on which he served one term until he was defeated in 1959.[2]

He was the Member of Parliament for Riccarton from the 1956 by-election to 1969 election, then Wigram from 1969 to 1978, then Yaldhurst from 1978 to 1984, when he retired. Connelly was described as New Zealand's last old-fashioned "tubthumping" political campaigner. He conducted much of his electioneering by street-corner orations from the bed of a truck in which he travelled his electorate.[1]

Connelly was noted as a forthright man but also won a reputation for fairness. Former parliamentary colleague Michael Bassett said Connelly appreciated people being straight with him but he never bore grudges. The wide respect with which Connelly garnered led him to become a powerbroker within the Labour caucus according to Bassett. His political philosophy tended towards the conservative, sharing many views with National Party MPs. A son said "he had pulled himself up by his bootstraps and he expected others to do the same. He did not believe in handouts, but in promoting export-led economic development, which would give ordinary people a fair go."[1]

From 1972 to 1975 he was a Cabinet Minister in the Third Labour Government. He was Minister of Police, Minister of Customs, Minister of Statistics (1974–75) and Minister of Works and Development (in 1975).[3] Connelly had a strained relationship with Norman Kirk which stemmed from his support for Arnold Nordmeyer during Kirk's leadership challenge in 1965. It peaked when Kirk announced his seating arrangement in the house when Connelly asked why he had been moved to the second row to which Kirk replied "Because it would have looked too bad to put you in the back row".[4] Eventually their relationship improved after chief whip Henry May revealed to Kirk that Connelly had only nominated Nordmeyer because he had insisted he do so.[5]

He was also Minister in charge of Earthquake and War Damage Commission and Associate Finance Minister. As a minister he exhorted greater consultation with trade unions, to avoid strikes and other industrial strife which he found distasteful.[1] Warren Freer's only criticism of him was his handwriting; "if he wrote you a note it took ages to decipher it".[6]

In opposition after the defeat of the Third Labour Government Connelly initially retained a frontbench seat and held a series of portfolios. From 1975 to 1978 he was Shadow Minister of Social Welfare, from 1978 to 1979 he was Shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs and was Shadow Minister of Defence from 1979 to 1984.[7][8][9] When David Lange replaced Bill Rowling Connelly retained the Defence portfolio but was relegated to the backbenches and retired, reluctantly, at the 1984 election.[10][11]

Later life[edit | edit source]

Connelly later became chairman of the National Water and Soil Conservation Authority. He advocated for retaining high quality land for farming, surrounding Christchurch with a Green Belt and the creation of a satellite town at Rolleston. Connelly was involved in the establishment of the Canterbury Savings Bank and was its inaugural president. He also served on a host of community bodies, including the councils of both the University of Canterbury and the then Lincoln College.[1]

He was interested in a wide range of sports, especially cricket and racing.[1] In 1977, Connelly was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal.[12] He was appointed a Companion of the Queen's Service Order for public services in the 1984 Queen's Birthday Honours.[13] In the 1988 Queen's Birthday Honours, he was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George, for public service.[14] In 1990, he received the New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal.[12]

For some time, he was the president of the Association of Former Members of the Parliament of New Zealand. Connelly remarked how he used to enjoy political discussions with National Party members over drinks, knowing that nothing said there would be used later in character assassination in the House. He regretted this was no longer the case in politics. He was for many years a close friend of National Party MP Bert Walker and one of his sons, John, stood for National in Yaldhurst in 1990.[1]

Connelly died on 27 August 2003[15] aged 87.[16] He was survived by his wife, four sons, two daughters and multiple grandchildren and great- grandchildren.[1][15]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Crean, Mike (6 September 2003). "Politician with old street style". The Press. p. 17. 
  2. "Councillors of the City of Christchurch". Christchurch: Christchurch City Council. http://www1.ccc.govt.nz/handbook/councillorsofthecityofchristchurch.asp. 
  3. Wilson 1985, p. 92f.
  4. Hayward 1981, p. 38.
  5. Logan 2008, p. 416.
  6. Freer 2004, p. 172.
  7. "Surprises Among Party Spokesmen". The New Zealand Herald. 30 January 1976. p. 10. 
  8. "Rowling shuffles his pack". Auckland Star. 9 December 1978. p. 3. 
  9. "Heads of Labour Posts Named". The New Zealand Herald. 15 December 1979. p. 12. 
  10. "Labour leader allocates responsibilities". The Press. 17 March 1983. p. 3. 
  11. "Mr Moore Jumps to Third Spot in Labour Line-Up". The New Zealand Herald. 7 April 1983. p. 1. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 Taylor, Alister; Coddington, Deborah (1994). Honoured by the Queen – New Zealand. Auckland: New Zealand Who's Who Aotearoa. p. 105. ISBN 0-908578-34-2. 
  13. "No. 49769". 16 June 1984. p. 3. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/49769/supplement/3 
  14. "No. 51367". 11 June 1988. p. 33. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/51367/supplement/33 
  15. 15.0 15.1 "Obituaries — Hon Michael Aynsley Connelly". New Zealand Parliament. http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/Debates/Debates/e/3/b/47HansD_20030828_00000001-Obituaries-Hon-Michael-Aynsley-Connelly.htm. 
  16. Horton, Murray. "MICK CONNELLY & FRANK O'FLYNN". http://www.converge.org.nz/abc/pr28-89.html. 

References[edit | edit source]

  • Freer, Warren (2004). A Lifetime in Politics: the memoirs of Warren Freer. Wellington: Victoria University Press. ISBN 0-86473-478-6. 
  • Hayward, Margaret (1981). Diary of the Kirk Years (1 ed.). Wellington: A.H. and A.W. Reed Limited. ISBN 0-589-01350-5. 
  • Logan, Mary (2008). Nordy, Arnold Nordmeyer a political biography (1 ed.). Wellington: Steele Roberts Publishers. ISBN 978-1-877448-33-1. 
  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985). New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103. 
Political offices
Preceded by
George Gair
Minister of Customs
Succeeded by
Roger Douglas
Preceded by
Percy Allen
Minister of Police
Succeeded by
Allan McCready
Preceded by
Bill Rowling
Minister of Statistics
Succeeded by
Peter Wilkinson
Preceded by
Hugh Watt
Minister of Works
Succeeded by
Bill Young
Unrecognised parameter
Preceded by
Angus McLagan
Member of Parliament for Riccarton
Succeeded by
Eric Holland
New constituency Member of Parliament for Wigram
Constituency abolished, recreated in 1996
Title next held by
Jim Anderton
Member of Parliament for Yaldhurst
Succeeded by
Margaret Austin

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