Bill Barnard

William Edward (Bill) Barnard CBE (29 January 1886 - 12 March 1958) was a New Zealand politician. He was a member of Parliament from 1928 until 1943, and was its Speaker from 1936 till 1943. He was known for his association with John A. Lee, a prominent left-wing politician.

Early life

Barnard was born in Carterton, a town in the Wairarapa region. He studied law at Victoria University of Wellington, and became a lawyer in 1908. He eventually settled in Te Aroha, where he served on the Borough Council. In 1915, he travelled to the United Kingdom and joined the Royal Army Medical Corps to serve in World War I. After serving for a time in Egypt, he became a gunner in the Royal Field Artillery, serving in Palestine. Following the war, he returned to New Zealand and resumed practice as a lawyer.

Parliamentary career

Becoming increasingly interested in left-wing politics, Barnard joined the young Labour Party in 1923. He was a good friend of John A. Lee, one of the more radical members of the Labour Party. Barnard rose quickly, being elected to the Labour Party's national executive in 1924. In the 1925 elections, he was Labour's candidate in the Kaipara seat — the incumbent was Gordon Coates, the Prime Minister, and Barnard was unsuccessful. In the 1928 elections, he stood in the seat of Napier, and narrowly defeated the incumbent Reform Party MP. In the 1935 elections, he was returned with a comfortable majority, perhaps assisted by his work in response to the Napier earthquake.

When the Labour Party won power in 1935, many believed that he would be appointed Minister of Justice. In the end, however, this position was given to Rex Mason. Instead, Barnard was nominated as Speaker of the House. He was elected to this position in March 1936.

Politically, Barnard was on the left of the Labour Party, and was strongly influenced by the social credit theory of monetary reform. He was also a strong Anglican, and considered himself to be a Christian socialist. Barnard became known as one of the senior members of the left-leaning, creditist faction of the party, although his old friend John A. Lee was the faction's "de facto" leader. As Lee's relationship with the Labour Party leadership deteriorated, Barnard sided with Lee. Lee was eventually expelled, and after Peter Fraser, an opponent of Lee, was elected leader on 4 April 1940, Barnard himself resigned from the party.

Barnard then assisted Lee in the launch of the new Democratic Labour Party, becoming one of its two MPs. Despite his departure from the governing party, he retained the office of Speaker. Soon, however, Barnard became dissatisfied with Lee's style of leadership, considering it to be egotistical and autocratic. Rather than seek re-election as a Democratic Labour Party candidate, he opted to stand as an independent, but was defeated.

Later life

Following his departure from Parliament, Barnard returned to law, setting up a legal practice in Tauranga. In 1950, he became mayor, serving for two years. He also undertook considerable work with various non-profit organisations, including the Society for Closer Relations with Russia, the Institute of Pacific Relations's New Zealand branch, the New Zealand Five Million Club (promoting population growth), and the New Zealand Council for the Adoption of Chinese Refugee Children. For the latter, he was awarded the Order of the Brilliant Star by the government of the Republic of China. In 1957, he was made a CBE.

Barnard died in Auckland on 12 March 1958.

Further reading

:*citation |first = Neill |last = Atkinson |title = 'Barnard, William Edward 1886 - 1958'. Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, updated 22 June 2007 |url = |accessdate = 2008-04-08

:*citation |first = W. E. |last = Barnard |title = This socialism |place = Napier, [N.Z.] |publisher = Swailes Print |date = 1938

:*citation |first = W. E. |last = Barnard |title = The speech of a New Zealander: being text of a speech at Napier |place = Auckland, [N.Z.] |publisher = Printed by the Auckland Service Printery for John A. Lee |date = 1940

:*"This speech gives the reasons for Barnard's resignation from the" Labour Party.

:*citation |first = W. E. |last = Barnard |title = World challenge to Christianity |place = Auckland, [N.Z.] |publisher = Auckland Service Print |date = c.1941

:*citation |first = Martin |last = Collins |title = This is the house that Hamilton built! |place = Auckland, [N.Z.] |publisher = Better Business |date = 1944

:*"This tract was partly based on a paper considered by a conference of national organisations, called by the Associated Chambers of Commerce of New Zealand and held at Wellington ... submitted by W.E. Barnard ... and Harry Valder." " [taken from Te Puna record]

:*citation |first1 = John A. |last1 = Lee |first2 = William E. |last2 = Barnard |first3 = William J. |last3 = Jordan |title = Returned soldiers vote Labour! |place = Wellington, [N.Z.] |publisher = New Zealand Worker |date = 1935

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