Sidney Holland


Sidney Hollad

The Hollands were a Canterbury political dynasty. Sid’s father, Henry, a mayor of Christchurch, entered Parliament in 1925. Son Eric followed Sid into the House.

After war service, Sid Holland founded a manufacturing company with his brother. Active in business organisations, he flirted with the extreme right before joining National and entering Parliament in 1935.

No intellectual but a sharp debater, Holland boosted a divided, demoralised opposition and became party leader in 1940. His position was strengthened when Gordon Coates and former leader Adam Hamilton joined Labour’s War Cabinet.

Holland became PM in 1949. A year later he abolished the Legislative Council, and in 1951, after winning the Waterfront Dispute, he increased his majority in a snap election.

Like William Massey, Holland was pragmatic. He ensured that National preserved ‘Labour’s social security while restoring, under free enterprise, the spiritual values of liberty, individual initiative, and loyalty to the traditions of empire.’

Holland’s health began to deteriorate in 1956, and he was persuaded to step down just weeks before the 1957 election.

By Gavin McLean

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