William Hall-Jones


William Hall-Jones

William Hall-Jones merely warmed the seat while Richard Seddon’s designated successor, Sir Joseph Ward, returned from Europe. But he was the first leader to enter office as prime minister, not premier.

Already acting leader while Seddon and Ward were overseas, Hall-Jones presented Governor Plunket with a constitutional dilemma. His Excellency wanted to swear him in on condition that he handed over to Ward, but Hall-Jones insisted that Plunket could ‘rely on him to do the right thing when Sir Joseph Ward returned.’

He did, as would be expected of a principled politician who had stood up to an earlier governor over use of the government steamer. After resigning from Parliament in 1907 through ill health, Sir William (knighted in 1910) was high commissioner to London from 1908 to 1912. He served in the Legislative Council until his death in 1936.

By Gavin McLean

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