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LABOUR PARTY WIN DUNEDIN NORTH BY-ELECTION p.A. DUNEDIN, Sunday. With _a majority of 738 votes in a straight-out contest, the Labour candidate, Mr. R. Walls, won the Dunedin North by-election on Saturday. Details of the voting are as > follow:— R. Walls (Labour) 6316 N. H. Jones (National) . . 5578 Majority for Walls .... 73S ' Voting at the general election in 1943 was as follows: —J. W. Munro (Labour), S038; A. L. Cassie (National), 5240; F. A. Keane (People's Movement), 858; C. M. Ross (Democratic Labour), 263. Majority for Munro, 2798. The number of electors on the roll in 1943 was 15,691.

The election brought to a close a period of intensive campaigning such as Dunedin has seldom seen, and one in which the organisations of both parties worked at high pressure and with considerable efficiency. The campaign was free from personal recriminations and acrimony, both candidates, as well as speakers brought from Parliament, sedulously avoiding the introduction of undignified and unseemly imputations.

Party Leaders' Comments

In a statement after the result was made known, the Prime Minister, Mr. Fraser, said that, in spite of attempts made by the Opposition to exploit shortages and other difficulties which the -war had brought about, the electors of Dunedin North had given Labour authority to proceed with its progressive policy. The result of the by-election had been very much as expected. Mr. Walls was a good candidate, and he had done well to win the seat on the first occasion he submitted himself for election. His majorities would increase in future years. The Prime Minister added that the future of the Labour Government was assured.

The Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Holland, said the result was particularly interesting because there was no complicating factor, such as independent candidates. The Labour nominee, Mr. R. Walls, was one of the most popular men in the movement and was very well known because of his many years' service on local bodies in Dunedin. The National candidate, Mr. Norman Jones, was a brilliant young returned soldier who was quite unknown before his selection. He woyld certainly be heard of again.

"Two facts emerge with crystal clearness," said Mr. Holland. "First there is a big swing against the Government, which, coming on top of our earlier successes in Awarua and Hamilton, shows how widespread the swing really is. Second, the reason for the decision to vote National now of so many people who previously voted Labour lies in their discontent with the Government over its determination to complete its programme of State socialism and interference with the legitimate rights and freedom of the people. The reduction of Labour's major' ty is the clearest possible indicatic that the Labour party is steacaiy on the down grade and has lost its grip on the people's confidence. In view of this the Prime Minister should boldly decide not to proceed with his further programme of State socialisation, pending the general election next year."

A native of Dunedin, Mr. Robert Walls has been a member of the Dunedin City Council, the Otago Harbour Board and the Otago Hospital Board since 1938. In ■the municipal elections of 1944 he headed the polls for the council and the harbour board. -Mr. Walls is a trustee of the Dunedin Savings Bank, and in 1944 was president, a position at that time carrying with it the chairmanship of the National Savings Committee. He is also a member of the Otago Land Sales Committee, the Dunedin Health Committee, the Royal Dunedin Male Choir and the Dunedin Orphans' Club. A member of the Masonic Order, he has held office as deputy-dis-trict grandmaster of Otago and Southland. Mr. Walls served an apprenticeship in the cabinetmaking trade, after which he and the late Mr. John McCracken took over the piano-repairing and tuning business of Laidlaw and Sons, and established the existing firm of McCracken and Walls. He was for a time owner of the 4ZM broadcasting station, which was eventually taken over by the Government and closed down. . i

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Bibliographic details

SEAT RETAINED, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 172, 23 July 1945

Word Count

SEAT RETAINED Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 172, 23 July 1945

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