Democratic Labour Party

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About Democratic Labour Party

The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) was a left-wing political party in New Zealand in the 1940s. It was a splinter from the larger Labour Party, and was led by the prominent socialist John A. Lee. The Democratic Labour Party originated in the internal disputes within the first Labour Party government, which lasted from 1935 to 1949. The division was primarily between moderates, such as Michael Joseph Savage, Peter Fraser, and Walter Nash, and radicals like Lee. Lee and his allies criticised the "cautious" approach taken by the party's leadership, and advocated a considerably stronger policy line. Lee's views were a mixture of conventional socialist theory and the social credit theory of monetary reform. He was also strongly critical of the Labour Party's internal structures, calling its leadership unaccountable and autocratic. MPs sympathetic to Lee’s credit ideas were Arnold Nordmeyer, Bill Barnard, Clyde Carr, Gervan McMillan and also Bill Anderton, Dan Sullivan, Gordon Hultquist and William John Lyon (Hultquist and Lyon both died while serving in World War II). In 1940, after a long period of rebellion against the Labour Party leadership, Lee was finally expelled from the party.

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