New Zealand Reform Party

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About New Zealand Reform Party

The Reform Party, formally the New Zealand Political Reform League, was New Zealand's second major political party, having been founded as a conservative response to the original Liberal Party. It was in government between 1912 and 1928, and later merged with the United Party (a remnant of the Liberals) to form the modern National Party. The Liberal Party, founded by John Ballance and fortified by Richard Seddon, was highly dominant in New Zealand politics at the beginning of the 20th century. The conservative opposition, consisting only of independents, was disorganised and demoralised. It had no cohesive plan to counter the Liberal Party's dominance, and could not agree on a single leader — it was described by one historian as resembling a disparate band of guerrillas, and presented no credible threat to continued Liberal Party rule. Gradually, however, the Liberals began to falter — the first blow came with the death of Richard Seddon, their popular leader, but other factors contributed to their decline. Importantly for conservatives, the Liberals were slowly losing support from small farmers, who had once backed the Liberals due to their promise of land reform. Having achieved

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