John Findlay (New Zealand politician)

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The Honourable
Sir John Findlay
John George Findlay.jpg
10th Attorney-General of New Zealand
In office
23 November 1906 – 26 December 1911
Preceded by Albert Pitt
Succeeded by Alexander Herdman
17th Minister of Justice of New Zealand
In office
6 January 1909 – 26 December 1911
Preceded by James McGowan
Succeeded by Josiah Hanan
Personal details
Born 21 October 1862
Dunedin, New Zealand
Died 7 December 1929
Horsted Keynes, East Sussex, England
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s) Josephine Emily Arkle
Relations James Findlay (son)

Sir John George Findlay KCMG KC (21 October 1862 – 7 December 1929) was a New Zealand politician of the Liberal Party, and was a Cabinet minister from 1906 to 1911.

Early life and family

Born in Dunedin in 1862, Findlay graduated from the University of Otago with a Bachelor of Laws in 1886 and LLD in 1893. He was admitted to the Bar in 1887 and practised as a lawyer first in Palmerston North and later in Wellington. He was appointed King's Counsel in 1907.[1]

His son was James Findlay.[2]

Political career

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1917–1919 19th Hawkes Bay Liberal

Findlay was one of nine candidates who contested the three-member City of Wellington electorate in the 1902 election; he came sixth with 33.7% of the vote.[3] He was active with the Liberal Party and wrote much of its election manifesto for the 1905 election.[2]

When the Attorney-General, Albert Pitt, died in November 1906, there were no suitable members of the legal profession in Parliament.[4] Hence, Joseph Ward appointed Findlay to the Legislative Council on 23 November 1906,[5] and appointed him Attorney-General and Colonial Secretary on the same day.[6] During his tenure of the latter post, which he held until 6 January 1909, it was renamed to Minister of Internal Affairs.[6]

In the 1911 Coronation Honours, Findlay was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George.[7]

He resigned from the Legislative Council on 20 November 1911[6] in preparation for the 1911 election.[2] Hamer says that he was sent to Auckland and contested the Parnell seat, in an attempt of the Liberals who were facing defeat in 1911 to show that they took Auckland seriously. He lost in the second ballot, with Labour, which had been eliminated on the first ballot split over whether to support Findlay or the Reform candidate James Samuel Dickson.[8]

He represented the Hawkes Bay electorate from 1917 to 1919, when he retired.[9]

He died in Horsted Keynes, East Sussex, England, in 1929.[2]

Works by John Findlay

  • Findlay, John George (1897), The degeneration of liberalism in New Zealand, Wellington, [N.Z.]: Evening Post Printing House
  • Findlay, John George (1907), The land question: the case for the lease-in-perpetuity settler: a valuable contribution, n.p.: Watkins, Tyer & Tolan Ltd., Printers
  • Findlay, John George (1907), The Land Bill: Mr. Massey’s criticisms answered , Dunedin, [N.Z.]: Evening Star Co.
  • Findlay, John George (1908), Humbugs and homilies, Christchurch, [N.Z.]: Whitcombe & Tombs
  • Findlay, John George (1908), Labour and the Arbitration Act: a speech, Wellington, [N.Z.]: New Zealand Times
  • Findlay, John George (1909), Our man in the street: the origin, operation and character of public opinion, Dunedin, [N.Z.]: Evening Star Co.
  • Findlay, John George (1910), Legal liberty: a lecture delivered by the Hon. Dr. Findlay, Attorney-General of New Zealand, before the Philosophical Society, Palmerston North, on Thursday, 21 April 1910, Wellington, [N.Z.]: New Zealand Times
  • Findlay, John George (c. 1910), Travels with a Royal Commission , Wellington, [N.Z.]: New Zealand Times
  • Findlay, John George (1912), The Imperial Conference of 1911 from within, London, [England]: Constable & Company Ltd.
  • Findlay, John George (1921), "Japanese immigration: a colonial protest", The Whitehall Gazette (March): 10–13


  1. ^ "Sir John Findlay's career". Evening Post. 9 March 1917. p. 8. Retrieved 22 March 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d Hall, Geoffrey G. "Findlay, John George". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
  3. ^ "New Zealand General Election, 1902". 29 June 1903. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  4. ^ Paterson, Donald Edgar (1966), "Findlay, the Hon. Sir John George", An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock, retrieved 10 May 2008
  5. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 153.
  6. ^ a b c Wilson 1985, p. 74.
  7. ^ "No. 28505". The London Gazette (Supplement). 19 June 1911. p. 4593.
  8. ^ Hamer 1988, pp. 339f.
  9. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 196.


  • Hamer, David (1988). The New Zealand Liberals: The Years of Power, 1891–1912. Auckland University Press. pp. 339–340. ISBN 1-86940-014-3.
  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.
Political offices
Preceded by
Albert Pitt
Succeeded by
Alexander Herdman
Preceded by
James McGowan
Minister of Justice
Succeeded by
Josiah Hanan
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Robert McNab
Member of Parliament for Hawkes Bay
Succeeded by
Hugh Campbell
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