Concept

1st New Zealand Parliament

Résumé
The 1st New Zealand Parliament was a term of the Parliament of New Zealand. It opened on 24 May 1854, following New Zealand's first general election (held the previous year). It was dissolved on 15 September 1855 in preparation for that year's election. 37 Members of the House of Representatives (MHRs) represented 24 electorates. The Parliament sat for three sessions: New Zealand had not yet obtained responsible government (that is, the power to manage its own affairs), and so the 1st Parliament did not hold any significant power. The 1st Parliament was held before the creation of either political parties or the office of Premier. There were, however, appointments made to the Executive Council (the formal institution upon which Cabinet is based). From 14 June 1854 to 2 August 1854, there was a four-person cabinet, New Zealand's first ministry, led by James FitzGerald, with Henry Sewell, Frederick Weld, and Thomas Bartley (a fifth member, Dillon Bell, also joined for a short time). Then, from 31 August 1854 to 2 September 1854, there was another four-person cabinet led by Thomas Forsaith, with James Macandrew, William Travers, and Jerningham Wakefield. Some historians consider FitzGerald and Forsaith to be New Zealand's first Prime Ministers, but neither held any formal leadership role and since "responsible government" had not yet been obtained, they had little real power. Henry Sewell, appointed shortly after the 2nd New Zealand Parliament opened, is more often considered to have been the first Prime Minister. On 17 August 1854 when the newly convened House of Representatives met, Administrator of the Government (acting Governor) Robert Wynyard was proposing to prorogue the General Assembly as he had not received authority from London. Sewell wanted to continue the debate and the suspension of standing orders was moved. The minority "Wakefieldites" (followers of Edward Gibbon Wakefield) opposed the move and tried to leave so that there would not be two-thirds of members present.
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