El Thorvaldo Moderator

John Ballance
John Ballance by @Thorvald (El Thorvaldo)

A Side 7 exclusive! John Ballance (1839–1893) was the 14th Premier of New Zealand. Born in Ireland, he migrated in 1866, establishing the Wanganui Herald and founding several societies in the city; he was involved in, and received a commission for a volunteer cavalry corps raised during government tensions with Maori chief Tītokowaru, but was stripped of his post over the Herald's critical coverage of the campaign. Ballance was elected to Parliament in 1875, advocating for abolition of the provincial system and intensified land settlement. Despite the land reforms presenting challenges to the Maori, Ballance was an advocate of native rights in recognized territory, reducing colonial troop presence in contested regions and attempted to learn the cultures himself. He became Premier in 1890, and consolidated his allies as the Liberal Party, New Zealand's first organized party, one year later. A disciple of Georgist economics, Ballance implemented a progressive land tax, progressive income tax, and was a staunch advocate of women's suffrage. He was the first prime minister to die in office, in 1893 due to complications from surgery; he was described as "unassuming and unpretentious", "quiet, polite, and extremely patient".

Original photo taken May 2014.

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