Martyn Finlay

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Allan "Martyn" Finlay QC (1 January 1912 – 20 January 1999) was a New Zealand lawyer and politician of the Labour Party.

Member of Parliament[edit]

Parliament of New Zealand
Years Term Electorate Party
1946–1949 28th North Shore Labour
1963–1966 34th Waitakere Labour
1966–1969 35th Waitakere Labour
1969–1972 36th Henderson Labour
1972–1975 37th Henderson Labour
1975–1978 38th Henderson Labour


Electoral history[edit]

Martin Finlay stood unsuccessfully for Remuera in 1943. He then represented the North Shore electorate from 1946 to 1949, when he was defeated. Later he represented the Waitakere electorate from 1963 to 1969, then the Henderson electorate from 1969 to 1978, when he retired.[1]

Vietnam War[edit]

Martin Finlay was also one of the Labour Party's most active opponents of New Zealand's military involvement in the Vietnam War and questioned the New Zealand government's support for South Vietnam. In 1964, he argued during a parliamentary speech that the Viet Cong were the only effective opposition in South Vietnam, but still accepted the general consensus within New Zealand government circles that the Viet Cong were being supported by North Vietnam and the People's Republic of China.[2] On 6 June 1965, Finlay chaired an anti-war meeting in Auckland which was sponsored by the Auckland Trades Council, the Auckland Labour Representation Committee, and the Auckland Peace For Vietnam Committee (PFVC). A prominent speaker at that meeting was the trade unionist Jim Knox.[3] He also participated in a teach-in at the University of Auckland on 12 September 1966, which drew about 600 people.[4]

During a Labour Party conference in 1966, Martin Findlay, at the instigation of the Labour Party leader and future Prime Minister Norman Kirk, proposed an amendment which advocated replacing New Zealand's artillery battery with a non-combatant force.[5] Despite his opposition to the Vietnam War, Martin argued that New Zealand troops should not be withdrawn from Vietnam too quickly to avoid interfering with the Paris peace talks in 1969.[6] When the United States Vice President Spiro Agnew visited the capital Wellington in mid-January 1970, Finlay along with several other Labour Members of Parliament including Arthur Faulkner, Jonathan Hunt, and Bob Tizard boycotted the state dinner to protest American policy in Vietnam. However, other Labour MPs including the Opposition Leader Norman Kirk attended the function which dealt with the Nixon Doctrine.[7]

The Third Labour Government[edit]

Finlay was a Cabinet Minister, and was the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice from 1972 to 1975 and Minister of Civil Aviation and Meteorological Services from 1973 to 1975 in the Third Labour Government.[8][9] He was President of the Labour Party from 1960 to 1964. He lost a notable 1969 election TV debate (on the NZBC's Gallery programme) against Robert Muldoon.

He was made a Queen's Counsel (QC) in 1973.[10]


  1. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 196.
  2. ^ Rabel 2005, p. 76-78.
  3. ^ Rabel 2005, p. 120.
  4. ^ Rabel 2005, p. 162.
  5. ^ Rabel & 2005 180.
  6. ^ Rabel 2005, p. 287.
  7. ^ Rabel & 2005 299-300.
  8. ^ "Obituary—Hon. Dr Allan Martyn Finlay QC". New Zealand Hansard. 16 February 1999. Retrieved 29 August 2013. 
  9. ^ Wilson 1985, pp. 92–93.
  10. ^ "Queen's Counsel appointments since 1907 as at July 2013". Crown Law Office. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 


  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103. 
  • Rabel, Roberto (2005). New Zealand and the Vietnam War: Politics and Diplomacy. Auckland: Auckland University Press. ISBN 1-86940-340-1. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Roy Jack
Minister of Justice
Succeeded by
David Thomson
Attorney-General of New Zealand
Succeeded by
Peter Wilkinson
New Zealand Parliament
New constituency Member of Parliament for North Shore
Succeeded by
Dean Eyre
Preceded by
Rex Mason
Member of Parliament for Waitakere
Constituency abolished, recreated in 1978
Title next held by
Ralph Maxwell
New constituency Member of Parliament for Henderson
Constituency abolished, recreated in 1993
Title next held by
Jack Elder
Party political offices
Preceded by
James Roberts
President of the Labour Party
Succeeded by
Norman Kirk