David McLaren (politician)

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David McLaren
David McLaren.jpg
David McLaren in 1912
19th Mayor of Wellington
In office
Preceded by Thomas Wilford
Succeeded by John Luke
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Wellington East
In office
1908 – 1911
Preceded by Robert Alexander Wright
Succeeded by Alfred Newman
Personal details
Born 1870
Glasgow, Scotland
Died 3 November 1939
Wellington, New Zealand
Political party IPLL (1904–10)
Labour (1910–12)
United Labour (1912–16)

David McLaren (1872 – 3 November 1939) was a Mayor of Wellington and Member of Parliament in New Zealand.

Early years[edit]

Born in Glasgow, Scotland and an operative in the boot trade. He enjoyed the poetry of Robert Burns and was member of the Burns Club.[1]

On arriving in Wellington McLaren became involved in the Union movement seeking to improve the lot of lower paid workers. McLaren was Secretary of the Wellington Wharf Labourers Union in New Zealand.[2] He was considered a moderate socialist.

He was a member of the Wellington City Council for 11 years from 1901 to 1912 and was elected Mayor of Wellington from 1912 to 1913. McLaren was also member of the Hospital Board for 12 years. During World War I McLaren was appointed to the Military Service Board, and also served on the War Relief Association from its inception in 1914. At the end of the war he was appointed to the Influenza Epidemic Commission.

Member of Parliament[edit]

Parliament of New Zealand
Years Term Electorate Party
1908–1910 17th Wellington East Ind. Labour League
1910–1911 Changed allegiance to: Labour (original)

McLaren was one of nine candidates who contested the three-member City of Wellington electorate in the 1902 election; he came last with 7% of the vote.[3] In the 1908 election, McLaren stood in the Wellington East electorate for the Independent Political Labour League (IPLL).[4] Two Liberal candidates received similar votes and both were eliminated in the first ballot. This left McLaren face a conservative candidate, Arthur Richmond Atkinson, in the second ballot, and with many liberal voters transferring their allegiance to McLaren, he became the only candidate of the IPLL who was ever elected to the House of Representatives.[5] McLaren attended the Liberal Party's caucus, but maintained his independence in the house, voting both with and against them.[6]

In 1911 he was defeated by the conservative candidate, Alfred Newman, by 65 votes. At the 1914 contest, McLaren was again unsuccessful, this time by 48 votes.

McLaren became estranged from the Labour Party during World War I. He was concerned about the rise of militant elements within the party.[7] Later on, McLaren organised the wartime Welfare League and through this was associated with Edward Kellett.

He died on 3 November 1939 at Wellington Public Hospital. He was survived by his wife and daughter who were living in London.


  1. ^ "Mr David McLaren". The Evening Post. CXXVIII (109). 4 November 1939. p. 15. Retrieved 2 February 2014. 
  2. ^ Wellington: Biography of a city by Redmer Yska (Reed, Auckland, 2006) pages 98f ISBN 0-7900-1117-4
  3. ^ "New Zealand General Election, 1902". 1903. Retrieved 15 May 2013. 
  4. ^ Scholefield, Guy (1950) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1949 (3rd ed.). Wellington: Govt. Printer. p. 167. 
  5. ^ Gustafson 1980, p. 19.
  6. ^ Taylor, Kerry. "McLaren, David – Biography". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  7. ^ Gustafson 1980, p. 161.


  • Gustafson, Barry (1980). Labour's path to political independence: The Origins and Establishment of the New Zealand Labour Party, 1900–19. Auckland, New Zealand: Auckland University Press. ISBN 0-19-647986-X. 
  • No Mean City by Stuart Perry (1969, Wellington City Council) includes a paragraph and a portrait or photo for each mayor
Political offices
Preceded by
Thomas Wilford
Mayor of Wellington
Succeeded by
John Luke