|Member of the New Zealand Parliament|
1935 – 1946
|Preceded by||Albert Samuel|
|Succeeded by||Constituency abolished|
|9th President of the Labour Party|
|Vice President||John Archer|
|Preceded by||John Archer|
|Succeeded by||Rex Mason|
1 June 1882|
Christchurch, New Zealand
21 November 1956 (aged 74)|
Wellington, New Zealand
|Political party||Labour Party|
|Allegiance||New Zealand Army|
|Years of service||1900-01|
James Thorn (1 June 1882 – 21 November 1956) was a New Zealand politician and trade unionist. He was an organiser and candidate for the Independent Political Labour League, Social Democratic Party then the Labour Party.
Thorn was born in Christchurch, educated at Christchurch Boys' High School. He worked in the Addington Railway Workshops and as a journalist. Thorn was a bugler in the third New Zealand Contingent to the Boer War in 1900–1901; the experience turned him into a pacifist. He was engaged in trade union and party activity, including 1909–1913 in England and Scotland.
He unsuccessfully stood for the Independent Political Labour League in the Christchurch South electorate in the 1905 and 1908 election. In 1907–08, he was President of the Independent Political Labour League. In 1909, he went to England and then Scotland and worked for labour parties there.
|New Zealand Parliament|
In 1914, he moved to Palmerston North and unsuccessfully stood in the 1914 election in the Palmerston electorate representing the new Social Democratic Party against the incumbent David Buick and two others, with Buick getting elected.
He met his future wife while living in Palmerston North; Margaret Anderson (1897–1969), 15 years his junior, who had joined the Social Democratic Party with her father. The Thorns married on 8 December 1917 in Wellington. He was imprisoned for opposing conscription in World War I.
He was president of the Labour Party (1929–1931), and vice-president at various times (1925–1927; 1928–1929; 1936–1938), and national secretary (1932–1936).
He unsuccessfully stood in the Otaki electorate in the 1931 election. He represented the electorate of Thames from 1935 to 1946, when the seat was abolished. From 1943 to 1946 Thorn was Under-Secretary to the Prime Minister. In the 1946 election, he contested the Otaki electorate again, but was beaten by National's James Joseph Maher.
Later life and death
From 1947 to 1950 he was High Commissioner to Canada, and was President of UNESCO in 1949. In 1952 he wrote a biography of Peter Fraser and later published a history of the First Labour Government.
- McAloon, Jim. "Thorn, James - Biography". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 23 December 2011.
- 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. p. 168. ISBN 0-19-647986-X.
- "North Island". Hawera & Normanby Star. LXVIII. 11 December 1914. p. 4. Retrieved 23 December 2011.
- Locke, Elsie. "Margaret Thorn". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 23 April 2017.
- Paul, J.T. (1946). Humanism in Politics: New Zealand Labour Party in Retrospect. Wellington, NZ: New Zealand Worker Printing and Publishing. p. 192.
- Scholefield, Guy (1950) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1949 (3rd ed.). Wellington: Govt. Printer. p. 144.
- "James Thorn, Labour Stalwart, Dies". The New Zealand Herald. 22 November 1956. p. 15.
- Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. pp. 217, 240. OCLC 154283103.
- "Cemeteries search". Wellington City Council. Retrieved 27 June 2015.
- Gustafson, Barry (1986). From the Cradle to the Grave: a biography of Michael Joseph Savage. Auckland: Reed Methuen. ISBN 0-474-00138-5.
|New Zealand Parliament|
| Member of Parliament for Thames
|Party political offices|
| President of the Labour Party
| Secretary of the Labour Party
| High Commissioner to Canada