Ken Douglas

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Kenneth George "Ken" Douglas ONZ (born 15 November 1935) is a New Zealand trade union leader.[1] Ken was born in Wellington and educated at Wellington College. Ken married Lesley Winter in 1956, and they have four children: Jane, Peter, Helen and John.[2]

As President of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions until 1999 Douglas led the union movement in New Zealand for over fifteen years. His union career started in the Wellington Driver's Union. He was also leader of the Socialist Unity Party in the 1970s and 1980s. He stood for parliament in the safe Labour seat of Porirua in the 1972 election, 1975 election and 1978 election, receiving 68, 46 and 70 votes respectively.[3]

Since his retirement from the CTU Douglas has been active in local politics as a Porirua City Councillor (1998-), Porirua Licensing Trustee (2001-2007) and elected member of the Capital and Coast District Health Board (2001-2010). Douglas has served on boards of Air NZ, NZ Post, NZ Trade and Enterprise, New Zealand Rugby Union[4] and Healthcare NZ.[5]

An acknowledged Marxist, Douglas has moved to the right over the last two decades and currently sits on the NZRU Board. He is also chairperson of Positively Wellington Business and a board member of the Asia NZ Foundation. He is widely respected across a very broad political spectrum of notable individuals for his capacity to see complex issues and their practical solutions in straightforward terms.[citation needed]

He was awarded an honorary degree (LLD) by Victoria University of Wellington in 1999.

In 2006 a two-hour documentary was shown on New Zealand's TV ONE about Douglas's life, entitled "Ken Douglas, Traitor or Visionary".[6]


Grant, David (2010). Man for All Seasons: The Life and times of Ken Douglas. Auckland: Random House. ISBN 978-1-86979-389-0. 

  1. ^ Barry, Maggie (1 December 2007). "Driving Force". The Listener. 
  2. ^ Grant 2010, pp. 10,55.
  3. ^ Norton, Clifford (1988). New Zealand Parliamentary Election Results 1946-1987: Occasional Publications No 1, Department of Political Science. Wellington: Victoria University of Wellington. p. 90. ISBN 0-475-11200-8. 
  4. ^ "NZRU Board Members". NZRU. Retrieved 8 March 2010. 
  5. ^ "Our Boards". Healthcare NZ. Archived from the original on 24 May 2010. 
  6. ^ "Ken Douglas - Traitor or Visionary?". Top Shelf. Retrieved 8 March 2010.