Tommy Armstrong (New Zealand politician)

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Tommy Armstrong
Tommy Armstrong.jpg
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Napier
In office
1943 – 1951
Preceded by Bill Barnard
Succeeded by Peter Tait
Personal details
Born (1902-05-17)17 May 1902
Died 21 November 1980(1980-11-21) (aged 78)
Political party Labour
Relations Tim Armstrong (father)
Profession Engineer

Arthur Ernest "Tommy" Armstrong (17 May 1902 – 21 November 1980) was a New Zealand politician of Christchurch and Napier in the North Island and a member of the Labour Party.

Early years[edit]

Born in 1902, Armstrong was the son of Tim Armstrong and his wife Alice Fox. His father's parents were Irish immigrants to New Zealand.[1] He was the Canterbury Featherweight Boxing Champion in 1923, won seven professional bouts in Australia, and represented Canterbury in rugby league. He was a mechanical and diesel engineer.

Member of Council[edit]

Armstrong served on the Christchurch City Council between 1929 and 1935 and from 1962 to 1965.[2] In 1929 Armstrong was successful as an Independent Socialist against the official Labour ticket. He believed the Christchurch City Council was neglecting the unemployed.[3][4] Armstrong did not mince his words about the labour leadership to a large meeting in Sydenham: "they are ready to cry and shed tears with the unemployed when deputations wait on them, but when asked to do something decent they are found wanting".[5] Though not returned as an Independent Labourite in the 1935 election, primarily because preferential voting had been abolished, Armstrong still got over 11,000 votes.

Member of Parliament[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1943–1946 27th Napier Labour
1946–1949 28th Napier Labour
1949–1951 29th Napier Labour

He represented the Napier electorate from the 1943 general election, when he defeated Bill Barnard who had left the Labour Party to join John A. Lee’s Democratic Labour Party.

In 1951 he was defeated by National's Peter Tait, who had a majority of only 44.[6] Later, in the 1966 election, he stood as an independent against Mabel Howard in the Sydenham electorate.


  1. ^ McAloon, Jim. "Armstrong, Hubert Thomas - Biography". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  2. ^ "Councillors of the City of Christchurch 1862 to current". Christchurch City Council. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  3. ^ Christchurch Press, 2 May 1929
  4. ^ Christchurch Press, 18 May 1929
  5. ^ Christchurch Times, 29 April 1931
  6. ^ Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First published in 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. p. 180. OCLC 154283103. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Crisis and Change: Economic Crisis and Technological Change between the World Wars, with special reference to Christchurch, 1926-1936 by James Watson (1984, PHD-University of Canterbury, Christchurch)
  • Wood, G. Anthony, ed. (1996). Ministers and Members: In the New Zealand Parliament. Dunedin: Otago University Press. 
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Bill Barnard
Member of Parliament for Napier
Succeeded by
Peter Tait