Peter Fraser

Fraser {{circa|1942}} Peter Fraser (; 28 August 1884 – 12 December 1950) was a New Zealand politician who served as the 24th prime minister of New Zealand from 27 March 1940 until 13 December 1949. Considered a major figure in the history of the New Zealand Labour Party, he was in office longer than any other Labour prime minister, and is to date New Zealand's fourth-longest-serving head of government.

Born and raised in the Scottish Highlands, Fraser left education early in order to support his family. While working in London in 1908, Fraser joined the Independent Labour Party, but unemployment led him to emigrate to New Zealand in 1910. On arrival in Auckland, he gained employment as a wharfie and became involved in union politics upon joining the New Zealand Socialist Party. In 1916, Fraser was involved in the foundation of the unified Labour Party. He spent one year in jail for sedition after speaking out against conscription during the First World War. In 1918, Fraser won a Wellington by-election and entered the House of Representatives.

Fraser became a cabinet minister in , serving under Michael Joseph Savage. He held several portfolios and had a particular interest in education, which he considered vital for social reform. As Minister of Health, he introduced the Social Security Act 1938, which established a universal health care service. Fraser became the Leader of the Labour Party and Prime Minister in 1940, following Savage's death in office.

Fraser is best known for leading the country during the Second World War when he mobilised New Zealand supplies and volunteers to support Britain while boosting the economy and maintaining home front morale. He formed a war cabinet which included several erstwhile political opponents. Labour suffered significant losses in the election, though the party retained its majority.

Following the war, Fraser was active in the affairs of the 'new' Commonwealth and is credited with increasing New Zealand's international stature. Fraser led his party to its fourth successive election victory in , albeit with a further reduced majority. The after-effects of the war, including ongoing shortages, were affecting his government's popularity. Labour lost the and Fraser's government was succeeded by the first National Party government. Provided by Wikipedia
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