A sheep and cattle farm partly paid for by National Party supporters to lure a future Prime Minister to their electorate is up for sale.
Kia Ora Station, which is about 18 kilometres from Dannevirke in Manawatu, was bought during World War II by Sir Keith Holyoake – the only person to have ever held the roles of both Prime Minister and Governor General of New Zealand.
Holyoake, New Zealand’s third longest serving Prime Minister, bought the 393 hectare farm in 1942.
While he paid for £11,874 (just over $1 million in today’s money) for the property, £3000 came from a donation by the Dannevirke electorate branch of the National Party as an incentive to tempt the up-and-coming politician north from his then hop and tobacco farm near Motueka.
The family never actually resided at Kia Ora Station, preferring to live in Dannevirke.
As a full-time politician, Holyoake spent much of his week in Parliament in Wellington and only ever visited Kia Ora Station occasionally on weekends – where he gained a reputation for feeding out hay to the stock from the boot of his Daimler car. . .
I don’t think a branch of any political party would have enough money to help a prospective MP buy a farm these days and if it did I doubt very much that it would.
From my, admitedly cursory, knowledge of electoral law I don’t think helping a candidate in this way is illegal but imagine the negative publicity someone would face if s/he accepted such an offer.
Those were the old days but were they good?