I have to confess some confusion about this study that supposedly shows the First Labour Government was tight with Hitler. They were real, deep-red socialists. To get to power they had to overcome the fascist New Zealand Legion that backed National. Fascism was anathema to socialism – the biggest battles of all time were fought out between soldiers fighting for fascism on one side and communism on the other.
Remember too that the Labour Party of the era was essentially the political arm of the union movement. Hitler’s first act in power was to ban the German unions. It was this crushing of the labour movement, along with his well known contempt for communism, that gave Hitler such appeal among certain elements of the ruling class.
So I doubt the study says what the article claims it says. Sure, there might have been some trade deal that came into effect in 1937 (possibly signed under the National coalition government, Labour only came in at the end of 1935).
The notion that New Zealand wanted peace after the invasion of Poland and was trading with Germany while the war was on is ludicrous. New Zealand was the first country in the world to declare war on Germany after the invasion. The invasion began on the 1st of September 1939. The UK consulted with its allies the next day (news travelled slower in those days) and it was agreed that war would be declared the day after. As first country after the dateline, we declared war first. Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage’s speech is famous – he condemns Hitler and Nazism, he declares that “we range ourselves without fear beside Britain. Where she goes, we go; where she stands, we stand”
It is illegal to trade with an enemy nation when a state of war exists. New Zealand seized several German merchant ships. I note that the article specifically fails to mention when trade ceased, that’s because it obviously ceased with the declaration of war but saying that undermines the attack on Labour.
The puerile way that Farrar has tried to use this to attack the First labour government and by extension Labour today shows how truly weak and bereft of ideas the Right is. He can’t talk about the Key Government’s successes so he has to tell lies about Labour’s history.