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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 5 (August 1, 1934)

Wanganui's M.H.R

Wanganui's M.H.R.

Six years of life in Wanganui had brought John Ballance well into the public eye and there were requests that he. should stand for Parliament. The first constituency he chose for contest was not Wanganui, however, but Egmont. He soon discovered that the veteran Major Atkinson was too strongly entrenched in the Taranaki people's favour to be displaced by a newcomer, and he retired before election day. Next time he selected a seat nearer home and in 1875 he entered Parliament as member for Rangitikei. He represented that district until 1880 when he was returned for Wanganui. With a three years' interlude, a defeat by Mr. W. H. Watt, he held the seat until his death in 1893.

The young Irishman with an English radical training soon attracted attention in the House of Representatives and gave proof of ability to think logically and to express his thoughts with force and directness and an adequate command of English. He became a follower of Sir George Grey, in fact that great statesman's most advanced disciple in the new democratic crusade that opened with Grey's Premiership.