Bill Andersen

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Gordon Harold "Bill" Andersen (21 January 1924 – 19 January 2005) was a New Zealand communist and trade union leader. He was one of the participants in the 1951 Waterfront Lockout and the president of the Northern Drivers' Union and later the National Distribution Union.

Andersen was the president of the Socialist Unity Party, which broke away from the Communist Party of New Zealand over the Sino-Soviet split, and he also led its successor, the Socialist Party of Aotearoa. One of the very few New Zealanders to take communism seriously, he visited the Soviet Union and kept a bust of Lenin on his desk. He stood for parliament in the safe National seat of Tamaki against Robert Muldoon in the 1972 election, 1975 election, 1978 election and 1981 election, receiving 108, 39, 62 and 188 votes respectively.[1]

Bill Andersen supported the Ngāti Whātua occupation of Bastion Point, now the site of Ōrākei marae. He organised union support for the Māori claiming ownership of the land.

As a trade union leader, he frequently clashed with New Zealand National Party Prime Minister Robert Muldoon. Whenever the two flew from Auckland to Wellington, sympathetic NAC and Air New Zealand staff ensured the two leaders were seated next to each other.

He remained an active trade unionist all his life. In May 2003 he was arrested on a picket line for obstruction. He kept working at the National Distribution Union and Northern Drivers Charitable Trust until the week of his death.

Despite requests for no funeral, a large group gathered for his memorial ceremony at Ōrākei marae.


  1. Norton, Clifford (1988). New Zealand Parliamentary Election Results 1946-1987: Occasional Publications No 1, Department of Political Science. Wellington: Victoria University of Wellington. p. 108. ISBN 0-475-11200-8.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>