Ballance StatueJohn Ballance’s monument stands in front of the Parliamentary Library in the grounds of the New Zealand Parliament. In Ballance’s day what is now the library served as the main parliament building, although much was replaced after a fire in 1908. Today Parliament meets in newer buildings lower on the same site. The New Zealand Parliament is in central Wellington, easy walking from the Railway Station and Bus Interchange. It is at the end of the shopping and office street of Lambton Quay. The site of parliament is itself of historic interest. The site is on a gentle rise above the bustle of the port and commercial centre and has been the politcal centre of Wellington since European settlement in 1840, and the national centre since 1855 when the capital was moved from Auckland.

Ballance was associated with some of the most enlightened legislation in the world at the time. He supported the abolition of the provincial system, land reform and female suffrage. His last years as premier of the Liberals were a high point of New Zealand politics, heralding the Seddon Liberal years that followed.

Tim McIvor in an extract from the dictionary of NZ Biography says:

Ballance won the Wanganui seat in 1879 but two years later suffered what was to be his only electoral defeat. Out of Parliament he continued to advocate legislative and other measures to promote closer land settlement; [……]. He also became involved in the freethought movement. A convinced secularist, he formed the Wanganui Freethought Association with Willis in 1883 and brought out the monthly Freethought Review (1883–85).

The site infidels.org says:

Ballance, The Hon. John (1839-1893) Premier of New Zealand.
He was an Irish youth who emigrated to New Zealand and entered journalism and politics. He was Premier (1891-1893) at the time when its most progressive social legislation was passed, and a number of its leaders like Ballance and Stout (See) openly professed and worked for atheism or agnosticism.

New Zealand was fortunate to have Stout, Balance and Savage as freethinking leaders in the latter years of the 19th century and early decades of the 20th Centuries. Ballance was premier 1890 to 1893, Robert Stout had been premier 1884 to 1887 and chief justice for decades after that. Michael Joseph Savage, Prime Minister 1935 to 1940, was a militant Rationalist for most of his life but eventually returned to Catholicism.

Getting There

New Zealand Parliament is in central Wellington at the transport hub within easy walking from the Railway Station and Bus Interchange. There are (sometimes expensive) parking buildings and on-road parking, particularly outside office hours.

Walking: Easy walking from buses, rail and accessible from the central city and inner suburbs

Bus: Most Wellington buses terminate near or pass Parliament. Ask the driver for Lambton Quay.

Driving: Parking is available close by.

General: It is at the end of the central shopping and office street of Lambton Quay. The site of parliament is itself of historic interest being on a gentle rise above the industry of the port, in a city short of flat or gently contoured land.