1945-1991: Cold War world Wiki
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Not to be confused with- The Greek Military Junta known as the "The Regime of the Colonels" of 1967-1974.


In the run up to the Christmas of 1979, the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service found out that that the Soviet Ambassador to New Zealand, Vsevelod Sofinsky, had broken diplomatic rules by giving $10,000 to a member of the pro-Soviet New Zealand Socialist Unity Party. Some thought it was in retaliation for the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and threaten New Zealand’s growing trade with the USSR. Both the USA and USSR supported Vsevelod Sofinsky, unlike the UK, Canada and Australia. Vsevelod Sofinsky was kicked out of New Zealand on the 24th of January and then New Zealand’s ambassador to the Soviet Union was expelled in retaliation, but the matter went no further and soon died down. Australia was concerned that closet communism was gaining ground in New Zealand.

Mr Muldoon's appointment of Frank Gill as New Zealand's ambassador to the United States led to a by-election in Gill's seat of East Coast Bays. Muldoon's favoured candidate was Sue Wood, at the time National's Vice President and later party President. National selected the economically liberal Don Brash, a future Governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand and later leader of the National Party, as its candidate. Brash lost the by-election to Social Credit's  Gary Knapp, a major upset and a blow for Muldoon's leadership. Muldoon blamed Brash and the party organisation for the defeat, but was strongly rebuked by the party for this stance. The loss of the by-election provided the catalyst for growing opposition within the National Party to Muldoon's leadership.

The event[]

Prime Minister Robert Muldoon was in trouble following the loss of the East Coast Bays by-election, Muldoon faced an abortive attempt in October–November 1980 to oust him as leader. A faction in the party though Maldoon was to confrontational and becoming a dictator, so they urged his deputy Brian Talboys to launch a leadership bid, known as event known as "The Colonels' Coup" after its originators' caucus — that of Jim Bolger, Jim McLay and Derek Quigley— it took place to replace Muldoon with his more economically liberal deputy, Brian Talboys. Muldoon, who was overseas at the time saw the plotters off with relative ease, especially since Talboys himself was a reluctant draftee. No other serious challenge to Muldoon's leadership occurred in his years as Prime Minister until after the 1984 election.

The aftermath[]

The event had secured his position and no other serious challenge to Muldoon's leadership would occur in his years as Prime Minister until after the 1984 election. Jim Bolger would later become PM in an election as party leader.

Also see[]

  1. Lord Louis Mountbatten's very British coup
  2. Politically Communist and/or Socialist
  3. "London's Burning" (the political epithet, not the UK TV show)
  4. London's political 'Loony Left'
  5. A political diorama
  6. What is a coup d'état?
  7. Richard Nixon
  8. Watergate Scandal
  9. General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte
  10. Operation Condor
  11. JFK
  12. Harold Wilson


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Muldoon
  2. http://www.techhistory.co.nz/ThinkBig/Petrochemical%20Decisions.htm
  3. http://archives.govt.nz/has/politicians-papers/robert-muldoon-official-biography
  4. His Way: A Biography of Robert Muldoon. Auckland: Auckland University Press. 2000. ISBN 1-86940-236-7.
  5. Trapeznik, Alex; Fox, Aaron, eds. (2004). "Chapter 2: New Zealand in the Cold War World". Lenin's Legacy Down Under: New Zealand's Cold War. Dunedin: University of Otago Press. ISBN 1-877276-90-1.
  6. http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/culture/the-1980s/1980