Vernon Francis Cracknell (30 May 1912 – 4 June 1989) was a New Zealand politician. Initially working as an accountant, he became involved in politics through the Social Credit Party, a group dedicated to the social credit theory of monetary reform. He was the party's third leader (1963–1970).

Successful candidate Edit

In the 1960 elections and 1963 elections, Cracknell contested the seat of Hobson in Northland. He placed second on both occasions, pushing the Labour Party candidate into third place. The area had previously been receptive to social credit theory – the Social Credit Party had placed second in the 1954 elections, and Harold Rushworth of the credit-influencedCountry Party had held the Northland seat (then called Bay of Islands) for three terms, from 1928 to 1938.

Member of Parliament Edit

In the 1966 elections, Cracknell was finally successful, winning the seat with 48% of the vote. The incumbent MP, Logan Sloane of the National Party, won 45% of the vote. Cracknell's victory was unusual, as no candidate not aligned with either Labour or National had been elected to Parliament since 1943.

However, Cracknell found himself unsuited to Parliamentary debate and did not make any substantial impact. Cracknell was not particularly skilled at dealing with the media and so received little attention. In the 1969 elections, Cracknell's campaign was almost universally regarded as poor, with his television appearance being described as uninteresting, too academic and rambling. Logan Sloane regained the seat by a substantial margin.

After Parliament Edit

In 1970, a bitter dispute saw Cracknell lose the Social Credit Party's leadership to the more confrontational John O'Brien. Cracknell had little involvement in politics after that, and did not attempt to regain his seat.

He was born in Auckland in 1912, and died in Kawakawa in 1989 aged 77 years.

Vernon Cracknell
3rd Leader of Social Credit
In office


Preceded by P.H. Matthews
Succeeded by John O'Brien
Member of the New Zealand Parliament

for Hobson

In office

1966 – 1969

Preceded by Logan Sloane
Succeeded by Logan Sloane
Personal details
Born 30 May 1912


Died 4 June 1989 (aged 77)


Political party Social Credit
Parliament of New Zealand
Years Term Electorate Party
1966–1969 35th Hobson Social Credit