A long time Labourite, with a profile in church and education circles, Hinchcliff is regarded as a comparitively moderate member of the leftist bloc that controls NZ’s largest city.
After studying at Canterbury University, John Hinchcliff studied and taught at several overseas institutions, including the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Drew University, New Jersey, the North-East Business Machines School, Virginia’s Hampden-Sydney college and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.
He was also a minister to four rural Presbyterian churches.
In 1974 he moved back to NZ where he became chaplain of Auckland University and taught liberal arts, medical ethics and the philosophy of genetic engineering.
“While in Auckland he was heavily involved in the anti-nuclear movement and travelled overseas to speak against nuclear arms.. “
During the mid ’70s the “cold war” was escalating and the US was fighting several wars against Soviet proxies in the third world. It was also the time that the Soviet’s re-activated the “peace movement” all over the planet, largely in response to the US’s proposed “super weapon”, the neutron bomb.
In NZ, the Socialist Unity Party responded to their Soviet master’s “peace” initiatives with vigour. Shortly after a delegation from the Soviet front World Peace Council had visited NZ in 1976, SUP leader, the late Bill Andersen, formed the NZ Council for World Peace in Auckland with his comrade, Peter Ritchie.
At the time of its affiliation to the World Peace Council, five members of NZCWP’s committee were members of the SUP.
Branches were formed in several other cities and all were dominated by SUP members. Of the 24 delegates who attended a May 1980 meeting at Old town Hall in Wellington to form a national committee for the NZCWP, at least 11 were identified SUP members. Many of the rest were probable members or known allies of the SUP, including several prominent trade unionists and Labour Party figures.
John Hinchcliff threw himself into “peace’ activity at time and was prominent in the Auckland branch of NZCWP from at latest 1977.
In 1976 Hinchcliff had edited the booklet “Peace is Possible” and spoke in Wellington against US warship visits.
In February 1976, he was a co-ordinator of International Convention for Peace Action held in Wellington.
Later that year, Hinchcliff travelled to Warsaw for the World Peace Council’s “World Assembly of Builders of Peace”.
In September 1977, Hinchcliff penned an article for the SUP’s “Tribune” condemning the US’s proposed new weapon, entitled “The Neutron Bomb – How Destructive is Destructive?”.
Hinchliff also signed a declaration in the November 27th 1977 issue of “Tribune” with several other NZ World Peace Council affiliates calling for a ban on the neutron bomb.
A decade later, Hinchcliff attended the October 1987 World Peace Council meeting in Auckland, representing the Auckland Institute of Technology and Greenpeace.
This meeting was attended by a who’s who of NZ peace activists and leftists including SUP members Ella Ayo, Ray Stewart and George Jackson, Keith Locke and his sister Maire Leadbetter, Jaqui Barrington and Bunny McDiarmid from Greenpeace, Auckland University academic Peter Wills, MP Sonja Davies, former Labour president Gerald O’Brien, Catholic activist Kevin McBride and NZ/Tongan activist Lopeti Senituli.
Leading World Peace Council attendees included council president, well known Indian communist Romesh Chandra, Georgi Dimitrov-Goshkin, president of the Bulgarian Peace Committee and a member of the central committee of the Bulgarian Communist Party, Herionim Kubiak, a leader of the Polish Communist Party and president of the Polish Peace Council, Renate Meikle, a leader of the East German Peace Council and the three Vladimirs-Oryol, Ivanov and Kariuk, all leaders of the Soviet Peace Council.
Interesting that such a high powered Eastern bloc contingent would travel all the way to NZ to powwow with a bunch of “fringe” peaceniks.
In 1995 Hinchcliff founded and helped organise the ATOM delegation to France, to protest against French nuclear testing in the Pacific.
In recent years, Hinchcliff has maintained his “peace” interests as patron that well known socialist hang out, the NZ Foundation for Peace Studies.
Does Auckland need an aging socialist peacenik to lead the city into the 21st century?
Would he be any improvement on an aging socialist muesli manufacturer?