1855 New Zealand general election

The 1855 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of the New Zealand Parliament's 2nd term. It was the second national election ever held in New Zealand, and the first one which elected a Parliament that had full authority to govern the colony.

1855 general election

← 1853 26 October – 28 December 1855 1860–61 →

All 37 seats in the New Zealand House of Representatives
  First party
Leader Henry Sewell
Party Independent
Leader's seat Town of Christchurch
Last election 37 seats
Seats won 37
Seat change Steady

Premier before election

Office Established

Subsequent Premier

Henry Sewell

Background edit

The first New Zealand elections had been held after the passage of the New Zealand Constitution Act 1852 by the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The 1st Parliament did not have the ability to appoint the executive branch (Cabinet) of the New Zealand government, however, and a major dispute arose between Parliament and the Governor. In the 2nd Parliament, Parliament gained the powers it sought — for this reason, some see the 1855 elections, not the 1853 elections, as the beginning of New Zealand democracy.

At the time of the 1855 elections, there were no political parties in New Zealand. As such, all candidates were independents. Governments were formed based on loose coalitions, with prospective Prime Ministers needing to seek support from enough individual MPs to command a majority. This means that nobody could truly be said to have "won" an election — a government usually rose or fell based on its ability to make deals with MPs, not on election results.

The election edit

In the 1855 elections, voting occurred on a different day for each individual seat. The first seat was elected on 26 October, and the final seat was elected on 28 December. An estimated 9,891 people were eligible to vote, although records are poor for some areas. The number of electoral districts was 24, with some districts electing multiple MPs. The total number of seats was 37.[1] Some parts of the colony were not part of any district, and did not have representation in Parliament.[2]

Results edit


Member Electorate Province MP's term Election date
John Cuff Akaroa Canterbury First 28 December[3]
John Logan Campbell City of Auckland Auckland First 27 October[4]
Thomas Beckham City of Auckland Auckland First 27 October[5]
William Daldy City of Auckland Auckland First 27 October[3]
Frederick Merriman Auckland Suburbs Auckland Second 27 October[6]
Walter Brodie Auckland Suburbs Auckland First 27 October[7]
Hugh Carleton Bay of Islands Auckland Second 24 November[4]
Dingley Brittin Christchurch Country Canterbury First 20 December[7]
John Hall Christchurch Country Canterbury First 20 December[8]
Henry Sewell Town of Christchurch Canterbury Second 18 December[9]
John Cargill Dunedin Country Otago Second 11 December[4]
William Cargill Dunedin Country Otago First 11 December[4]
James Macandrew Town of Dunedin Otago Second 11 December[10]
Charles Brown Grey and Bell New Plymouth First 8 November[7]
Alfred Ludlam Hutt Wellington Second 16 November[11]
Dillon Bell Hutt Wellington First 16 November[5]
James FitzGerald Town of Lyttelton Canterbury Second 21 December[12]
Charles Parker Motueka and Massacre Bay Nelson First 8 November[13]
Alfred Domett Town of Nelson Nelson First 12 November[14]
Edward Stafford Town of Nelson Nelson First 12 November[15]
William Richmond Town of New Plymouth New Plymouth First 5 November[16]
Thomas Henderson Northern Division Auckland First 27 October[17]
Walter Lee Northern Division Auckland Second 27 October[11]
Alfred East Omata New Plymouth First 10 November[14]
John Williamson Pensioner Settlements Auckland First 27 October[18]
Joseph Greenwood Pensioner Settlements Auckland Second 27 October[19]
Charles Taylor Southern Division Auckland Second 26 October[20]
Robert Graham Southern Division Auckland First 26 October[19]
Charles Elliott Waimea Nelson First 5 November[21]
William Travers Waimea Nelson Second 5 November[21]
John Smith Wairarapa and Hawke's Bay Wellington First 26 November[22]
William Wells Wairau Nelson First 19 November[23]
William Fox Wanganui and Rangitikei Wellington First 27 November[24]
Charles Clifford City of Wellington Wellington Second 13 November[25]
Isaac Featherston City of Wellington Wellington Second 13 November[26]
William Fitzherbert City of Wellington Wellington First 13 November[12]
Dudley Ward Wellington Country Wellington First 15 November[27]

Notes edit

  1. ^ "General elections 1853-2005 - dates & turnout". Elections New Zealand. Archived from the original on 14 November 2014. Retrieved 12 September 2010.
  2. ^ Wilson 1985.
  3. ^ a b Scholefield 1950, p. 102.
  4. ^ a b c d Scholefield 1950, p. 99.
  5. ^ a b Scholefield 1950, p. 95.
  6. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 126.
  7. ^ a b c Scholefield 1950, p. 97.
  8. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 111.
  9. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 138.
  10. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 121.
  11. ^ a b Scholefield 1950, p. 120.
  12. ^ a b Scholefield 1950, p. 106.
  13. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 131.
  14. ^ a b Scholefield 1950, p. 104.
  15. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 140.
  16. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 136.
  17. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 113.
  18. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 148.
  19. ^ a b Scholefield 1950, p. 109.
  20. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 143.
  21. ^ a b "Election of members to represent the Waimea districts". Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle. Vol. XIV. 7 November 1855. p. 2. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  22. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 139.
  23. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 147.
  24. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 107.
  25. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 100.
  26. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 105.
  27. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 146.

References edit

  • Scholefield, Guy (1950) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1949 (3rd ed.). Wellington: Govt. Printer.
  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.