1908 New Zealand general election

The 1908 New Zealand general election was held on Tuesday, 17 and 24 November and 1 December in the general electorates, and on Wednesday, 2 December in the Māori electorates to elect a total of 80 MPs to the 17th session of the New Zealand Parliament. A total number of 537,003 (79.8%) voters turned out to vote.[1]

1908 New Zealand general election

← 1905 17 November to 2 December 1908 1911 →

All 80 seats in the New Zealand House of Representatives
41 seats were needed for a majority
  First party Second party Third party
  Joseph Ward c. 1906.jpg William Ferguson Massey, 1905.jpg David McLaren.jpg
Leader Joseph Ward William Massey David McLaren
Party Liberal Conservative Ind. Labour League
Leader since 6 August 1906 11 September 1903 1908
Leader's seat Awarua Franklin Wellington East
Last election 58 seats 16 seats 0 seats
Seats won 50 26 1
Seat change Decrease 8 Increase 10 Increase 1
Popular vote 315,220 149,286 16,974
Percentage 58.7% 27.8% 3.1%
Swing Increase 5.6% Decrease 1.9% Increase 2.3%

1908 New Zealand general election - Results.svg
Results of the election.

Prime Minister before election

Joseph Ward

Subsequent Prime Minister

Joseph Ward

Changes to the electoral lawEdit

The Second Ballot Act 1908 provided for second or runoff ballots between the top two candidates where the top candidate did not get an absolute majority. The second ballot was held 7 days after the first ballot except in 10 large rural seats, where 14 days were allowed. In 1908, 22 second ballots were held on 24 November and 1 (Bay of Plenty) on 1 December. At the 1911 election, all 30 second ballots were held 7 days later.[2] Two 1909 by-elections (in Rangitikei and Thames) also required second ballots.

The Second Ballot Act of 1908, which did not apply to the Maori electorates, was repealed in 1913.

Summary of resultsEdit

Party totalsEdit

The following table gives party strengths and vote distribution.[3]

Election results
Party Candidates Total votes Percentage Seats won Change
Liberal 108 315,220 58.7 50 -8
Conservative 53 149,286 27.8 26 +10
Ind. Labour League 11 16,974 3.1 1 +1
Socialist 5 2,521 0.6 0 ±0
Independent 45 50,478 9.4 3 -1

Votes summaryEdit

Popular Vote
Ind. Labour League
Parliament seats
Ind. Labour League

Electorate resultsEdit

The following are the results of the 1908 general election:


  Liberal     Conservative     Ind. Labour League     Independent Liberal     Liberal–Labour     Independent  

Electorate results for the 1908 New Zealand general election[4]
Electorate Incumbent Winner Majority Runner up
General electorates[nb 1]
Ashburton John McLachlan William Nosworthy 747† Frederick Flatman
Auckland Central Alfred Kidd Albert Glover 2,540 Alfred Kidd
Auckland East Frederick Baume 1,096 William Richardson
Auckland West Charles Poole 1,455 Robert Thompson
Avon William Tanner George Warren Russell 541† William Tanner
Awarua Joseph Ward 2,183 William Morris
Bay of Islands Robert Houston Vernon Reed 265 John Charles Johnson
Bay of Plenty William Herries William MacDonald 446† James Gow
Bruce James Allen 1,393 Joseph Mosley
Buller James Colvin 997 Fergus Ferguson Munro
Chalmers Edmund Allen Edward Henry Clark 226 Edmund Allen
Christchurch East Thomas Davey 1,666 James McCombs
Christchurch North Charles Gray Tommy Taylor 1,698 Charles Gray
Christchurch South Harry Ell[nb 2] 1,273 Jim Thorn
Clutha Alexander Malcolm 1,799 Frank Isitt
Dunedin Central John A. Millar James Arnold 1,512 John McDonald
Dunedin North Alfred Barclay George Thomson 6 Alfred Barclay
Dunedin South James Arnold Thomas Sidey 1,830 Robert Rutherford Douglas
Dunedin West New electorate John A. Millar 2,447 Jim Munro
Eden John Bollard 2,164 John Shackelford
Egmont William Thomas Jennings Bradshaw Dive 249 George Wake
Ellesmere Heaton Rhodes 902 George Rennie
Franklin William Massey 1,187 John McLarin
Geraldine Frederick Flatman Thomas Buxton 92 William Jeffries
Gisborne New electorate James Carroll 734 George Darton
Grey Arthur Guinness 1,115 James Kerr[nb 3]
Grey Lynn George Fowlds 889 Oliver Nicholson
Hawke's Bay Alfred Dillon 704 William Russell
Hurunui Andrew Rutherford George Forbes 597 Obed Clothier
Hutt Thomas Wilford 1,538 Richard Shortt
Invercargill Josiah Hanan 848 Arthur Paape
Kaiapoi David Buddo 77 Richard Moore
Kaipara John Stallworthy 283 Alfred Harding
Lyttelton George Laurenson 803 Henry Thacker
Manawatu John Stevens Edward Newman 585 John Stevens
Manukau Frederic Lang 1,369 Alfred Creamer
Marsden Francis Mander 704 James Harrison
Masterton Alexander Hogg 1,248 John Hunter
Mataura Robert McNab George Anderson 366 Robert McNab
Motueka Roderick McKenzie 1,501 Frederick Smith
Napier Alfred Fraser Vigor Brown 1,035 Alfred Fraser
Nelson John Graham 14 Harry Atmore
Oamaru Thomas Young Duncan 613 James Mitchell
Ohinemuri Hugh Poland 692† Frederick Haselden
Oroua Frank Lethbridge David Guthrie 941 Owen Pleasants
Otaki William Hughes Field William Hughes Field 93 Byron Brown
Pahiatua Robert Beatson Ross 264 James Cooper
Palmerston William Wood David Buick 81† William Wood
Parnell Frank Lawry 219 Edward George Britton Moss
Patea Walter Symes George Pearce 252 Charles E. Major
Rangitikei Arthur Remington 158 Robert William Smith
Riccarton George Witty 1,600 George Sheat
Selwyn Charles Hardy 383 Joseph Ivess
Stratford New electorate John Hine 724 Walter Symes
Taranaki Henry Okey 1,295 William Malone
Taieri Donald Reid Thomas Mackenzie 521 John Thomas Johnson
Taumarunui New electorate William Thomas Jennings 1,850 William Bowater
Tauranga New electorate William Herries 1,303 James Alexander Young
Thames James McGowan 2,100 Ernest Deeble
Timaru William Hall-Jones James Craigie 380† William David Campbell
Tuapeka William Chapple Robert Scott 697† John MacPherson
Wairarapa J. T. Marryat Hornsby Walter Clarke Buchanan 136 J. T. Marryat Hornsby
Wairau Charles H. Mills John Duncan 252 Robert McArtney
Waikato Henry Greenslade 493 Allen Bell
Waipawa Charles Hall 50 George Hunter
Waitaki William Steward 329 Francis Henry Smith
Waitemata Ewen Alison Leonard Phillips 903† William Joseph Napier
Wakatipu William Fraser 1,151 Andrew Martin
Wallace John Charles Thomson 1,346 Dugald MacPherson
Wanganui James Thomas Hogan 742† George Hutchison
Wellington Central Francis Fisher 143 Thomas Hislop
Wellington East John Aitken David McLaren 427† Arthur Atkinson
Wellington North Charles Hayward Izard Alexander Herdman 826† Frederick Bolton
Wellington South New electorate Robert Wright 558† William Barber
Wellington Suburbs New electorate John Luke 1,148† John Edward Fitzgerald
Westland Tom Seddon 110 Henry Michel
Māori electorates[nb 4]
Eastern Maori Āpirana Ngata 3,010 Tiki Paaka
Northern Maori Hone Heke 1,045 Hare te Rangi
Southern Maori Tame Parata 7 Teone Hopere Wharewiti Uru
Western Maori Henare Kaihau 757 Pepene Eketone

Table footnotes:

  1. ^ † in Majority column depicts electorates in which a second ballot was held.
  2. ^ Harry Ell was previously associated with the Liberal Party.
  3. ^ For some biographical details of James Kerr refer to his father's article
  4. ^ The affiliation of many of the Māori candidates is unknown or uncertain; note that the Second Ballot Act 1908 did not apply to Māori constituencies.

Summary of changesEdit


  1. ^ "General elections 1853–2005 – dates & turnout". Elections New Zealand. Archived from the original on 14 November 2014. Retrieved 12 January 2011.
  2. ^ McLintock, A. H. (1966). "Second Ballot System (1908–13)". An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  3. ^ Wilson 1985, pp. 287–289.
  4. ^ "The General Election, 1908". National Library. 1909. pp. 1–34. Retrieved 14 April 2012.


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