1911 New Zealand general election

The 1911 New Zealand general election was held on Thursday, 7 and 14 December in the general electorates, and on Tuesday, 19 December in the Māori electorates to elect a total of 80 MPs to the 18th session of the New Zealand Parliament. A total number of 590,042 (83.5%) voters turned out to vote.[2] In two seats (Eastern Maori and Gisborne)[3] there was only one candidate (not one seat, as in Wilson[4]).

1911 general election

← 1908 7 to 19 December 1911 1914 →

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 1919.jpg Alfred H. Hindmarsh.png
Leader Joseph Ward William Massey Alfred Hindmarsh
Party Liberal Reform Labour
Last election 50 seats New 1 seat
Seats won 33[1] 37[1] 4[1]
Seat change Decrease 17 Increase 37 Increase 3
Popular vote 163,401 161,773 35,869
Percentage 34.23% 33.37% 7.51%
Swing Decrease14.4% Increase 33.37% Increase 2.62%

1911 New Zealand general election - Results.svg
Results of the election.

Prime Minister before election

Joseph Ward

Subsequent Prime Minister

Joseph Ward


The result was that the Liberal Party, which had won a majority of seats (50 of 80) in Parliament, lost 17 seats and its majority, winning only 33. The Reform Party gained 9 to obtain a plurality (37) of seats.[5] Liberal Prime Minister Joseph Ward was able to retain office, but in 1912, Reform Party founder William Massey formed a new government.[6]

Joseph Ward hoped to remain in power with the support of independents and Labour Party members. Several candidates before the election made commitments to support the Ward Government in the event of a no-confidence motion in the House of Representatives. Ward considered delaying a new session of the house, perhaps for six months until June 1912, but following some tough talking from the Governor-General John Dickson-Poynder, he set the date as 15 February.[7] To speed up the negotiating process, Ward promised to resign as Prime Minister after the Reform Party's no-confidence motion was defeated. The end result was even at 39 all, with the Speaker casting the deciding vote in favour of the Ward Government. Joseph Ward then resigned as Prime Minister on 28 March 1912. He was succeeded by Thomas Mackenzie and his new Cabinet was sworn in. The Mackenzie Government lasted only two months and was defeated by a no-confidence motion, 41 votes to 33 on 5 July 1912.[6]

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 seven days after the first ballot except in ten large rural seats, where fourteen days was allowed. At the 1911 election, all 30 second ballots were held seven days later. Two 1913 by-elections (Grey and Lyttelton) also required second ballots.

The Second Ballot Act did not apply to the Maori electorates, and was used only in 1908 and 1911, as it was repealed in 1913.

In 1911 were the first triennial national referendum on prohibition of alcohol. Referendums were subsequently held in conjunction with each general election (except for 1931 and 1951) until they were abolished in 1989.

Summary of resultsEdit

Party totalsEdit

Election results
Party Candidates Total votes Percentage Seats won
Reform 64 159,309 33.37 37
Liberal 89 163,401 34.23 33
Labour 20 35,869 7.51 4
Socialist 8 9,091 1.90 0
Independent 59 109,666 22.97 6
240 477,336 80

Votes summaryEdit

Popular Vote
Parliament seats


The following are the results of the 1911 general election:


  Reform     Liberal     Labour     Independent Liberal     Independent Labour  
  Socialist     Liberal–Labour   Independent   Affiliation unknown
Electorate results for the 1911 New Zealand general election[8]
Electorate Incumbent Winner Majority Runner up
General electorates[nb 1]
Ashburton William Nosworthy 913† John Kennedy
Auckland Central Albert Glover 2,261 Michael Joseph Savage
Auckland East Arthur Myers 1,993 Arthur Withy
Auckland West Charles Poole James Bradney 1,577 Charles Poole
Avon George Warren Russell 271† James McCombs
Awarua Joseph Ward 628 John Hamilton
Bay of Islands Vernon Reed 183 George Wilkinson[9]
Bay of Plenty William MacDonald 535 Harry De Lautour
Bruce James Allen 675 Parker McKinlay
Buller James Colvin 150 Fergus Ferguson Munro
Chalmers Edward Henry Clark 326† John Thomas Johnson
Christchurch East Thomas Davey 1181† Henry Thacker
Christchurch North Leonard Isitt 749† John Hall
Christchurch South Harry Ell 631 Gains Whiting
Clutha Alexander Malcolm 375 George Livingstone[10]
Dunedin Central James Arnold Charles Statham 1544 James Arnold
Dunedin North George Thomson 759† Robert Douglas
Dunedin South Thomas Sidey 745 John McManus
Dunedin West John A. Millar 639† Harry Bedford
Eden John Bollard 663 William Speight
Egmont Bradshaw Dive Thomas Mackenzie 327 Bradshaw Dive
Ellesmere Heaton Rhodes 1581 George Armstrong
Franklin William Massey 1963 John McLarin[11]
Gisborne James Carroll Uncontested
Grey Arthur Guinness 1138 Paddy Webb
Grey Lynn George Fowlds John Payne 38† George Fowlds
Hawke's Bay Alfred Dillon Hugh Campbell 1107† Horace Simson
Hurunui George Forbes 939 David Macfarlane
Hutt Thomas Wilford 1931 Michael Reardon
Invercargill Josiah Hanan 667† Thomas Fleming
Kaiapoi David Buddo 209† Richard Moore
Kaipara John Stallworthy Gordon Coates 572† John Stallworthy
Lyttelton George Laurenson 2079 Colin Cook
Manukau Frederic Lang 2307 Ralph Stewart
Marsden Francis Mander 544 Edmund Purdie
Masterton Alexander Hogg George Sykes 581† Alexander Hogg
Mataura George Anderson 857 John MacGibbon
Motueka Roderick McKenzie 1104 Frederick Smith
Napier Vigor Brown 1064 Henry Hill[12]
Nelson John Graham Harry Atmore 1516† Walter Moffatt
Oamaru Thomas Young Duncan Ernest Lee 1364 Thomas Young Duncan
Ohinemuri Hugh Poland 1207† Pat Hickey
Oroua David Guthrie 1092 Robert Hornblow
Otago Central New electorate Robert Scott 1810 William Mason
Otaki William Hughes Field John Robertson 21† William Hughes Field
Pahiatua Robert Ross James Escott 573† Robert Ross
Palmerston David Buick 832 Robert McNab
Parnell Frank Lawry James Samuel Dickson 438† John Findlay
Patea George Pearce 960 Patrick O'Dea
Raglan New electorate Richard Bollard 919† Allen Bell
Rangitikei Robert William Smith Edward Newman 1028 William Meldrum
Riccarton George Witty 1373† Charles Ensor
Selwyn Charles Hardy William Dickie 271 Charles Hardy
Stratford John Hine 730 Joseph McCluggage
Taranaki Henry Okey 754 Charles Bellringer
Taumarunui William Thomas Jennings Charles Wilson 125 William Thomas Jennings
Tauranga William Herries 1941 Robert King
Temuka New electorate Thomas Buxton 1372 William Jeffries
Thames Edmund Taylor Thomas William Rhodes 66 Edmund Taylor
Timaru James Craigie 1226 Joseph Moore
Waikato Henry Greenslade Alexander Young 1128 Henry Greenslade
Waimarino New electorate Robert William Smith 480† Frank Hockly
Waipawa Charles Hall George Hunter 569 Albert Jull
Wairarapa Walter Clarke Buchanan 125 J. T. Marryat Hornsby
Wairau John Duncan Richard McCallum 142† John Duncan
Waitaki William Steward Francis Henry Smith 84† John Macpherson
Waitemata Leonard Phillips James Samuel Dickson 407† William Joseph Napier
Wakatipu William Fraser 91 James Horn
Wallace John Charles Thomson 1962 Alan Carmichael
Wanganui James Thomas Hogan Bill Veitch 1156† James Thomas Hogan
Wellington East David McLaren Alfred Newman 65† David McLaren
Wellington Central Francis Fisher 131† Robert Fletcher
Wellington North Alexander Herdman 1807 Arnold Woolford Izard
Wellington South Robert Wright Alfred Hindmarsh 254† Robert Wright
Wellington Suburbs and Country John Luke William Henry Dillon Bell 399 Frank Moore
Westland Tom Seddon 271 Henry Michel
Māori electorates[nb 2]
Eastern Maori Āpirana Ngata Uncontested
Northern Maori Te Rangi Hīroa 405 Riapo Timoti Puhipi
Southern Maori Tame Parata Taare Parata 31 Hopere Uru
Western Maori Henare Kaihau Māui Pōmare 565 Henare Kaihau

Table footnotes:

  1. ^ † in Majority column depicts electorates in which a second ballot was held.
  2. ^ The affiliation of many of the Maori candidates is unknown or uncertain; note that the Second Ballot Act 1908 did not apply to Maori constituencies.

Summary of changesEdit

A boundary redistribution resulted in the abolition of four electorates:[13]

At the same time, four new electorates came into being:[14][15]

  • Otago Central, first formed through the 1911 electoral redistribution
  • Raglan, previously abolished in 1870
  • Temuka, first formed through the 1911 electoral redistribution
  • Waimarino, first formed through the 1911 electoral redistribution
  • Wellington Suburbs and Country, first formed through the 1911 electoral redistribution


  1. ^ a b c Bassett 1982, p. 5.
  2. ^ "General elections 1853-2005 - dates & turnout". Elections New Zealand. Archived from the original on 14 November 2014. Retrieved 12 January 2011.
  3. ^ Bassett 1982, p. 66.
  4. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 286.
  5. ^ "General elections 1890-1993 - seats won by party" Archived 2011-11-09 at the Wayback Machine, Elections.org
  6. ^ a b Bassett 1982, p. 3-14.
  7. ^ Bassett 1982, p. 5-6.
  8. ^ "The General Election, 1911". National Library. 1912. pp. 1–14. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  9. ^ "Political Gossip". The Marlborough Express. Vol. C, no. 266. 16 November 1914. p. 3. Retrieved 26 April 2015.
  10. ^ "Clutha". Otago Witness. No. 3008. 8 November 1911. p. 37. Retrieved 1 August 2020.
  11. ^ "Electoral district of Franklin: nominations". Auckland Star. Vol. XLII, no. 290. 6 December 1911. p. 16. Retrieved 1 August 2020.
  12. ^ Matthews, Kay Morris. "Henry Hill". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  13. ^ McRobie 1989, pp. 71–76.
  14. ^ McRobie 1989, pp. 75f.
  15. ^ Wilson 1985, pp. 269–273.


  • Bassett, Michael (1982). Three Party Politics in New Zealand 1911–1931. Auckland: Historical Publications. ISBN 0-86870-006-1.
  • McRobie, Alan (1989). Electoral Atlas of New Zealand. Wellington: GP Books. ISBN 0-477-01384-8.
  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First published in 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.