1940 Auckland West by-election

The Auckland West by-election of 1940 was a by-election for the electorate of Auckland West held on 18 May 1940 during the 26th New Zealand Parliament. The by-election resulted from the death on 27 March 1940 of the previous member Michael Joseph Savage, the revered prime minister whose terminal illness had not been made public.

1940 Auckland West by-election

← 1938 general 18 May 1940 (1940-05-18) 1943 general →
Turnout8,136 (60.03%)
  Peter Carr.png Wilfred Fortune 1950.jpg
Candidate Peter Carr Wilfred Fortune
Party Labour Independent
Popular vote 6,151 2,958
Percentage 63.24 30.41

MP before election

Michael Joseph Savage

Elected MP

Peter Carr


The by-election was won by Peter Carr; also of the Labour Party. The other aspirants for the Labour nomination were Charles Bailey, Mary Dreaver, L. W. Holt, N. E. Herring, John Thomas Jennings, T. P. McCready, Winnifred Moore, Joe Sayegh, John Stewart and Jeremiah James Sullivan.[1]

Because of the war, the National Party did not nominate a candidate, and four of the five candidates who stood against the Labour candidate lost their deposit. The freshly forged Democratic Labour Party (DLP) by expelled Labour rebel John A. Lee also abstained from contesting. Lee's chief lieutenant Norman Douglas was approached by the DLP to contest the by-election in an effort to boost the new party's publicity, but Douglas declined to stand.[2]


The following table gives the election results:

1940 Auckland West by-election[3]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Peter Carr 6,151 63.24
Independent Wilfred Fortune 2,958 30.41
Communist Gordon Watson 375 3.86
Independent Socialist Lawrence Pickles 132 1.36
Liberal Joseph Kennedy 15 0.15
Independent Enoch Naden 8 0.08
Majority 3,193 32.83
Informal votes 68 0.70 +0.05
Turnout 8,136 60.03
Registered electors 16,170
Labour hold Swing

In 1946, Carr also died in office. Wilfred Fortune, who stood as an independent, subsequently became a National candidate (1943) and MP (1946) for the Eden electorate.


  1. ^ "Mr. Carr Is Labour Choice For Auckland W." Northern Advocate. 26 April 1940. p. 7. Retrieved 16 January 2019 – via Papers Past.
  2. ^ Olssen 1978, pp. 49.
  3. ^ "Declaration of Results". Auckland Star. Vol. LXXI, no. 125. 28 May 1940. p. 3. Retrieved 2 September 2016.


  • Gustafson, Barry (1986). From the Cradle to the Grave: a biography of Michael Joseph Savage. Auckland: Reed Methuen. ISBN 0-474-00138-5.
  • Olssen, Erik (1978), "The Impact of John A. Lee's Expulsion upon the Labour Party", New Zealand Journal of History, 12 (1)
  • New Zealand Official Yearbook 1941 p825
  • Four lose Deposits (Auckland Star, 20 May 1940 p5)