1957 New Zealand general election

The 1957 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of the New Zealand Parliament's 32nd term. It saw the governing National Party narrowly defeated by the Labour Party. The 1957 elections marked the beginning of the second Labour government, although this administration was to last only a single term.

1957 New Zealand general election

← 1954 30 November 1957 (1957-11-30) 1960 →

All 80 seats in the New Zealand Parliament
41 seats were needed for a majority
Turnout1,157,365 (92.9%)
  First party Second party
  Walter Nash (ca 1940s).jpg Keith Holyoake (crop).jpg
Leader Walter Nash Keith Holyoake
Party Labour National
Leader since 17 January 1951 13 August 1957
Leader's seat Hutt Pahiatua
Last election 35 seats, 44.1% 45 seats, 44.3%
Seats won 41 39
Seat change Increase 6 Decrease 6
Popular vote 559,096 511,699
Percentage 48.3% 44.2%
Swing Increase 4.2% Decrease 0.1%

1957 New Zealand general election - Results.svg
Results of the election.

Prime Minister before election

Keith Holyoake

Subsequent Prime Minister

Walter Nash


The National Party had formed its first administration after the 1949 elections, and had been re-elected in the 1951 elections and the 1954 elections. As its third term in office continued, however, the Prime Minister, Sidney Holland, became increasingly ill. Holland's memory began to fail, and he is believed to have suffered a mild heart attack during the Suez Crisis. A mere two months before the 1957 election, Holland was persuaded by his party to step down; Keith Holyoake, his deputy, became Prime Minister. The Labour Party was still led by Walter Nash, who had been Finance Minister in the first Labour government.

The 1957 election campaign was dominated largely by financial issues, particularly introduction of the PAYE tax system. As a campaign promise, Labour announced that in the year that PAYE commenced, there would be a flat rebate of £100 on income tax — National attacked this as an election bribe. Labour also campaigned to abolish compulsory military training. National made no great changes to its policy platform, and Holyoake largely retained the Cabinet he had inherited from his predecessor.

MPs retiring in 1957Edit

Six National MPs intended to retire at the end of the 31st Parliament. No Labour MPs retired.

Party Name Electorate
National Ernest Corbett Egmont
George Herron Awarua
Sidney Holland Fendalton
Tom Macdonald Wallace
Edgar Neale Nelson
Matthew Oram Manawatu

Jack Massey also left parliament at the election. He intended to stand again in Franklin but was deselected as a candidate by the National Party.[1]

The electionEdit

The date for the main 1957 election was 30 November. 1,252,329 people were registered to vote, and turnout was 92.9%. This turnout, although only average for the time, was not to be equalled or exceeded until the 1984 election. The number of seats being contested was 80, a number which had been fixed since 1902.

The Labour candidate for Clutha, Bruce Waters, died the day before the general election, and the election there was postponed to 18 January 1958.[2]

Election resultsEdit

Party standingsEdit

The 1957 election saw the governing National Party defeated by a narrow two-seat margin. It had previously held a ten-seat majority. National won a total of thirty-nine seats, while the Labour Party won forty-one. In the popular vote, National won 44% to Labour's 48%. The Social Credit Party won 7% of the vote, a drop from its previous result of 11%. It still won no seats.

Election results
Party Candidates Total votes Percentage Seats won change
Labour 80 559,096 48.31 41 +6
National 80 511,699 44.21 39 −6
Social Credit 80 83,498 7.21 0 ±0
Communist 5 706 0.06 0 ±0
Liberal Federation 2 282 0.02 0 ±0
Independents 11 2,084 0.18 0 ±0
Total 258 1,157,365 80

Votes summaryEdit

Popular Vote
Social Credit
Parliament seats
Holyoake (right) congratulating Nash (left) on Labour's victory.

The table below shows the results of the 1957 general election:


  Labour     National  

Electorate results for the 1957 New Zealand general election. [3]
Electorate Incumbent Winner Majority Runner up
General electorates
Ashburton Geoff Gerard 1,769 George Glassey
Auckland Central Bill Anderton 3,856 Aileen Joyce
Avon John Mathison 6,100 William Ernest Olds
Awarua George Herron Gordon Grieve 1,636 J P Wyatt[4]
Bay of Plenty Percy Allen 910 Godfrey Santon
Buller Jerry Skinner 2,677 N L Bensenmann
Christchurch Central Robert Macfarlane 4,071 Colin McLachlan
Clutha James Roy 1,490 Joseph Fahey [nb 1]
Dunedin Central Phil Connolly 1,778 Marcus Anderson
Dunedin North Ethel McMillan 3,408 George Terry
Eden Duncan Rae 498 Ian Watkins[5]
Egmont Ernest Corbett William Sheat 2,697 Clarence Robert Parker
Fendalton Sidney Holland Jack Watts 824 Lawrence Godfrey Graham White[6]
Franklin Jack Massey Alfred E. Allen 4,241 Christopher Mountford
Gisborne Reginald Keeling 1,182 Arthur MacPherson
Grey Lynn Fred Hackett 5,785 Bernard Griffiths
Hamilton Hilda Ross 1,110 Ben Waters
Hastings Ted Keating 1,070 Arthur Heafy Sievewright
Hauraki General Arthur Kinsella 1,161 Brevat William Dynes
Hawkes Bay Cyril Harker 2,858 Leonard Thomas Fischer
Heretaunga Phil Holloway 5,117 Allan McCready
Hobson Sidney Smith 3,134 Colin Moyle
Hurunui William Gillespie 1,749 Lyn Christie
Hutt Walter Nash 4,430 Lance Adams-Schneider
Invercargill Ralph Hanan 679 Thomas Francis Doyle
Island Bay Arnold Nordmeyer 4,209 Saul Goldsmith[7]
Karori Jack Marshall 3,061 Keith Spry
Lyttelton Harry Lake Norman Kirk 567 Harry Lake
Manawatu Matthew Oram Blair Tennent 1,575 Patrick Kelliher
Manukau Leon Götz 159 Cyril Douglas Stamp
Marlborough Tom Shand 1,782 Roy Evans
Marsden Don McKay 2,088 Mervyn Allan Hosking
Miramar Bill Fox 2,077 Clevedon Costello
Mornington Wally Hudson 2,817 Walter MacDougall
Mt Albert Warren Freer 3,987 Geoffrey Taylor
Napier Jim Edwards 2,413 Raymond Vincent Foster
Nelson Edgar Neale Stan Whitehead 509 Colin Wilson Martin
New Plymouth Ernest Aderman 657 Ron Barclay
North Shore Dean Eyre 462 Peter Lawrence Smith
Onehunga Hugh Watt 5,686 Donald Watson
Onslow Henry May 2,675 Kevin O'Brien [8]
Otago Central John George 2,788 J H Rapson
Otahuhu James Deas 3,442 Clive Haszard
Otaki Jimmy Maher 1,122 Cyril Shamy
Pahiatua Keith Holyoake 4,020 William Erle Rose
Palmerston North Philip Skoglund 1,348 Bill Brown
Patea Roy Jack 902 Benjamin R. Winchcombe
Petone Mick Moohan 4,159 Dan Riddiford
Piako New electorate Stan Goosman 3,812 Alistair Walker
Ponsonby Ritchie Macdonald 6,592 Gordon Frederick Smith
Raglan Hallyburton Johnstone Douglas Carter 161 Alan Baxter
Rangitikei Norman Shelton 2,983 Stephen Malcolm Roberton
Remuera Ronald Algie 4,766 Russell Gordon Penney
Riccarton Mick Connelly 2,867 Deena V. Sergel[9]
Rodney Jack Scott 3,112 George Webber
Roskill John Rae Arthur Faulkner 2,117 John Rae
Rotorua Ray Boord 2,009 Murray Linton
Selwyn John McAlpine 1,731 Stanley Marshall Cook
St Albans Jack Watts Neville Pickering 501 Eric Philip Wills [10]
St Kilda Jim Barnes Bill Fraser 791 Jim Barnes
Stratford Thomas Murray 3,172 J M Deegan
Sydenham Mabel Howard 6,450 Oliver G. Moody
Tamaki Eric Halstead Bob Tizard 589 Eric Halstead
Tauranga George Walsh 3,342 Oliver Liddell
Timaru Clyde Carr 2,954 Alfred Davey
Waikato Geoffrey Sim 2,013 Arthur John Ingram
Waipa Stan Goosman Hallyburton Johnstone 1,813 Albert Clifford Tucker
Wairarapa Bert Cooksley 1,058 Bob Wilkie[11]
Waitakere Rex Mason 3,682 Leonard Bradley
Waitaki New electorate Thomas Hayman 1,618 A G Braddock
Waitemata Norman King 2,191 Robert Muldoon
Waitomo David Seath 2,474 Vic Haines
Wallace Tom Macdonald Brian Talboys 4,319 John Reid
Wanganui Joe Cotterill 1,419 Alice Kathleen Maclean
Wellington Central Frank Kitts 1,685 Max Wall
Westland Jim Kent 4,745 Fred Boustridge
Māori electorates
Eastern Maori Tiaki Omana 4,197 Wiremu Hoete Maxwell
Northern Maori Tapihana Paikea 4,310 Timothy James Davis
Southern Maori Eruera Tirikatene 4,383 Thomas Stratton
Western Maori Iriaka Rātana 5,553 Pei Te Hurinui Jones

Table footnotes:

  1. ^ The previous Labour candidate, Bruce Waters, died the day before the general election, so the election in Clutha was postponed to 18 January 1958[2]

Post-election eventsEdit

A number of local by-elections were required due to the resignations of incumbent local body politicians following the general election:


  1. ^ Gustafson 1986, pp. 235.
  2. ^ a b Norton 1988, p. 209.
  3. ^ Norton 1988, pp. ?.
  4. ^ Norton 1988, p. 197.
  5. ^ Norton 1988, p. 220.
  6. ^ Norton 1988, p. 224.
  7. ^ Gustafson 1986, pp. 364f.
  8. ^ Gustafson 1986, p. 381.
  9. ^ Gustafson 1986, p. 386.
  10. ^ Gustafson 1986, p. 390.
  11. ^ Espiner, Guyon (3 March 2012). "Profile: Labour deputy Grant Robertson". New Zealand Listener. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  12. ^ "Mayoralty to Mr Manning". The Press. 19 May 1958.
  13. ^ "Council Seats – Gain of Two by Citizens". The Press. 19 May 1958.


  • Gustafson, Barry (1986). The First 50 Years : A History of the New Zealand National Party. Auckland: Reed Methuen. ISBN 0-474-00177-6.
  • Norton, Clifford (1988). New Zealand Parliamentary Election Results 1946-1987: Occasional Publications No 1, Department of Political Science. Wellington: Victoria University of Wellington. ISBN 0-475-11200-8.
  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First published in 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.