1963 New Zealand general election

The 1963 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of New Zealand Parliament's 34th term. The results were almost identical to those of the previous election, and the governing National Party remained in office.

1963 New Zealand general election

← 1960 30 November 1963 (1963-11-30) 1966 →

All 80 seats in the New Zealand Parliament
41 seats were needed for a majority
Turnout1,196,631 (89.6%)
  First party Second party
Leader Keith Holyoake Arnold Nordmeyer
Party National Labour
Leader since 13 August 1957 1 April 1963
Leader's seat Pahiatua Island Bay
Last election 46 seats, 47.6% 34 seats, 43.4%
Seats won 45 35
Seat change Decrease 1 Increase 1
Popular vote 563,875 524,066
Percentage 47.1% 43.7%
Swing Decrease 0.5% Increase 0.6%

Results by electorate, shaded by winning margin

Prime Minister before election

Keith Holyoake

Subsequent Prime Minister

Keith Holyoake



The 1960 election had been won by the National Party, beginning New Zealand's second period of National government. Keith Holyoake, who had briefly been Prime Minister at the end of the first period, returned to office. The elderly leader of the Labour Party, Walter Nash, had agreed to step down following his government's defeat, but disliked the prospect of being succeeded by his Minister of Finance, Arnold Nordmeyer. Nash instead backed first Jerry Skinner and then, after Skinner's death, Fred Hackett. In the end, however, Nordmeyer was victorious.[1] Nordmeyer, however, was unpopular with the general public, being remembered with hostility for the tax hikes in his so-called 'Black Budget'. Labour struggled to overcome this negative perception of its leader, and was only partially successful.

There had been an unusually large number of by-elections during the term of the 33rd Parliament. None of these had resulted in any upsets, and there was no major indications from the population wanting a change. National held two seats Hurunui and Waitaki, but by reduced margins. The party organisation was also acutely aware that National's win in 1960 was mostly due to public mood against Labour, rather than endorsement of National, and put work in to improving their campaigning. Benefits were seen sooner than expected picking up swings (but not winning) against Labour in two by-elections in the two Labour held seats of Buller and Northern Maori.[2]

Holyoake started his election campaign on 4 November, not even a month out from the election.[3] Whilst television had just been introduced in New Zealand, the election campaign was a dull affair and, from 23 November, the Assassination of John F. Kennedy was the dominant topic in the media.[3]

MPs retiring in 1963


Five National MPs and two Labour MPs intended to retire at the end of the 33rd Parliament.

Party Name Electorate
National Cyril Harker Hawke's Bay
Stan Goosman Piako
Thomas Murray Stratford
Hallyburton Johnstone Waipa
Bert Cooksley Wairarapa
Labour Phil Connolly Dunedin Central
Tiaki Omana Eastern Maori

The election


The date for the main 1963 elections was 30 November. 1,345,836 people were registered to vote, and turnout was 89.6%. This turnout was around average for the time. The number of seats being contested was 80, a number which had been fixed since 1902.

The following new (or reconstituted) electorates were introduced in 1963: Manurewa, New Lynn, Pakuranga, Porirua, Rangiora, Taupo and Waimarino.[4]



The 1963 election saw the governing National Party retain office by a ten-seat margin. It had previously held office by a twelve-seat margin. National won a total of forty-five seats, while the Labour Party won thirty-five. In the popular vote, National won 47.1% to Labour's 43.7%. The Social Credit Party won 7.9% of the vote, but no seats, although their leader Vernon Cracknell came close to winning Hobson, but ultimately lost due to special votes. Four of their candidates also missed the nomination deadline. One political analyst, Professor Robert Chapman, called it "the no change election".[3][5]

Puti Tipene Watene was elected for Eastern Maori; he was a Mormon and was the first non-Ratana to win a Maori seat since 1938.

Election results
Party Candidates Total votes Percentage Seats won Change
National 80 563,875 47.1 45 -1
Labour 80 524,066 43.7 35 +1
Social Credit 76 95,176 7.9 0 ±0
Liberal 23 10,339 0.9 0 ±0
Communist 22 3,167 0.3 0 ±0
Others 9 1,422 0.1 0 ±0
Total 290 1,196,631 80

Votes summary

Popular Vote
Social Credit
Parliament seats

The table below shows the results of the 1963 general election:


  National   Labour   Social Credit

Electorate results for the 1963 New Zealand general election[6]
Electorate Incumbent Winner Majority Runner up
General electorates
Ashburton Geoff Gerard 3,419 Albert George Braddick
Auckland Central Norman Douglas 3,227 John Strevens
Avon John Mathison 5,117 Stan Dodwell
Awarua Gordon Grieve 3,373 Noel Valentine
Bay of Plenty Percy Allen 3,025 Peter Riden
Buller Bill Rowling 1,671 Ernie King
Christchurch Central Robert Macfarlane 1,915 Dave Patchett
Clutha Peter Gordon 3,595 Les McKay
Dunedin Central Phil Connolly Brian MacDonell 1,170 George Robert Thorn[7]
Dunedin North Ethel McMillan 2,524 Edgar Whittleston
Eden John Rae 3,335 Frank Knipe
Egmont William Sheat 3,047 John Seddon
Fendalton Harry Lake 2,740 Bruce Barclay
Franklin Alfred E. Allen 5,848 Ron Ng-Waishing[8]
Gisborne Esme Tombleson 902 Bob MacDonald[9]
Grey Lynn Reginald Keeling Ritchie Macdonald 5,240 Jolyon Firth
Hamilton Lance Adams-Schneider 2,642 J M Cairns
Hastings Duncan MacIntyre 1,944 Ted Keating
Hauraki Arthur Kinsella 2,873 George Broad
Hawkes Bay Cyril Harker Richard Harrison 3,518 John Woolf
Heretaunga Ron Bailey 2,135 Bob Kimmins
Hobson Logan Sloane 31 Vernon Cracknell[nb 1]
Hutt Walter Nash 3,648 Vere Hampson-Tindale
Invercargill Ralph Hanan 1,934 Oliver James Henderson
Island Bay Arnold Nordmeyer 2,388 Fairlie Curry
Karori Jack Marshall 4,020 Keith Spry
Lyttelton Norman Kirk 2,677 Tom Flint
Manawatu Blair Tennent 2,513 Leonard Thomas Fischer
Manukau Leon Götz Colin Moyle 759 Henry Christopher Pryor
Manurewa New electorate Phil Amos 1,524 Leon Götz
Marlborough Tom Shand 2,111 Bill Kenyon
Marsden Don McKay 3,942 O J Lewis
Miramar Bill Fox 416 Bill Young
Mt Albert Warren Freer 3,018 Jeffrey Lloyd Reid
Napier Jim Edwards 785 D'Arcy Ormonde Haskell
Nelson Stan Whitehead 2,610 Peter Malone
New Lynn New electorate Rex Mason 3,052 Charles Alexander McLeod
New Plymouth Ernest Aderman 474 Ron Barclay
North Shore Dean Eyre 2,757 Reginald Keeling
Onehunga Hugh Watt 5,127 J P Mason
Otago Central Jack George 2,675 Stan Rodger
Otaki Allan McCready 3,014 George McDonald
Pahiatua Keith Holyoake 5,733 Ernie Hemmingsen
Pakuranga New electorate Bob Tizard 2,015 Roland Neville-White
Palmerston North Bill Brown 772 Philip Skoglund
Petone Mick Moohan 2,448 Peter Love
Piako Stan Goosman Geoffrey Sim 5,526 N R D Shewan
Porirua New electorate Henry May 3,161 Joseph W. Miller
Raglan Douglas Carter 1,850 Henry Uttinger
Rangiora New electorate Lorrie Pickering 1,425 Te Rino Tirikatene
Rangitikei Norman Shelton 4,307 Russell Wiseman
Remuera Ronald Algie 7,001 Frederick Nelson Goodall
Riccarton Mick Connelly 2,550 Ian Wilson
Rodney Jack Scott 4,320 Chris Pickett
Roskill Arthur Faulkner 3,216 Thomas Tucker
Rotorua Harry Lapwood 2,217 James Phillip Cranston
Selwyn John McAlpine 3,371 Francis Edward Smith
St Albans Bert Walker 2,501 John Palmer
St Kilda Bill Fraser 2,597 Kevin John Marlow
Stratford Thomas Murray David Thomson 4,590 J McLafferty
Sydenham Mabel Howard 5,399 Derek Quigley
Tamaki Robert Muldoon 3,754 Norman Finch
Taupo New electorate Rona Stevenson 275 Arthur John Ingram
Tauranga George Walsh 4,545 Gordon Hardaker
Timaru Sir Basil Arthur 2,831 Maurice John O'Reilly
Waimarino New electorate Roy Jack 1,785 Olive Smuts-Kennedy
Waipa Hallyburton Johnstone Leslie Munro 3,165 Ronald Nelson Little
Wairarapa Bert Cooksley Haddon Donald 501 Jack Williams
Waitaki Allan Dick 2,019 K S Lysaght
Waitakere Rex Mason Martyn Finlay 2,895 Horace Alexander Nash
Waitemata Norman King 2,919 Butch Pugh
Waitomo David Seath 4,655 H C Brown
Wallace Brian Talboys 5,740 John Reid
Wanganui George Spooner 1,397 John Grace
Wellington Central Dan Riddiford 1,508 Frank Kitts
Westland Paddy Blanchfield 4,925 Winston Reynolds
Māori electorates
Eastern Maori Tiaki Omana Puti Tipene Watene 2,566 Arnold Reedy[10]
Northern Maori Matiu Rata 2,123 James Henare
Southern Maori Eruera Tirikatene 4,978 Ben Couch
Western Maori Iriaka Rātana 5,096 Pei Te Hurinui Jones


  1. ^ Vernon Cracknell was first on election night, but lost when special votes were included


  1. ^ Sinclair 1976, pp. 355–7.
  2. ^ Gustafson 1986, p. 90.
  3. ^ a b c Gustafson 2007, p. 134.
  4. ^ Norton 1988, pp. 7, 8, 9.
  5. ^ Gustafson 1986, p. 92.
  6. ^ Norton 1988, pp. ?.
  7. ^ Norton 1988, p. 212.
  8. ^ "Interview with Ron Ng-Waishing". National Library of New Zealand. 1994. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  9. ^ Norton 1988, p. 228.
  10. ^ Gustafson 1986, p. 383.

Works cited

  • Gustafson, Barry (1986). The First 50 Years : A History of the New Zealand National Party. Auckland: Reed Methuen. ISBN 0-474-00177-6.
  • Gustafson, Barry (2007). Kiwi Keith: a biography of Keith Holyoake. Auckland: Auckland University Press. ISBN 978-1-86940-400-0.
  • 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.
  • Sinclair, Keith (1976). Walter Nash. Auckland: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-647949-5.
  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First published in 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.