1969 New Zealand general election

The 1969 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of Parliament's 36th term. It saw the Second National Government headed by Prime Minister Keith Holyoake of the National Party win a fourth consecutive term. This is the most recent election where an incumbent government won a fourth term in office.

1969 New Zealand general election

← 1966 29 November 1969 (1969-11-29) 1972 →

84 seats in the Parliament
43 seats needed for a majority
Turnout1,340,168 (88.94%)
  First party Second party
Leader Keith Holyoake Norman Kirk
Party National Labour
Leader since 13 August 1957 9 December 1965
Leader's seat Pahiatua Lyttelton
Last election 44 seats, 43.6% 35 seats, 41.4%
Seats won 45 39
Seat change Increase 1 Increase 4
Popular vote 605,960 592,055
Percentage 45.2% 44.2%
Swing Increase 1.6% Increase 2.8%

Results by electorate, shaded by winning margin

Prime Minister before election

Keith Holyoake

Subsequent Prime Minister

Keith Holyoake

1967 electoral redistribution edit

Through an amendment in the Electoral Act in 1965, the number of electorates in the South Island was fixed at 25, an increase of one since the 1962 electoral redistribution.[1] It was accepted that through the more rapid population growth in the North Island, the number of its electorates would continue to increase, and to keep proportionality, three new electorates were allowed for in the 1967 electoral redistribution for the next election.[2] In the North Island, five electorates were newly created (Birkenhead, Hamilton West, Henderson, Mangere, and Western Hutt) and one electorate was reconstituted (Waikato) while three electorates were abolished (Hamilton, Waipa, and Waitakere).[3] In the South Island, three electorates were newly created (Papanui, South Canterbury, and Wigram) and one electorate was reconstituted (Oamaru) while three electorates were abolished (Ashburton, Fendalton, and Waitaki).[4] The overall effect of the required changes was highly disruptive to existing electorates, with all but three electorates (Franklin, Wairarapa, and St Kilda) having their boundaries altered.[5] These changes came into effect with the 1969 election.[2]

The increase to 84 electorates was the first since the 1902 electoral distribution.[6] Due to the fixed number of South Island electorates, the number of North Island electorates has increased in every subsequent election until the introduction of mixed-member proportional representation (MMP) for the 1996 election, which fixed the number of seats at 120.[7]

MPs retiring in 1969 edit

Four National MPs and five Labour MPs intended to retire at the end of the 35th Parliament.

Party Name Electorate
National Gordon Grieve Awarua
Arthur Kinsella Hauraki
Jack George Otago Central
Jack Scott Rodney
Labour Robert Macfarlane Christchurch Central
Ritchie Macdonald Grey Lynn
Arnold Nordmeyer Island Bay
Mabel Howard Sydenham
Iriaka Rātana Western Maori

Sir Walter Nash MP for Hutt had announced he would retire at the end of the term in 1969, but he died on 4 June 1968 triggering a by-election instead.[8]

Election edit

The election was held on 29 November. Turnout was 88.94%. The total number of MPs had increased to 84,[9] with at least 3 of the 4 new seats likely Labour seats. 55 and 25 electorates were in the North Island and South Island, respectively, plus the 4 Māori electorates.[10]

Results edit

National pulled off a cliff-hanger victory. National won 45 seats, and Labour won 39 seats, though Labour's share of the vote was only 1% behind National. The Social Credit Party lost its only seat in Parliament: Hobson, formerly held by then party leader Vernon Cracknell.

Despite the hopes of a reinvigorated Labour party under Norman Kirk, Labour was overconfident, started too late, and did not win in Auckland. Relations with the Federation of Labour and the unions were not good, and an industrial dispute on the ship Wainui cost Labour three Auckland seats according to Kirk. Labour MP Warren Freer personally believed that "had it not been for the seamen's strike during the election period, we could have won".[11]

In Eden, Labour was first on election night but lost when special votes were counted.

Election results
Party Candidates Total votes Percentage Seats won Change
National 84 605,960 45.2 45 +1
Labour 84 592,055 44.2 39 +4
Social Credit 84 121,576 9.1 0 −1
Country Party 15 6,715 0.5 0 ±0
Communist 4 418 0.03 0 ±0
Independents 36 8,457 0.6 0 ±0
Total 303 1,340,168 84

Votes summary edit

Popular Vote
Social Credit
Parliament seats

The table below shows the results of the 1969 general election:


  National   Labour   Social Credit   Independent

Electorate results for the 1969 New Zealand general election[12]
Electorate Incumbent Winner Majority Runner up
General electorates
Ashburton Colin McLachlan 2,590 John Srhoy
Auckland Central Norman Douglas 1,124 Clive Edwards
Avon John Mathison 5,600 Alistair Ansell
Awarua Gordon Grieve Hugh Templeton 906 Aubrey Begg
Bay of Plenty Percy Allen 3,440 Barry Kelly
Birkenhead New electorate Norman King 1,701 Don McKinnon
Buller Bill Rowling 2,822 Ernie King
Christchurch Central Robert Macfarlane Bruce Barclay 3,406 Colin Knight
Clutha Peter Gordon 3,618 Les McKay
Dunedin Central Brian MacDonell 3,949 Margaret Mary Reichwein
Dunedin North Ethel McMillan 2,929 Iona Williams
Eden John Rae 67 Keith Sinclair[nb 1]
Egmont Venn Young 4,280 Tom McGreevy
Franklin Alfred E. Allen 5,495 Tai Tuhimata
Gisborne Esme Tombleson 781 Trevor Davey
Grey Lynn Ritchie Macdonald Eddie Isbey 2,915 Jens Meder
Hamilton West New electorate Leslie Munro 1,878 Bob Reese
Hastings Duncan MacIntyre 706 Richard Mayson
Hauraki Arthur Kinsella Leo Schultz 2,121 Dorothy Jelicich
Hawkes Bay Richard Harrison 3,416 David Butcher
Henderson New electorate Martyn Finlay 3,295 Adrian Clarke
Heretaunga Ron Bailey 1,375 Ralph Miller
Hobson Vernon Cracknell Logan Sloane 1,252 Vernon Cracknell
Hutt Trevor Young 1,775 Don Lee
Invercargill Ralph Hanan John Chewings 1,031 Trevor Young
Island Bay Arnold Nordmeyer Gerald O'Brien 1,348 Fairlie Curry
Karori Jack Marshall 6,226 Roy Tombs
Lyttelton Norman Kirk Tom McGuigan 292 Peter de Latour
Manawatu Les Gandar 1,323 Ernie Hemmingsen
Mangere New electorate Colin Moyle 4,588 Neville Charles Slater
Manukau Colin Moyle Roger Douglas 875 Ronald Alfred Walden
Manurewa Phil Amos 1,371 Pat Baker[13]
Marlborough Tom Shand 2,460 Ian Brooks
Marsden Don McKay 1,101 Murray Smith
Miramar Bill Young 1,789 Charles Troughton
Mt Albert Warren Freer 2,837 Gavin Downie
Napier Gordon Christie 1,970 Terry Dunleavy
Nelson Stan Whitehead 1,248 Roy McLennan
New Lynn Jonathan Hunt 3,600 Vic Watson
New Plymouth Ron Barclay 1,000 Brian Clark
North Shore George Gair 3,964 Donald Frederick Dugdale
Oamaru New electorate Allan Dick 497 N Agnew
Onehunga Hugh Watt 4,539 Daphne Double
Otago Central Jack George Murray Rose 1,086 Brian Griffiths
Otaki Allan McCready 2,037 John Scott
Pahiatua Keith Holyoake 4,920 Trevor de Cleene
Pakuranga Bob Tizard 1,253 Noel Holmes
Palmerston North Joe Walding 161 Gordon Cruden
Papanui New electorate Bert Walker 2,096 Martin Hobby
Petone Fraser Colman 3,450 Francis Joshua Handy
Piako Jack Luxton 4,426 George Bryant
Porirua Henry May Gerry Wall 2,744 Paul William Mitchell
Raglan Douglas Carter 593 Dudley Sinclair
Rangiora Lorrie Pickering 1,143 Paul Piesse
Rangitikei Norman Shelton 4,214 Dan Duggan
Remuera Allan Highet 7,097 Hamish Keith
Riccarton Mick Connelly Eric Holland 2,939 Alan C. McEwen
Rodney Jack Scott Peter Wilkinson 2,832 Nevern McConachy
Roskill Arthur Faulkner 3,296 Anthony Cook
Rotorua Harry Lapwood 1,198 Charles Bennett
St Albans Bert Walker Roger Drayton 909 Ian Wilson
St Kilda Bill Fraser 3,795 Lloyd George Anderson
South Canterbury New electorate Rob Talbot 1,215 Maurice Austin Cameron
Stratford David Thomson 4,158 Lindsay Hugh Stockbridge
Sydenham Mabel Howard Norman Kirk 6,026 Peter Morrissey
Tamaki Robert Muldoon 6,088 Alfred David Bolton
Taupo Rona Stevenson 107 Arthur John Ingram
Tauranga George Walsh 2,704 Ray Dillon
Timaru Sir Basil Arthur 3,101 Dave Walker
Waikato New electorate Lance Adams-Schneider 3,408 Alfred Ernest George
Waimarino Roy Jack 2,213 Shaun Alex Cameron
Wairarapa Haddon Donald Jack Williams 467 Haddon Donald
Waitemata Norman King Frank Gill 1,052 Michael Bassett
Waitomo David Seath 5,674 Neil Roger David Shewan
Wallace Brian Talboys 4,532 J Robson
Wanganui George Spooner Bill Tolhurst 959 George Spooner
Wellington Central Dan Riddiford 2,200 Olive Smuts-Kennedy
Western Hutt New electorate Henry May 1,421 Egan E Ogier[14]
Westland Paddy Blanchfield 1,879 Barry Dallas[15]
Wigram New electorate Mick Connelly 3,200 Dick Dawson
Māori electorates
Eastern Maori Paraone Reweti 3,487 Henare Ngata[16]
Northern Maori Matiu Rata 4,758 Graham Latimer
Southern Maori Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan 6,630 Norra Woodbane Pomare
Western Maori Iriaka Rātana Koro Wētere 7,530 P J Hura

Table footnotes:

  1. ^ Sinclair was first on election night for Eden (by 35 votes), but lost when special votes were included

Notes edit

  1. ^ McRobie 1989, pp. 108, 111, 112.
  2. ^ a b McRobie 1989, p. 111.
  3. ^ McRobie 1989, pp. 107, 111.
  4. ^ McRobie 1989, pp. 108, 112.
  5. ^ McRobie 1989, pp. 111f.
  6. ^ Wilson 1985, pp. 287f.
  7. ^ Wilson 1985, pp. 288.
  8. ^ "By-election is necessitated". The Evening Post. 5 June 1968.
  9. ^ "General elections 1853–2005 – dates & turnout". Elections New Zealand. Archived from the original on 17 October 2008.
  10. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 173.
  11. ^ Freer, Warren W (2004). A Lifetime in Politics: the memoirs of Warren Freer. Wellington: Victoria University Press. p. 152. ISBN 0-86473-478-6.
  12. ^ Norton 1988.
  13. ^ Gustafson 1986, p. 354.
  14. ^ Gustafson 1986, p. 381.
  15. ^ Templeton & Eunson 1972, p. 21.
  16. ^ Gustafson 1986, p. 380.

References edit

  • Chapman, George (1980). The Years of Lightning. Wellington: AH & AW Reed. ISBN 0-589-01346-7.
  • Gustafson, Barry (1986). The First 50 Years : A History of the New Zealand National Party. Auckland: Reed Methuen. ISBN 0-474-00177-6.
  • McRobie, Alan (1989). Electoral Atlas of New Zealand. Wellington: GP Books. ISBN 0-477-01384-8.
  • 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.
  • Templeton, Ian; Eunson, Keith (1969). Election '69.
  • Templeton, Ian; Eunson, Keith (1972). In the Balance: Election '72. Dunedin: John McIndoe.
  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First published in 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.