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1972 general electionEdit

The 1972 general election was held on Saturday, 25 November.[1] A total of 87 MPs were elected; 58 represented North Island electorates, 25 represented South Island electorates, and the remaining four represented Māori electorates; this was an increase in the number of MPs by three since the 1969 election, and the gain was all for the North Island.[2] 1,583,256 voters were enrolled and the official turnout at the election was 89.1%.[1]


The 37th Parliament sat for three sessions, and was prorogued on 10 October 1975.[3]

Session Opened Adjouned
first 14 February 1973 23 November 1973
second 4 February 1974 8 November 1974
third 25 March 1975 10 October 1975


The National Party, which had come to power at the 1960 election, was defeated by the Labour Party at the 1972 election. Norman Kirk formed the third Labour Government and led the Kirk Ministry until his sudden death on 31 August 1974. After Hugh Watt had been acting Prime Minister for the first few days of September 1974, Kirk was succeeded by Bill Rowling on 6 September. The Rowling Ministry lasted until the end of the parliamentary term, when the Labour Government was defeated by National in the 1975 election.[4]

Overview of seatsEdit

The table below shows the number of MPs in each party following the 1972 election and at dissolution:

Affiliation Members
At 1972 election At dissolution
Labour Government 55 55
National Opposition 32 32
87 87
Working Government majority 23 23


  • The Working Government majority is calculated as all Government MPs less all other parties.

Initial composition of the 37th ParliamentEdit

The table below shows the results of the 1972 general election:


 National    Labour    Social Credit    Independent  

Electorate results for the New Zealand general election, 1972
Electorate Incumbent Winner Majority Runner up
General electorates
Auckland Central Norman Douglas 2,009 Clive Edwards
Avon John Mathison Mary Batchelor 6,055 Gordon Thomas
Awarua Hugh Templeton Aubrey Begg 723 Hugh Templeton
Bay of Plenty Percy Allen 2,189 G B Mead
Birkenhead Norman King 1,533 Don McKinnon
Christchurch Central Bruce Barclay 5,103 Barbara Beaven
Clutha Peter Gordon 2,131 Les McKay[5]
Coromandel New electorate Leo Schultz 2,181 Mrs A Murphy
Dunedin Central Brian MacDonell 3,771 Fred O'Neill[6]
Dunedin North Ethel McMillan 4,020 John Wallis[7]
East Coast Bays New electorate Frank Gill 979 B T Pauling
Eden John Rae Mike Moore 788 Mary Kidd[8]
Egmont Venn Young 2,928 R L Peck
Franklin Alfred E. Allen Bill Birch 4,188 Geoff Braybrooke
Gisborne Esme Tombleson Trevor Davey 488 Esme Tombleson[9]
Grey Lynn Eddie Isbey 5,487 Jens Meder
Hamilton East New electorate Rufus Rogers 397 Ross Jansen
Hamilton West Leslie Munro Dorothy Jelicich 544 G S D Heather
Hastings Duncan MacIntyre Richard Mayson 1,148 Duncan MacIntyre
Hawkes Bay Richard Harrison 600 David Butcher [10]
Henderson Martyn Finlay 4,221 Ross C. MacFarlane[11]
Heretaunga Ron Bailey 2,964 John Schnellenberg[12]
Hobson Logan Sloane 1,148 Howard Manning
Hutt Trevor Young 3,397 Michael Fowler
Invercargill John Chewings J. B. Munro 765 John Chewings
Island Bay Gerald O'Brien 3,495 Bruce Farland
Kapiti New electorate Frank O'Flynn 706 Barry Brill
Karori Jack Marshall 4,408 Adam Floyd
King Country New electorate Jim Bolger 1,240 Brent Clifton Sakey
Lyttelton Tom McGuigan 3,235 John Blumsky
Manawatu Les Gandar Allan McCready 427 Mervyn Hancock
Mangere Colin Moyle 3,939 S A Lawson
Manukau Roger Douglas 2,844 R O Price
Manurewa Phil Amos 2,397 Pat Baker[13]
Marlborough Ian Brooks 1,290 Bruno Dalliessi
Miramar Bill Young 434 Brian Edwards
Mt Albert Warren Freer 3,980 John Malcolm
Napier Gordon Christie 3,725 Merle Bell
Nelson Stanley Whitehead 1,933 Ian McWhannell
New Lynn Jonathan Hunt 4,312 G D McDermott
New Plymouth Ron Barclay 1,296 Terry Boon
North Shore George Gair 2,821 Colin Chiles
Oamaru Allan Dick Bill Laney 390 Allan Dick
Onehunga Hugh Watt 4,835 Peter Blakeborough
Otago Central Murray Rose Ian Quigley 1,483 Murray Rose
Otahuhu New electorate Bob Tizard 6,403 D C Brooker
Pahiatua Keith Holyoake 4,359 L J Cairns
Pakuranga Bob Tizard Gavin Downie 1,802 J B Irwin
Palmerston North Joe Walding 1,766 Paul William Mitchell
Papanui Bert Walker 1,734 Mollie Clark
Petone Fraser Colman 5,340 N G Ursin
Piako Jack Luxton 4,472 I L Howell
Porirua Gerard Wall 4,399 Ross Alexander Doughty
Raglan Douglas Carter 1,350 Allan John Smith
Rakaia New electorate Colin McLachlan 2,133 Alex Clark
Rangiora Herbert Pickering Kerry Burke 866 Adrian Hiatt
Rangitikei Norman Shelton Roy Jack 3,037 N R Pearce [nb 1]
Remuera Allan Highet 6,118 Rex Stanton
Riccarton Eric Holland 2,164 David Jackson
Rodney Peter Wilkinson 4,507 P W Trim
Roskill Arthur Faulkner 4,439 John Maurice Priestley[14]
Rotorua Harry Lapwood 786 N F Pachoud
Ruahine New electorate Les Gandar 552 Taylor Samuel Mihaere
St Albans Roger Drayton 3,066 R T Doak
St Kilda Bill Fraser 5,615 Charles Kirby
South Canterbury Rob Talbot 2,035 David Braithwaite
Stratford David Thomson 3,068 D G Turney
Sydenham Norman Kirk 6,986 J F Burn
Tamaki Robert Muldoon 4,590 Allan Henry Hedger
Tasman New electorate Bill Rowling 1,834 Gerald Hunt
Taupo Rona Stevenson Jack Ridley 783 J F Higgins
Tauranga George Walsh Keith Allen 2,215 Henry Uttinger[15]
Timaru Basil Arthur 3,954 David Arthur John Walker
Waikato Lance Adams-Schneider 4,208 Bob Reese
Wairarapa Jack Williams 1,086 Ben Couch
Waitemata Frank Gill Michael Bassett 2,544 Ray La Varis
Wallace Brian Talboys 2,904 Ian Lamont
Wanganui Bill Tolhurst Russell Marshall 2,879 Bill Tolhurst
Wellington Central Dan Riddiford Ken Comber 27 David Shand [nb 2]
West Coast New electorate Paddy Blanchfield 4,242 Barry Dallas
Western Hutt Henry May 2,392 Julian Watts [nb 3][16]
Whangarei New electorate Murray Smith 1,180 L G Carr
Wigram Mick Connelly 5,255 D G Cox
Māori electorates
Eastern Maori Paraone Reweti 6,190 Koro Dewes
Northern Maori Matiu Rata 5,260 Graham Latimer
Southern Maori Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan 8,251 K Parahi
Western Maori Koro Wētere 8,686 R Te A H Rawiri

Table footnotes:

  1. ^ Bruce Beetham came third for Social Credit in Rangitikei
  2. ^ Shand was first on election night, but lost when special votes were included
  3. ^ Julian Watts was a son of Jack Watts

Select committeesEdit

For the 37th Parliament, elected from the 1972 general election, there were the following select committees in the House of Representatives, as follows:[17]

Select committees in the 37th New Zealand Parliament
Select committee Portfolios/Jurisdictions Members
Defence Military affairs, defence matters, disarmament and arms control
Education Education, education review, industry training, research
Foreign Affairs International relations, immigration, overseas trade
Island Affairs Pacific Islands affairs
Labour Industrial relations
Lands and Agriculture Agriculture, biosecurity, fisheries, forestry, lands, and land information
Library Parliamentary library
Local Bills
Māori Affairs Māori affairs
Petitions Public submissions
Privileges Parliamentary privilege
Public expenditure Finance, revenue, taxation, audit
Road safety
Statutes Revision
Trade and Industry

By-elections during 37th ParliamentEdit

There was one by-election held during the term of the 37th Parliament.

Electorate and by-election Date Incumbent Cause Winner
Sydenham 1974 2 November Norman Kirk Death John Kirk


  1. ^ a b "General elections 1853–2005 - dates & turnout". Elections New Zealand. Archived from the original on 27 May 2010. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  2. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 173.
  3. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 142.
  4. ^ Wilson 1985, pp. 89–94.
  5. ^ Norton 1988, p. 210.
  6. ^ Norton 1988, p. 213.
  7. ^ Norton 1988, p. 215.
  8. ^ Gustafson 1986, p. 371.
  9. ^ Norton 1988, p. 229.
  10. ^ Norton 1988, p. 241.
  11. ^ Norton 1988, p. 243.
  12. ^ "From war refugee to liberal thinker, businessman and books man". 4 March 2017. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
  13. ^ Gustafson 1986, p. 354.
  14. ^ Gustafson 1986, p. 382.
  15. ^ Norton 1988, p. 360.
  16. ^ Gustafson 1986, p. 388.
  17. ^ Parliamentary Debates. 382. Wellington: A. R. Shearer, Government Printer. 1973. pp. 11–12.


  • Gustafson, Barry (1986). The First 50 Years : A History of the New Zealand National Party. Auckland: Reed Methuen. ISBN 0-474-00177-6.
  • Templeton, Ian; Eunson, Keith (1972). In the Balance: Election '72. Dunedin: John McIndoe.
  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.