New Zealand general election, 1911

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1911 general election
New Zealand
1908 ←
7 to 19 December 1911 → 1914

All 80 seats in the House of Representatives of New Zealand
41 seats were needed for a majority
Turnout 83.5%
  First party Second party Third party
  Joseph George Ward.jpg William Massey.jpg No image.png
Leader Joseph Ward William Massey Alfred Hindmarsh
Party Liberal Reform Labour (original)
Leader since 1906 1909 1910
Leader's seat Awarua Franklin Wellington South
Last election 50 seats, 'not including Independents' Not yet founded 1 seat, 'as IPLL'
Seats before 1
Seats won 33[1] 37[1] 4
Seat change Decrease 17 Increase 37 Increase 3
Popular vote 163,401 161,773 12,491
Percentage 34.23% 33.37% 2.62%
Swing Decrease14.4% Increase 33.37% Increase 2.62%

Prime Minister before election

Joseph Ward

Prime Minister-designate

Joseph Ward

The New Zealand general election of 1911 was held on Thursday, 7 and 14 December in the general electorates, and on Tuesday, 19 December in the Māori electorates to elect a total of 80 MPs to the 18th session of the Parliament of New Zealand. A total number of 590,042 (83.5%) voters turned out to vote.[2] In two seats (Eastern Maori and Gisborne) [3] there was only one candidate (not one seat, as in Wilson [4]).

The result was that the Liberal Party, which had won a majority of seats (50 of 80) in Parliament, lost 17 seats and its majority, winning only 33. The Reform Party gained 9 to obtain a plurality (37) of seats.[5] Liberal Prime Minister Joseph Ward was able to retain office, but in 1912, Reform Party founder William Massey formed a new government.[6]

Joseph Ward hoped to remain in power with the support of independents and Labour Party members. Several candidates before the election made commitments to support the Ward Government in the event of a no-confidence motion in the House of Representatives. Ward considered delaying a new session of the house, perhaps for six months until June 1912, but following some tough talking from the Governor-General, he set the date as 15 February.[7] To speed up the negotiating process, Ward promised to resign as Prime Minister after the Reform Party's no-confidence motion was defeated. The end result was even at 39 all, with the Speaker casting the deciding vote in favour of the Ward Government. Joseph Ward then resigned as Prime Minister on 28 March 1912. He was succeeded by Thomas Mackenzie and his new Cabinet was sworn in. The Mackenzie Government lasted only two months and was defeated by a no-confidence motion, 41 votes to 33 on 5 July 1912.[6]

The Second Ballot Act 1908 provided for second or runoff ballots between the top two candidates where the top candidate did not get an absolute majority. The second ballot was held seven days after the first ballot except in ten large rural seats, where fourteen days was allowed. At the 1911 election, all 30 second ballots were held seven days later. Two 1913 by-elections (Grey and Lyttelton) also required second ballots.

The Second Ballot Act did not apply to the Maori electorates, and was used only in 1908 and 1911, as it was repealed in 1913.

In 1911 were the first triennial national referendum on prohibition of alcohol. Referendums were subsequently held in conjunction with each general election (except for 1931 and 1951) until they were abolished in 1989.

Summary of results[edit]

Party totals[edit]

Election results
Party Total votes Percentage Seats won
Reform 159,309 33.37 37
Liberal 163,401 34.23 33
Labour (1910) 12,491 2.62 4
Socialist 2,134 0.45 0
Independent 140,001 29.33 6
477,336 80

Votes summary[edit]

Popular Vote
Labour (1910)
Parliament seats
Labour (1910)


The following are the results of the 1911 general election:


 Reform    Liberal    Socialist  
 Labour (original)    Independent   Affiliation unknown
Electorate results for the New Zealand general election, 1911[8]
Electorate Incumbent Winner Majority Runner up
General electorates[nb 1]
Ashburton William Nosworthy 913† John Kennedy
Auckland Central Albert Glover 2,261 Michael Joseph Savage
Auckland East Arthur Myers 1,993 Arthur Withy
Auckland West Charles Poole James Bradney 1,577 Charles Poole
Avon George Russell 271† James McCombs
Awarua Joseph Ward 628 John Hamilton
Bay of Islands Vernon Reed 183 George Wilkinson[9]
Bay of Plenty William MacDonald 535 Harry De Lautour
Bruce James Allen 675 Parker McKinlay
Buller James Colvin 150 Fergus Ferguson Munro
Gisborne James Carroll (uncontested)
Parnell Frank Lawry James Samuel Dickson 438† John Findlay
Raglan (new electorate) Richard Bollard 919† Allen Bell
Waimarino (new electorate) Robert William Smith 480† Frank Hockly
Waipawa Charles Hall George Hunter 569 Albert Jull
Waitemata Leonard Phillips James Samuel Dickson 407† William Joseph Napier
Wellington East David McLaren Alfred Newman 65 David McLaren
Māori electorates[nb 2]
Eastern Maori Sir Apirana Ngata (uncontested)
Northern Maori Te Rangi Hīroa 405 Riapo Timoti Puhipi
Southern Maori Tame Parata Taare Parata 31 Hopere Uru
Western Maori Henare Kaihau Maui Pomare 565 Henare Kaihau

Table footnotes:

  1. ^ † in Majority column depicts electorates in which a second ballot was held.
  2. ^ The affiliation of many of the Maori candidates is unknown or uncertain; note that the Second Ballot Act 1908 did not apply to Maori constituencies.
Electorate Incumbent Winner Second Place
Chalmers Edward Henry Clark Edward Henry Clark J T Johnson
Christchurch East Thomas Davey Thomas Davey Henry Thacker
Christchurch North Leonard Isitt Leonard Isitt J D Hall
Christchurch South Harry Ell Harry Ell Gains Whiting
Clutha Alexander Malcolm Alexander Malcolm G Livingstone
Dunedin Central James Frederick Arnold Charles Statham James Frederick Arnold
Dunedin North George Thomson George Thomson R R Douglas
Dunedin South Thomas Sidey Thomas Sidey John McManus
Dunedin West John A. Millar John A. Millar Harry Bedford
Eden John Bollard John Bollard W J Speight
Egmont Bradshaw Dive Thomas Mackenzie Bradshaw Dive
Ellesmere Heaton Rhodes Heaton Rhodes G Armstrong
Franklin William Massey William Massey J W McLarin
Grey Arthur Guinness Arthur Guinness Paddy Webb
Grey Lynn George Fowlds John Payne George Fowlds
Hawke's Bay Alfred Dillon Hugh Campbell H I Simson
Hurunui George Forbes George Forbes D D Macfarlane
Hutt Thomas Wilford Thomas Wilford Michael Reardon
Invercargill Josiah Hanan Josiah Hanan T Fleming
Kaiapoi David Buddo David Buddo R Moore
Kaipara John Stallworthy Gordon Coates John Stallworthy
Lyttelton George Laurenson George Laurenson Colin Cook
Manukau Frederic Lang Frederic Lang R D Stewart
Marsden Francis Mander Francis Mander E C Purdie
Masterton Alexander Hogg George Sykes Alexander Hogg
Mataura George Anderson George Anderson J MacGibbon
Motueka Roderick McKenzie Roderick McKenzie F W O Smith
Napier Vigor Brown Vigor Brown H T Hill
Nelson John Graham Harry Atmore W G Moffatt
Oamaru Thomas Young Duncan Ernest Lee Thomas Young Duncan
Ohinemuri Hugh Poland Hugh Poland Pat Hickey
Oroua David Guthrie David Guthrie R E Hornblow
Otago Central New Electorate Robert Scott W D Mason
Otaki William Hughes Field John Robertson William Hughes Field
Pahiatua Robert Ross James Escott Robert Ross
Palmerston David Buick David Buick Robert McNab
Patea George Pearce George Pearce P O'Dea
Rangitikei Robert William Smith Edward Newman W Meldrum
Riccarton George Witty George Witty C H Ensor
Selwyn Charles Hardy William Dickie Charles Hardy
Stratford John Hine John Hine J McCluggage
Taranaki Henry Okey Henry Okey Charles Bellringer
Taumarunui William Thomas Jennings Charles Wilson William Thomas Jennings
Tauranga William Herries William Herries R King
Temuka New Electorate Thomas Buxton W Jeffries
Thames Edmund Taylor Thomas William Rhodes Edmund Taylor
Timaru James Craigie James Craigie J H Moore
Waikato Henry Greenslade Alexander Young Henry Greenslade
Waimarino New Electorate Robert William Smith Frank Hockly
Wairarapa Walter Clarke Buchanan Walter Clarke Buchanan J. T. Marryat Hornsby
Wairau John Duncan Richard McCallum John Duncan
Waitaki William Steward Francis Henry Smith John Macpherson
Wakatipu William Fraser William Fraser James Horn
Wallace John Charles Thomson John Charles Thomson A Carmichael
Wanganui James Thomas Hogan Bill Veitch James Thomas Hogan
Wellington Central Francis Fisher Francis Fisher Robert Fletcher
Wellington East David McLaren Alfred Newman David McLaren
Wellington North Alexander Herdman Alexander Herdman Arnold Woolford Izard
Wellington South Robert Wright Alfred Hindmarsh Robert Wright
Wellington Suburbs and Country John Luke William Henry Dillon Bell Frank Moore
Westland Tom Seddon Tom Seddon Henry Michel

Summary of changes[edit]

A boundary redistribution resulted in the abolition of four electorates:[10]

At the same time, four new electorates came into being:[11][12]

  • Otago Central, first formed through the 1911 electoral redistribution
  • Raglan, previously abolished in 1870
  • Temuka, first formed through the 1911 electoral redistribution
  • Waimarino, first formed through the 1911 electoral redistribution
  • Wellington Suburbs and Country, first formed through the 1911 electoral redistribution


  1. ^ a b Three Party Politics, Michael Bassett (page 5)
  2. ^ "General elections 1853-2005 - dates & turnout". Elections New Zealand. Retrieved 12 January 2011. 
  3. ^ Bassett 1982, p. 66.
  4. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 286.
  5. ^ "General elections 1890-1993 - seats won by party",
  6. ^ a b Bassett 1982, p. 3-14.
  7. ^ Bassett 1982, p. 5-6.
  8. ^ "The General Election, 1911". National Library. 1912. pp. 1–14. Retrieved 1 August 2013. 
  9. ^ "Political Gossip". The Marlborough Express C (266). 16 November 1914. p. 3. Retrieved 26 April 2015. 
  10. ^ McRobie 1989, pp. 71–76.
  11. ^ McRobie 1989, pp. 75f.
  12. ^ Wilson 1985, pp. 269–273.


  • Bassett, Michael (1982). Three Party Politics in New Zealand 1911–1931. Auckland: Historical Publications. ISBN 0-86870-006-1. 
  • McRobie, Alan (1989). Electoral Atlas of New Zealand. Wellington: GP Books. ISBN 0-477-01384-8. 
  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First published in 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.