New Zealand general election, 1928

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New Zealand general election, 1928
New Zealand
1925 ←
13 (Māori) & 14 November (general) 1928
→ 1931

All 80 seats in the House of Representatives
41 seats were needed for a majority
Turnout 88.01%
  First party Second party
  Joseph Gordon Coates 1931.jpg George William Forbes.jpg
Leader Gordon Coates George Forbes
Party Reform United
Leader since 1925 1925
Leader's seat Kaipara Hurunui
Last election 55 seats, 47.7% 11 seats, 22.4%
Seats won 27 27
Seat change Decrease 28 Increase 16
Popular vote 263,382 225,042
Percentage 34.82% 29.75%
Swing Decrease 9.97% Increase 7.26%

  Third party Fourth party
  Harry Holland (1925).jpg Harold Montague Rushworth (1940).jpg
Leader Harry Holland Harold Rushworth
Party Labour Country Party
Leader since 1919
Leader's seat Buller
Last election 12 seats, 27.2% 0, 0.35%
Seats won 19 1
Seat change Increase 7 Increase 1
Popular vote 198,092 11,990
Percentage 26.19% 1.59%
Swing Increase 3.50% Increase 1.24%

Prime Minister before election

Gordon Coates

Prime Minister-designate

Joseph Ward

The New Zealand general election of 1928 was held on 13 and 14 November in the and Māori and European electorates, respectively, to elect 80 MPs to the 23rd session of the New Zealand Parliament.

1928 was the year postal voting introduced for certain specified groups (e.g. invalids) who could not get to a polling booth on election day.

In 1927, a faction of the decaying Liberal Party formed a new organisation, which was eventually named the United Party. In 1928. to the considerable surprise of most observers and many members of the party itself, United won a considerable victory, taking Auckland East and Grey Lynn from Labour. So the United Government came to power. And Labour, the official Opposttion since 1926, was replaced by Reform.[1]

The election[edit]

The 1928 election was held on Tuesday, 13 November in the Māori electorates, and on Wednesday, 14 November in the general electorates to elect a total of 80 MPs to the 23rd session of Parliament. A total of 844,633 electors were registered on the European roll, of which 743,691 (88.05%) turned out to vote.[2] All 80 electorates were contested.[3] 47 and 29 electorates were in the North Island and South Island, respectively, plus the 4 Māori electorates.[4]

Result by Party[edit]

The table below shows the result of the 1928 election. The Bay of Islands electorate went to Harold Rushworth of the Country Party after a recount of the votes, but the election was declared void January 1929.[5][6] Rushworth won the resulting by-election.[6]

Party Candidates Total votes Percentage Seats won Change
Reform 74 271,259 35.87 281 -27
United 60 228,438 30.20 272 +16
Labour 59 197,953 26.17 19 +7
Independent 30 41,767 5.52 5 +3
Country Party 5 11,990 1.59 1 +1
Ratana 3 4,924 0.65 0 ±0
Total 231 756,331 80

1 Includes two who won as Independent Reform

2  United  previously contested as  Liberal  

Initial composition of the 23rd Parliament[edit]

The United Party was organised, in the House of Representatives, prior to the dissolution of the 22nd Parliament.

The Auckland Star reported, on 18 September 1928, that:[7]

... the United Party were assembled yesterday in Wellington when Sir Joseph Ward accepted the leadership of the party. It had previously been decided, by unanimous resolution, that the party should go to the polls as “The United Party ...

The Evening Post newspaper reported on the same day that:[8]

The Rt. Hon. Sir Joseph Ward took his seat as Leader of the United Party in the House of Representatives this afternoon, Mr G.W. Forbes, who has led the Nationalist Party up to the present, relinquishing his former place in favour of Sir Joseph. From now until the end of the session the Nationalist Party ceases to exist under that name.


 Labour    Independent    United    Reform    Ratana    Country Party  

Electorate results for the New Zealand general election, 1928[9]
Electorate Incumbent Winner Majority Runner up
General electorates
Auckland Central Bill Parry 3,024 William Hewitt (United)
Auckland East John A. Lee James Donald 37 John A. Lee (Labour)
Auckland Suburbs (new electorate) Rex Mason 1,098 Sir James Gunson (Reform)
Auckland West Michael Savage 1,341 Richard Speirs (United)
Avon Dan Sullivan 3,845 G.T. Baker (United)
Awarua John Hamilton Philip De La Perrelle 1,005 John Hamilton (Reform)
Bay of Islands Allen Bell (R) Harold Rushworth (C) 2 Allen Bell (R) (Reform)
Bay of Plenty Kenneth Williams (R) 1,867 Alexander Moncur (L) (Labour)
Buller Harry Holland (L) 3,617 D.M. Robertson (R) (Reform)
Central Otago (new electorate) William Bodkin (U) 653 J. Ritchie (R) (Reform)
Chalmers James M. Dickson (R) Alfred Ansell (R) 619 N. Campbell (L) (Labour)
Christchurch East Tim Armstrong (L) 2,260 D.F. Dennehy (U) (United)
Christchurch North Henry Holland 1,892 Ernest Andrews (United)
Christchurch South Ted Howard (L) 433 C.S. McCully (U) (United)
Clutha Fred Waite (R) 523 Joseph Stephens[10] (Lib-Lab) (Independent)
Dunedin Central Sir Charles Statham (Ind) 1,771 J. Robinson (L) (Labour)
Dunedin North Harold Tapley (R) Jim Munro (L) 1,231 Harold Tapley (R) (Reform)
Dunedin South Thomas Sidey (U) William Taverner (U) 33 R.W. Hall (L) (Labour)
Dunedin West Downie Stewart (R) 1,277 C.M. Moss (U) (United)
Eden Rex Mason (L) Arthur Stallworthy (U) 2,436 Vivian Potter (R) (Reform)
Egmont Oswald Hawken (R) Charles Wilkinson (Ind) 1,286 Oswald Hawken (R) (Reform)
Franklin Ewen McLennan (R) Jack Massey (R) 134 Harry Mellsop (C) (Country Party)
Gisborne Douglas Lysnar (R) Douglas Lysnar (Ind R) 346 David Coleman (L) (Labour)
Grey Lynn Fred Bartram (L) John Fletcher (U) 64 Fred Bartram (L) (Labour)
Hamilton Alexander Young (R) 1,073 S.C.G. Lye (Lib-Lab) (Independent)
Hauraki (new electorate) Arthur Hall (R) 891 Ebenezer Allan (U) (United)
Hawke's Bay Hugh Campbell (R) 690 Jack Lyon[11] (Labour)
Hurunui George Forbes (U) 1,839 L.R.C. Macfarlane (R) (Reform)
Hutt Thomas Wilford (U) 1,305 Walter Nash (L) (Labour)
Invercargill Sir Joseph Ward, Bt. (U) 3,178 S.M. Macalister (Ind R) (Independent)
Kaiapoi David Buddo Richard Hawke 96 James Arthur Flesher (Reform)
Kaipara Gordon Coates (R) 2,475 J.G. Barclay (L) (Labour)
Lyttelton James McCombs 1,867 John Beanland (Reform)
Manawatu Joseph Linklater (R) 1,466 P.J. Small (U) (United)
Manukau Bill Jordan (L) 3,659 Walter Kells-Mason (U) (United)
Marsden William Jones (R) Alfred Murdoch (U) 450 William Jones (R) (Reform)
Masterton George Sykes (R) 1,238 J.W. Thompson (U) (United)
Mataura George Anderson (R) David McDougall (U) 62 George Anderson (R) (Reform)
Mid-Canterbury (new electorate) David Jones (R) 55 Jeremiah Connolly (U) (United)
Motueka Richard Hudson (R) George Black (U) 613 Richard Hudson (R) (Reform)
Napier John Mason (R) Bill Barnard (L) 418 John Mason (R) (Reform)
Nelson Harry Atmore (Ind) 2,309 F.W.O. Smith (R) (Reform)
New Plymouth (new electorate) Sydney Smith (U) 1,467 Charles Bellringer (R) (Reform)
Oamaru Ernest Lee (R) John Macpherson (U) 337 Ernest Lee (R) (Reform)
Oroua John Eliott (R) John Cobbe (U) 732 John Eliott (R) (Reform)
Otaki William Field (R) 813 A.B. Sievwright (U) (United)
Pahiatua Alfred Ransom 922 Harold Smith (Reform)
Palmerston Jimmy Nash (R) 2,350 W. Bromley (L) (Labour)
Parnell James S. Dickson (R) Harry Jenkins (U) 849 James S. Dickson (R) (Reform)
Patea Harold Dickie (R) 182 J.D. Hislop (U) (United)
Raglan Lee Martin (L) 1,041 W. Seavill (R) (Reform)
Rangitikei William Glenn (R) James Hogan (Ind) 1,234 William Glenn (R) (Reform)
Riccarton Herbert Kyle (R) 45 A.A. McLachlan (U) (United)
Roskill Vivian Potter (R) George Munns (U) 2,344 Arthur Richards (L) (Labour)
Rotorua Frank Hockly (R) Cecil Clinkard (U) 200 Frank Hockly (R) (Reform)
Stratford Edward Walter William Polson 982 Edward Walter (Reform)
Tauranga Charles MacMillan 678 D.C. Chalmers (Labour)
Temuka Thomas Burnett 86 T.H. Langford (United)
Thames Thomas Rhodes Albert Samuel 1,302 J.S. Montgomerie (Labour)
Timaru Frank Rolleston Clyde Carr 467 Frank Rolleston (Reform)
Waikato Stewart Reid Frederick Lye 86 Stewart Reid (Reform)
Waimarino Robert Smith Frank Langstone 985 Robert Smith (United)
Waipawa Sir George Hunter 1,860 E.A. Goodger (Independent)
Wairarapa Alexander McLeod Thomas McDonald 566 Alexander McLeod (Reform)
Wairau William Girling Edward Healy 292 William Girling (Reform)
Waitaki John Bitchener 1,202 Frederick Cooke (Labour)
Waitemata Alexander Harris 315 Reginald Greville (United)
Waitomo John Rolleston Walter Broadfoot 532 John Rolleston (Reform)
Wallace Adam Hamilton 20 Walter Taylor (United)
Wanganui Bill Veitch 2,137 W. J. Rogers (Labour)
Wellington Central Peter Fraser 3,458 Andrew Sloane (Reform)
Wellington East Thomas Forsyth Bob Semple 966 Thomas Forsyth (Reform)
Wellington North Sir John Luke Charles Chapman 47 Sir John Luke (Reform)
Wellington South Robert McKeen 2,953 Martin Luckie (Reform)
Wellington Suburbs Robert Wright 1,985 Tom Brindle (Labour)
Westland Tom Seddon James O'Brien 185 Tom Seddon (United)
Māori electorates
Eastern Maori Sir Apirana Ngata 3,104 Pita Moko (Ratana)
Northern Maori Taurekareka Henare 880 Paraire Karaka Paikea (Ratana)
Southern Maori Henare Uru Tuiti Makitanara 1 Eruera Tirikatene (Ratana)
Western Maori Sir Maui Pomare 1,599 Toko Ratana (Ratana)


  1. ^ Bassett 1982, p. 46.
  2. ^ "General elections 1853-2005 - dates & turnout". Elections New Zealand. Retrieved 12 January 2011. 
  3. ^ "General Election". Auckland Star LIX (255). 27 October 1928. p. 14. Retrieved 27 November 2012. 
  4. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 173.
  5. ^ "State of Parties". Auckland Star LIX (280). 26 November 1928. p. 10. Retrieved 27 November 2012. 
  6. ^ a b Wilson 1985, p. 232.
  7. ^ "Leadership Settled". Auckland Star LIX (221). 18 September 1928. p. 9. Retrieved 12 December 2013. 
  8. ^ "New Leader Takes His Seat". The Evening Post CVI (58). 18 September 1928. p. 13. Retrieved 12 December 2013. 
  9. ^ The General Election, 1928. Government Printer. 1929. pp. 1–7. Retrieved 4 December 2013. 
  10. ^ "Labour's Candidates". Maoriland Worker 12 (299). 22 November 1922. p. 12. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  11. ^ "Death in Action". The New Zealand Herald. LXXVIII (23984). 6 June 1941. p. 9. Retrieved 29 June 2014. 


  • Bassett, Michael (1982). Three Party Politics in New Zealand 1911–1931. Auckland: Historical Publications. ISBN 0-86870-006-1. 
  • Mackie, Thomas T.; Rose, Richard (1991). The International Almanac of Electoral History, 3rd edition. Macmillan. 
  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103. 

External links[edit]