New Zealand general election, 1946

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New Zealand general election, 1946
New Zealand
1943 ←
26 (Māori) & 27 November (general) 1946 → 1949

All 80 seats in the Parliament of New Zealand
41 seats were needed for a majority
Turnout 1,047,205 (93.5%)
  First party Second party
  Peter Fraser.jpg Sidney George Holland (1953).jpg
Leader Peter Fraser Sidney Holland
Party Labour National
Leader since 1940 1940
Leader's seat Wellington Central Christchurch North
Last election 45 seats, 47.6% 34 seats, 42.8%
Seats won 42 38
Seat change Decrease 3 Increase 4
Popular vote 536,994 507,139
Percentage 51.3% 48.4%
Swing Increase 3.7% Increase 5.6%

Prime Minister before election

Peter Fraser

Elected Prime Minister

Peter Fraser

The 1946 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of the Parliament of New Zealand's 28th term. It saw the governing Labour Party re-elected, but by a substantially narrower margin than in the three previous elections. The National Party continued its gradual rise.


The Labour Party had been in government since winning the 1935 elections, and had been re-elected twice. However, the National Party had managed to overcome the internal problems which had once troubled it, and now presented a credible threat to Labour. National's leader, Sidney Holland, was proving more effective than his predecessor, while the Prime Minister, Peter Fraser, was weary and in poor health. The after-effects of World War II, including ongoing shortages, were having an impact on the government's popularity.

The next census was scheduled for 1946, but the government brought it forward to September 1945, so that the results could be used for the 1946 electoral redistribution prior to the planned 1946 election.[1] The 1946 electoral redistribution had to take ten years of population growth and movements into account. The North Island gained a further two electorates from the South Island due to faster population growth. The abolition of the country quota through the Electoral Amendment Act, 1945 reduced the number and increased the size of rural electorates. None of the existing electorates remained unchanged, 26 electorates were abolished, 19 electorates were created for the first time, and six former electorates were re-established.[2]

The election[edit]

The date for the main 1946 elections was 27 November, a Wednesday. Elections to the four Māori electorates were held the day before. 1,081,898 people were registered to vote, and there was a turnout of 93.5%. This turnout was the highest ever recorded at this point. The number of seats being contested was 80, a number which had been fixed since 1902.[3]

The outcome of the election was probably affected by the abolition of the country quota the previous year.[citation needed] This had required rural electorates to be smaller than urban electorates, thus increasing the importance of the rural vote. Since National was more popular than Labour in rural areas, the change may have cost National the election.

Election results[edit]

Party standings[edit]

The 1946 election saw the governing Labour Party retain office by a four-seat margin, winning forty-two seats to the National Party's thirty-eight. In the popular vote — Labour won 51.3% and National won 48.4%. No other parties won any significant share of the vote, and no independents were elected — only 0.3% of voters did not support one of the two major parties. After Harry Atmore of Nelson died, no candidate who was not from the two main parties managed to enter Parliament until the 1966 elections, when the Social Credit Party won its first seat.

Party Votes Percentage Seats won change
Labour 536,994 51.28 42 -3
National 507,139 48.43 38 +4
Communist 1,181 0.11 0 0
Independents 1,891 0.18 0 -1
Labour re-elected 1,047,205 80

Initial MPs[edit]

The table below shows the results of the 1946 general election:


 Labour    National  

Electorate results for the New Zealand general election, 1946[4]
Electorate Incumbent Winner Majority Runner up
General electorates
Arch Hill (new electorate) Bill Parry[5] 6,585 E J Clark
Ashburton (new electorate) Richard Geoffrey Gerard 1,453 Mrs A Newlands
Auckland Central Bill Parry[5] Bill Anderton[6] 3,478 Leon Götz[7] (National)
Avon Dan Sullivan 5,180 R A McDowell (National)
Awarua George Richard Herron 2,588 G G M Mitchell (Labour)
Bay of Plenty Bill Sullivan[8] 1,634 Ray Boord[9][4] (Labour)
Brooklyn (new electorate) Peter Fraser[10] 3,935 S Hardy
Buller Paddy Webb Clarence Skinner 2,912 P E McDonald (National)
Central Otago William Bodkin 2,909 C Capell (Labour)
Christchurch Central (new electorate) Robert Macfarlane 4,420 A J Wills
Clutha James Roy 2,140 J P Thompson (Labour)
Dunedin Central Peter Neilson Philip Connolly 2,000 Thomas Kay Stuart Sidey[11][4] (National)
Eden Bill Anderton[6] Wilfred Fortune[12] 1,281 Warren Freer[13][4] (Labour)
Egmont Ernest Corbett[14] 3,398 C R Parker (Labour)
Fendalton (new electorate) Sidney Holland 3,004 A G Williams
Franklin Jack Massey 4,023 A D J Gunn (Labour)
Gisborne David William Coleman 2,015 Harry Barker[15] (National)
Grey Lynn Fred Hackett 5,910 H S Barry (National)
Hamilton Hilda Ross 327 J Granville (Labour)
Hastings (new electorate) Edward Luttrell Cullen 483 Eric Pryor[16]
Hauraki Andrew Sutherland 2,891 J W Neate (Labour)
Hawke's Bay Edward Luttrell Cullen Cyril Harker 2,014 H E Beattie (Labour)
Hobson (new electorate) Sidney Walter Smith 3,580 H K Hatrick
Hurunui William Henry Gillespie 1,440 John Mathison (Labour)
Hutt Walter Nash 2,587 J E F Vogel (National)
Invercargill William Denham Ralph Hanan 224 William Denham (Labour)
Island Bay (new electorate) Robert McKeen 3,958 H E Childs
Karori (new electorate) Charles Bowden 2,042 P C McGavin
Lyttelton Terry McCombs 1,543 Edward Bickmore Ellison Taylor[17] (National)
Manawatu Matthew Oram 2,467 Phil Holloway (Labour)
Marlborough Edwin Meachen Tom Shand 179 Edwin Meachen (Labour)
Marsden Alfred Murdoch 2,149 J S Stewart (Labour)
Miramar (new electorate) Bob Semple 2,482 L T Jacobsen
Mornington (new electorate) Walter Arthur Hudson 4,681 L D McIver
Mount Albert (new electorate) Arthur Shapton Richards 1,857 F A Hosking
Mount Victoria (new electorate) Jack Marshall 911 E Casey
Napier Tommy Armstrong 1,845 A J Price (National)
Nelson vacant[nb 1] Edgar Neale 585 C H Goodman (Labour)
New Plymouth Ernest Aderman 405 G Nimmo (Labour)
North Dunedin Robert Walls 1,630 Norman Jones[18] (National)
North Shore (new electorate) Martyn Finlay 249 Henry Thorne Morton[19]
Oamaru Arnold Nordmeyer 232 T R Beatty (National)
Onehunga Arthur Osborne 3,424 W K King (National)
Onslow (new electorate) Harry Ernest Combs 1,578 P P Lynch
Otahuhu Charles Robert Petrie 220 C A Murdoch (National)
Otaki Leonard Lowry James Joseph Maher 44 Jim Thorn (Labour)
Pahiatua Keith Holyoake 3,697 O E Niederer (Labour)
Palmerston North Joe Hodgens Ormond Wilson 928 A E Mansford (National)
Parnell (new electorate) Duncan Rae 206 Frederick Schramm
Patea William Sheat 870 R J O'Dea (Labour)
Petone (new electorate) Michael Moohan 4,019 G London
Piako (new electorate) William Goosman 5,101 E A Waters
Ponsonby (new electorate) Ritchie Macdonald 3,431 Peter E Dempsey[20]
Raglan Hallyburton Johnstone Alan Baxter 13 Hallyburton Johnstone (National)
Rangitikei Edward Gordon 2,307 J D Capstick (Labour)
Remuera Ronald Algie 4,410 J Freeman (Labour)
Riccarton Jack Watts Angus McLagan 3,875 V W Wilson (National)
Rodney (new electorate) Clifton Webb 2,850 A B Dixon
Roskill Arthur Shapton Richards Frank Langstone 155 Roy McElroy[21] (National)
St Albans (new electorate) Jack Watts 86 Morgan Williams[22]
St Kilda (new electorate) Fred Jones 1,248 L J T Ireland
Selwyn (new electorate) John McAlpine 472 E A Sharp
Sydenham (new electorate) Mabel Howard 6,746 R Hunter
Tamaki (new electorate) Tom Skinner 231 J G C Wales
Tauranga Frederick Doidge 2,704 D A Hill (Labour)
Timaru Clyde Carr 520 Jack Acland[23] (National)
Waikato William Goosman Geoffrey Sim 4,385 J Dwyer (Labour)
Waimarino Frank Langstone Paddy Kearins 681 N R Hill (National)
Waimate (new electorate) David Campbell Kidd 789 W R Davison
Wairarapa Benjamin Roberts Garnet Hercules Mackley 235 G A Hansen (Labour)
Waitakere (new electorate) Rex Mason 2,797 A M Laing
Waitomo Walter Broadfoot 3,951 A G Goldsmith (Labour)
Wallace Adam Hamilton Tom Macdonald 3,716 D J Munro (Labour)
Wanganui Joseph Cotterill 1,934 E W Merewether (National)
Wellington Central Peter Fraser Charles Henry Chapman 1,680 Agnes Louisa Weston[nb 2] (National)
Westland James O'Brien 4,716 E Frank Chivers[26][27]
Māori electorates
Eastern Maori Tiaki Omana 1,517 Apirana Ngata (National)
Northern Maori Tapihana Paraire Paikea 2,555 James Henare (National)
Southern Maori Eruera Tirikatene 581 Vernon Ohaia Mason Thomas (National)
Western Maori Matiu Ratana 6,491 Hoeroa Taraua Utiku Marumaru (National)

Table footnotes:

  1. ^ Harry Atmore, the previous holder of the Nelson electorate, died on 20 August 1946
  2. ^ Claude Weston died suddenly on 10 November 1946 and was replaced by his wife[24][25]

By-elections during 28th Parliament[edit]

There were a number of changes during the term of the 28th Parliament.

Electorate and by-election Date Incumbent Cause Winner
Avon 1947 28 May Dan Sullivan Death Jock Mathison
Mount Albert 1947 24 September Arthur Richards Death Warren Freer
Westland 1947 3 December James O'Brien Death James Kent


  1. ^ "Politics brought the 1946 Census forward to 1945". Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 1 January 2014. 
  2. ^ McRobie 1989, pp. 91–96.
  3. ^ "General elections 1853-2005 - dates & turnout". Elections New Zealand. Retrieved 12 January 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d "The General Election, 1946". National Library. 1947. pp. 1–11, 14. Retrieved 1 January 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Wilson 1985, p. 225.
  6. ^ a b Wilson 1985, p. 180.
  7. ^ Gustafson 1986, p. 315.
  8. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 237.
  9. ^ Norton 1988, p. 200.
  10. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 198.
  11. ^ Norton 1988, p. 212.
  12. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 197.
  13. ^ Norton 1988, p. 220.
  14. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 190.
  15. ^ Milton-Tee, Ann. "Harry Heaton Barker". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved December 2011. 
  16. ^ Gustafson 1986, p. 382.
  17. ^ Gustafson 1986, p. 387.
  18. ^ Gustafson 1986, pp. 323f.
  19. ^ Gustafson 1986, p. 334.
  20. ^ Gustafson 1986, pp. 360f.
  21. ^ Gustafson 1986, p. 375.
  22. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 245.
  23. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 179.
  24. ^ Gustafson 1986, p. 389.
  25. ^ "Claude Horace Weston". Auckland War Memorial Museum. Retrieved 28 March 2014. 
  26. ^ "General Election". Auckland Star. LXXIV (203). 27 August 1943. p. 4. Retrieved 3 November 2014. 
  27. ^ "Chivers, E Frank, DSM, MID". Torpedo Bay Navy Museum. Retrieved 3 November 2014. 


  • Gustafson, Barry (1986). The First 50 Years : A History of the New Zealand National Party. Auckland: Reed Methuen. ISBN 0-474-00177-6. 
  • Norton, Clifford (1988). New Zealand Parliamentary Election Results 1946–1987. Wellington: Victoria University of Wellington. ISBN 0-475-11200-8. 
  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First published in 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.