New Zealand general election, 1954

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New Zealand general election, 1954
New Zealand
1951 ←
members
13 November 1954 (1954-11-13)
→ 1957
members

All 80 seats in the Parliament of New Zealand
41 seats were needed for a majority
Turnout 1,096,877 (91.4%)
  First party Second party
  Sidney George Holland (1953).jpg Walter Nash (ca 1940s).jpg
Leader Sidney Holland Walter Nash
Party National Labour
Leader since 1940 1951
Leader's seat Christchurch North Hutt
Last election 50 seats, 54.0% 30 seats, 45.8%
Seats won 45 35
Seat change Decrease 5 Increase 5
Popular vote 485,630 484,028
Percentage 44.3% 44.1%
Swing Decrease 9.7% Decrease1.7%

Prime Minister before election

Sidney Holland
National

Elected Prime Minister

Sidney Holland
National

The 1954 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of the Parliament of New Zealand's 31st term. It saw the governing National Party remain in office, but with a slightly reduced majority. It also saw the debut of the new Social Credit Party, which performed well but won no seats.

Background[edit]

The National Party had formed its first administration after the 1949 elections. It had then been re-elected by a large margin amid the industrial disputes of the 1951 election. The Prime Minister, Sidney Holland, was popular in many sectors of society for his strong line against striking dockworkers and coalminers, while Labour's leader, Walter Nash, had been criticised for his failure to take a firm stand on the issue. Labour was troubled by internal disputes, with Nash subjected to an unsuccessful leadership challenge only a few months before the election. For the election, the National government adopted a "steady as she goes" approach, saying that the country was in good hands and did not need any major policy realignments.

The election[edit]

The date for the main 1954 elections was 13 November. 1,209,670 people were registered to vote, and turnout was 91.4%. The number of seats being contested was 80, a number which had been fixed since 1902.

The following new (or reconstituted) electorates were introduced in 1954: Heretaunga, Rotorua, Stratford, Waipa and Waitemata. [1]

Results[edit]

The 1954 election saw the governing National Party re-elected with a ten-seat margin, a drop from the twenty-seat margin it previously held. National won forty-five seats to the Labour Party's thirty-five. The popular vote was much closer, however, with the two parties separated by only 0.2%. No seats were won by minor party candidates or by independents, but the new Social Credit Party managed to win 11.2% of the vote.

Party Leader Votes Percentage Seats won change
National Sidney Holland 485,630 44.3% 45 -5
Labour Walter Nash 484,028 44.1% 35 +5
Social Credit Wilfrid Owen 122,573 11.2% 0 new party
Communist 1,134 0.1% 0
Others (including independents) 3,474 0.4 0 0
National re-elected 1,096,877 100% 80

The table below shows the results of the 1954 general election:

Key

 National    Labour    Independent    Social Credit  

Electorate results for the New Zealand general election, 1954[2]
Electorate Incumbent Winner Majority Runner up
General electorates
Ashburton Richard Gerard 2,292 G Glassey (Labour)
Auckland Central Bill Anderton (N/A)
Avon John Mathison (N/A)
Awarua George Herron (N/A)
Bay of Plenty Bill Sullivan (N/A)
Buller Clarence Skinner (N/A)
Central Otago William Bodkin John George (N/A)
Christchurch Central Robert Macfarlane (N/A)
Clutha James Roy (N/A)
Dunedin Central Philip Connolly (N/A)
Dunedin North Ethel McMillan (N/A)
Eden Wilfred Fortune Duncan Rae (N/A)
Egmont Ernest Corbett (N/A)
Fendalton Sidney Holland (N/A)
Franklin Jack Massey (N/A)
Gisborne Harry Dudfield Reginald Keeling (N/A)
Grey Lynn Fred Hackett (N/A)
Hamilton Hilda Ross (N/A)
Hastings Sydney Jones Edwin Keating (N/A)
Hauraki Andrew Sutherland Arthur Kinsella 2,659 B W Dynes (Labour)
Hawkes Bay Cyril Harker (N/A)
Heretaunga (new electorate) Phil Holloway 5,058 Allan McCready
Hobson Sidney Smith 2,584 C W Elvidge (Social Credit)
Hurunui William Gillespie 2,395 Norman Kirk (Labour)
Hutt Walter Nash 3,681 C G Costello (National)
Invercargill Ralph Hanan (N/A)
Island Bay Robert McKeen Arnold Nordmeyer (N/A)
Karori Charles Bowden Jack Marshall (N/A)
Lyttelton Harry Lake (N/A)
Manawatu Matthew Oram (N/A)
Manukau Leon Gotz (N/A)
Marlborough Tom Shand (Labour)
Marsden Alfred Murdoch Donald McKay (N/A)
Miramar Bob Semple Bill Fox (N/A)
Mornington Walter Hudson (N/A)
Mt Albert Warren Freer 3,226 Rob Muldoon (National)
Napier Peter Tait James Edwards 720 Peter Tait (National)
Nelson Edgar Neale (N/A)
New Plymouth Ernest Aderman (N/A)
North Shore Dean Eyre 1,395 Arthur Faulkner (Labour)
Oamaru Thomas Hayman (N/A)
Onehunga Hugh Watt 4,389 Alfred E. Allen (National)
Onslow Henry May Wilfred Fortune (National)
Otahuhu Leon Götz James Deas (N/A)
Otaki James Maher 963 E H Langford (Labour)
Pahiatua Keith Holyoake (N/A)
Palmerston North Blair Tennent Philip Skoglund (N/A)
Patea William Sheat Roy Jack 662 Benjamin R Winchcombe (Labour)
Petone Michael Moohan (N/A)
Ponsonby Ritchie Macdonald (N/A)
Raglan Hallyburton Johnstone (N/A)
Rangitikei Edward Gordon Norman Shelton (N/A)
Remuera Ronald Algie 3,544 Bob Tizard (Labour)
Riccarton Angus McLagan (N/A)
Rodney Clifton Webb Jack Scott (N/A)
Roskill John Rae (N/A)
Rotorua (new electorate) Ray Boord
St Albans Jack Watts (N/A)
St Kilda James Barnes (N/A)
Selwyn John McAlpine (N/A)
Stratford (new electorate) Thomas Murray
Sydenham Mabel Howard (N/A)
Tamaki Eric Halstead (N/A)
Tauranga George Walsh (N/A)
Timaru Clyde Carr (N/A)
Waikato Geoffrey Sim (N/A)
Waimate Alfred Davey 1,438 Neville Pickering (Labour)
Waipa (new electorate) William Goosman
Wairarapa Bertie Cooksley (N/A)
Waitakere Rex Mason (N/A)
Waitemata (new electorate) Norman King
Waitomo Walter Broadfoot David Seath (N/A)
Wallace Tom Macdonald (N/A)
Wellington Central Charles Chapman Frank Kitts (N/A)
Westland James Kent 3,605 M Wallace (National)
Whanganui Joseph Cotterill (N/A)
Māori electorates
Eastern Maori Tiaki Omana 3,094 K T Anaru (National)
Northern Maori Tapihana Paikea 4,435 H T Waetford (National)
Southern Maori Eruera Tirikatene 2,864 A T Carroll (National)
Western Maori Iriaka Matiu Ratana 6,637 W R Bennett (National)

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Norton 1988, pp. 7,8,9.
  2. ^ Norton 1988, pp. ?.

References[edit]

  • 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. 
  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First published in 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.