New Zealand general election, 1957

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New Zealand general election, 1957
New Zealand
1954 ←
30 November 1957 (1957-11-30) → 1960

All 80 seats in the Parliament of New Zealand
41 seats were needed for a majority
Turnout 1,157,365 (92.9%)
  First party Second party
  Walter Nash (ca 1940s).jpg Keith Holyoake (1960).jpg
Leader Walter Nash Keith Holyoake
Party Labour National
Leader since 1951 1957
Leader's seat Hutt Pahiatua
Last election 35 seats, 44.1% 45 seats, 44.3%
Seats won 41 39
Seat change Increase 6 Decrease 6
Popular vote 559,096 511,699
Percentage 48.3% 44.2%
Swing Increase 4.2% Decrease 0.1%

Prime Minister before election

Keith Holyoake

Elected Prime Minister

Walter Nash

The 1957 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of the Parliament of New Zealand's 32nd term. It saw the governing National Party narrowly defeated by the Labour Party. The 1957 elections marked the beginning of the second Labour government, although this administration was to last only a single term.


The National Party had formed its first administration after the 1949 elections, and had been re-elected in the 1951 elections and the 1954 elections. As its third term in office continued, however, the Prime Minister, Sidney Holland, became increasingly ill. Holland's memory began to fail, and he is believed to have suffered a mild heart attack during the Suez Crisis. In early 1957, Holland was persuaded by his party to step down, and Keith Holyoake, his deputy, became Prime Minister. The Labour Party was still led by Walter Nash, who had been Finance Minister in the first Labour government.

The 1957 election campaign was dominated largely by financial issues, particularly introduction of the PAYE tax system. As a campaign promise, Labour announced that in the year that PAYE commenced, there would be a flat rebate of £100 on income tax — National attacked this as an election bribe. Labour also campaigned to abolish compulsory military training. National made no great changes to its policy platform, and Holyoake largely retained the Cabinet he had inherited from his predecessor.

The election[edit]

The date for the main 1957 elections was 30 November. 1,252,329 people were registered to vote, and turnout was 92.9%. This turnout, although only average for the time, was not to be equalled or exceeded until the 1984 elections. The number of seats being contested was 80, a number which had been fixed since 1902.

The Labour candidate for Clutha, R S Waters, died the day before the general election, and the election there was postponed to 18 January 1958.[1]

Election results[edit]

Party standings[edit]

The 1957 election saw the governing National Party defeated by a narrow two-seat margin. It had previously held a ten-seat majority. National won a total of thirty-nine seats, while the Labour Party won forty-one. In the popular vote, National won 44% to Labour's 48%. The Social Credit Party won 7% of the vote, a drop from its previous result of 11%. It still won no seats.

Election results
Party Total votes Percentage Seats won change
Labour 559,096 48.31 41 +6
National 511,699 44.21 39 -6
Social Credit 83,498 7.21 0 ±0
Communist 706 0.06 0 ±0
Independents 2,366 0.20 0 ±0
Total 1,157,365 80

Votes summary[edit]

Popular Vote
Social Credit
Parliament seats

Initial MPs[edit]

The table below shows the results of the 1957 general election:


 Labour    National  

Electorate results for the New Zealand general election, 1957. [2]
Electorate Incumbent Winner Majority Runner up
General electorates
Ashburton Richard Gerard 1,769 G Glassey (Labour)
Auckland Central Bill Anderton (N/A)
Avon John Mathison (N/A)
Awarua George Herron Gordon Grieve (N/A)
Bay of Plenty Percy Allen (N/A)
Buller Clarence Skinner (N/A)
Christchurch Central Robert Macfarlane (N/A)
Clutha James Roy 1,490 T A Rodgers [nb 1] (Labour)
Dunedin Central Philip Connolly (N/A)
Dunedin North Ethel McMillan (N/A)
Eden Duncan Rae (N/A)
Egmont Ernest Corbett William Sheat (N/A)
Fendalton Sidney Holland Jack Watts (N/A)
Franklin Jack Massey Alfred E. Allen (N/A)
Gisborne Reginald Keeling (N/A)
Grey Lynn Fred Hackett (N/A)
Hamilton Hilda Ross (N/A)
Hastings Edwin Keating (N/A)
Hauraki Arthur Kinsella 1,161 B W Dynes (Labour)
Hawkes Bay Cyril Harker (N/A)
Heretaunga Phil Holloway 5,117 Allan McCready (National)
Hobson Sidney Smith 3,134 Colin Moyle (Labour)
Hurunui William Gillespie (N/A)
Hutt Walter Nash 4,430 Lance Adams-Schneider (National)
Invercargill Ralph Hanan (N/A)
Island Bay Arnold Nordmeyer Abraham Saul Goldsmith[3] (National)
Karori Jack Marshall (N/A)
Lyttelton Harry Lake Norman Kirk Harry Lake (National)
Manawatu Matthew Oram Blair Tennent (N/A)
Manukau Leon Götz (N/A)
Marlborough Tom Shand (Labour)
Marsden Donald McKay (N/A)
Miramar Bill Fox (N/A)
Mornington Walter Hudson (N/A)
Mt Albert Warren Freer (N/A)
Napier Jim Edwards (N/A)
Nelson Edgar Neale Stanley Whitehead (N/A)
New Plymouth Ernest Aderman (N/A)
North Shore Dean Eyre (N/A)
Onehunga Hugh Watt 5,686 D Watson (National)
Onslow Henry May (N/A)
Otago Central John George (N/A)
Otahuhu James Deas (N/A)
Otaki James Maher 1,122 C G J Shamy (Labour)
Pahiatua Keith Holyoake 4,020 W E Rose (Labour)
Palmerston North Philip Skoglund (N/A)
Patea Roy Jack 902 Benjamin R Winchcombe (Labour)
Petone Michael Moohan (N/A)
Piako (new electorate) William Goosman
Ponsonby Ritchie Macdonald (N/A)
Raglan Hallyburton Johnstone Douglas Carter (N/A)
Rangitikei Norman Shelton (N/A)
Remuera Ronald Algie (N/A)
Riccarton Mick Connelly (N/A)
Rodney Jack Scott (N/A)
Roskill John Rae Arthur Faulkner (N/A)
Rotorua Ray Boord (N/A)
Selwyn John McAlpine (N/A)
St Albans Jack Watts Neville Pickering Eric Philip Wills[4] (National)
St Kilda Jim Barnes William Fraser (N/A)
Stratford Thomas Murray (N/A)
Sydenham Mabel Howard (N/A)
Tamaki John Rae Bob Tizard 589 Eric Halstead (National)
Tauranga George Walsh (N/A)
Timaru Clyde Carr (N/A)
Waikato Geoffrey Sim (N/A)
Waipa William Goosman Hallyburton Johnstone (N/A)
Wairarapa Bertie Cooksley Bob Wilkie[5] (Labour)
Waitakere Rex Mason (N/A)
Waitaki (new electorate) Thomas Hayman
Waitemata Norman King 2,191 Rob Muldoon (National)
Waitomo David Seath (N/A)
Wallace Tom Macdonald Brian Talboys (N/A)
Wellington Central Frank Kitts (N/A)
Westland James Kent (N/A)
Whanganui Joseph Cotterill (N/A)
Māori electorates
Eastern Maori Tiaki Omana 4,197 W Maxwell (National)
Northern Maori Tapihana Paikea 4,310 T J Davis (National)
Southern Maori Eruera Tirikatene 4,383 T Stratton (National)
Western Maori Iriaka Matiu Ratana 5,553 Pei Te Hurinui Jones (National)

Table footnotes:

  1. ^ The previous Labour candidate, R S Waters, died the day before the general election, so the election in Clutha was postponed to 18 January 1958[1]

By-elections during 32nd Parliament[edit]

There was one by-election held during the term of the 32nd Parliament.

Electorate and by-election Date Incumbent Cause Winner
Hamilton 1959 2 May Hilda Ross Death Lance Adams-Schneider


  1. ^ a b Norton 1988, pp. 209.
  2. ^ Norton 1988, pp. ?.
  3. ^ Gustafson 1986, pp. 364f.
  4. ^ Gustafson 1986, p. 390.
  5. ^ Espiner, Guyon (3 March 2012). "Profile: Labour deputy Grant Robertson". New Zealand Listener. Retrieved 26 September 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: 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.