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
Auckland Central Bill Anderton
Avon John Mathison
Awarua George Herron Gordon Grieve 1,636 J. P. Wyatt[3]
Bay of Plenty Percy Allen
Buller Clarence Skinner
Christchurch Central Robert Macfarlane
Clutha James Roy 1,490 T. A. Rodgers [nb 1]
Dunedin Central Philip Connolly
Dunedin North Ethel McMillan
Eden Duncan Rae 498 C. I. B. Watkins[4]
Egmont Ernest Corbett William Sheat
Fendalton Sidney Holland Jack Watts L. G. G. White[5]
Franklin Jack Massey Alfred E. Allen
Gisborne Reginald Keeling
Grey Lynn Fred Hackett
Hamilton Hilda Ross
Hastings Edwin Keating
Hauraki Arthur Kinsella 1,161 B. W. Dynes
Hawkes Bay Cyril Harker
Heretaunga Phil Holloway 5,117 Allan McCready
Hobson Sidney Smith 3,134 Colin Moyle
Hurunui William Gillespie
Hutt Walter Nash 4,430 Lance Adams-Schneider
Invercargill Ralph Hanan
Island Bay Arnold Nordmeyer Abraham Saul Goldsmith [6]
Karori Jack Marshall
Lyttelton Harry Lake Norman Kirk Harry Lake
Manawatu Matthew Oram Blair Tennent
Manukau Leon Götz
Marlborough Tom Shand
Marsden Donald McKay
Miramar Bill Fox
Mornington Walter Hudson
Mt Albert Warren Freer
Napier Jim Edwards
Nelson Edgar Neale Stanley Whitehead
New Plymouth Ernest Aderman
North Shore Dean Eyre
Onehunga Hugh Watt 5,686 D. Watson
Onslow Henry May Kevin O'Brien [7]
Otago Central John George
Otahuhu James Deas
Otaki James Maher 1,122 C. G. J. Shamy
Pahiatua Keith Holyoake 4,020 W. E. Rose
Palmerston North Philip Skoglund
Patea Roy Jack 902 Benjamin R. Winchcombe
Petone Michael Moohan
Piako (new electorate) William Goosman
Ponsonby Ritchie Macdonald
Raglan Hallyburton Johnstone Douglas Carter
Rangitikei Norman Shelton
Remuera Ronald Algie
Riccarton Mick Connelly Deena V. Sergel [8]
Rodney Jack Scott
Roskill John Rae Arthur Faulkner
Rotorua Ray Boord
Selwyn John McAlpine
St Albans Jack Watts Neville Pickering Eric Philip Wills [9]
St Kilda Jim Barnes William Fraser
Stratford Thomas Murray
Sydenham Mabel Howard
Tamaki John Rae Bob Tizard 589 Eric Halstead

Tauranga George Walsh
Timaru Clyde Carr
Waikato Geoffrey Sim
Waipa William Goosman Hallyburton Johnstone
Wairarapa Bertie Cooksley Bob Wilkie[10]
Waitakere Rex Mason
Waitaki (new electorate) Thomas Hayman
Waitemata Norman King 2,191 Robert Muldoon
Waitomo David Seath
Wallace Tom Macdonald Brian Talboys
Wellington Central Frank Kitts
Westland James Kent
Whanganui Joseph Cotterill
Māori electorates
Eastern Maori Tiaki Omana 4,197 W. Maxwell
Northern Maori Tapihana Paikea 4,310 T. J. Davis
Southern Maori Eruera Tirikatene 4,383 T. Stratton
Western Maori Iriaka Matiu Ratana 5,553 Pei Te Hurinui Jones

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. ^ Norton 1988, p. 197.
  4. ^ Norton 1988, p. 220.
  5. ^ Norton 1988, p. 224.
  6. ^ Gustafson 1986, pp. 364f.
  7. ^ Gustafson 1986, p. 381.
  8. ^ Gustafson 1986, p. 386.
  9. ^ Gustafson 1986, p. 390.
  10. ^ 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.