New Zealand general election, 1966

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New Zealand general election, 1966
New Zealand
1963 ←
26 November 1966 (1966-11-26) → 1969

All 80 seats in the Parliament of New Zealand
41 seats were needed for a majority
Turnout 1,205,095 (86.0%)
  First party Second party Third party
  Keith Holyoake (1960).jpg Norman Kirk.jpg No image.png
Leader Keith Holyoake Norman Kirk Vernon Cracknell
Party National Labour Social Credit
Leader since 1957 1965 1963
Leader's seat Pahiatua Lyttelton Hobson
Last election 45 seats, 47.1% 35 seats, 43.7% 0 seats, 7.9%
Seats won 44 35 1
Seat change Decrease 1 Steady 0 Increase 1
Popular vote 525,925 499,392 174,513
Percentage 43.6% 41.4% 14.5%
Swing Decrease 3.5% Decrease 2.3% Increase 6.6%

Prime Minister before election

Keith Holyoake

Elected Prime Minister

Keith Holyoake

The 1966 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of the Parliament of New Zealand's 35th term. It saw the governing National Party win a third consecutive term in office. It was also the first time since the 1943 elections that a minor party won a seat in Parliament.


The National Party had established its second administration following the 1960 elections, and had been re-elected in the 1963 elections. Keith Holyoake remained Prime Minister. The Labour Party experienced a leadership change shortly before the 1966 elections: Arnold Nordmeyer, who was closely associated with an unpopular previous Labour government, was replaced by the younger Norman Kirk. Labour remained disunited, however, with ongoing leadership problems undermining Kirk's position. Disagreement between unionists and non-unionists regarding economic policy also weakened the party.

One significant issue that divided National and Labour in the 1966 elections was the question of New Zealand's participation in the Vietnam War. Under National, New Zealand contributed a small number of troops, which Holyoake strongly defended during the election campaign. Labour, by contrast, made the recall of troops one of its key policies; former Labour leader Walter Nash was a particularly strong critic of the war.

The election[edit]

The date for the main 1966 elections was 26 November. 1,409,600 people were registered to vote. Turnout was 86.0%, a number relatively low for the time. The number of seats being contested was 80, a number which had been fixed since 1902. It was, however, the last election in which the number of seats was set at this level.

Election results[edit]

Party standings[edit]

The 1966 election saw the governing National Party retain office by an eight-seat margin. It had previously held office by a ten-seat margin — the drop was a result of losing the Hobson seat to Social Credit's Vernon Cracknell. National won a total of forty-four seats, while the Labour Party remained static on thirty-five. In the popular vote, the parties were closer — National won 43.6% to Labour's 41.4%. The Social Credit Party won 14.5% of the vote and one seat.

Party Leader Votes Percentage Seats won change
National Keith Holyoake 525,945 43.64% 44 -1
Labour Norman Kirk 499,392 41.44% 35 ±0
Social Credit 174,513 14.48% 1 +1
Communist 3,167 0.26% 0
(including Tommy Armstrong)
5,243 0.44 0
National re-elected 1,205,095 100% 80

Initial MPs[edit]

The table below shows the results of the 1966 general election:


 National    Labour    Social Credit  

Electorate results for the New Zealand general election, 1966[1]
Electorate Incumbent Winner Majority Runner up
General electorates
Ashburton Richard Gerard Rob Talbot 983 A J Srhoy (Labour)
Auckland Central Norman Douglas (N/A)
Avon John Mathison (N/A)
Awarua Gordon Grieve (N/A)
Bay of Plenty Percy Allen (N/A)
Buller Bill Rowling (N/A)
Christchurch Central Robert Macfarlane (N/A)
Clutha Peter Gordon (N/A)
Dunedin Central Brian MacDonell (N/A)
Dunedin North Ethel McMillan (N/A)
Eden John Rae (N/A)
Egmont William Sheat Venn Young (N/A)
Fendalton Harry Lake (N/A)
Franklin Alfred E. Allen (N/A)
Gisborne Esme Tombleson (N/A)
Grey Lynn Ritchie Macdonald (N/A)
Hamilton Lance Adams-Schneider (N/A)
Hastings Duncan MacIntyre (N/A)
Hauraki Arthur Kinsella 2,336 H J Uttinger (Labour)
Hawkes Bay Richard Harrison (N/A)
Heretaunga Ron Bailey (N/A)
Hobson Logan Sloane Vernon Cracknell 490 Logan Sloane (National)
Hutt Walter Nash 1,949 John Kennedy-Good (National)
Invercargill Ralph Hanan (N/A)
Island Bay Arnold Nordmeyer Abraham Saul Goldsmith[2] (National)
Karori Jack Marshall (N/A)
Lyttelton Norman Kirk (N/A)
Manawatu Blair Tennent Les Gandar (N/A)
Manukau Colin Moyle (N/A)
Manurewa Phil Amos (N/A)
Marlborough Tom Shand (Labour)
Marsden Donald McKay (N/A)
Miramar Bill Fox Bill Young (N/A)
Mt Albert Warren Freer (N/A)
Napier James Edwards Gordon Christie (N/A)
Nelson Stanley Whitehead (N/A)
New Lynn Rex Mason Jonathan Hunt (N/A)
New Plymouth Ernest Aderman Ron Barclay (N/A)
North Shore Dean Eyre George Gair (N/A)
Onehunga Hugh Watt (N/A)
Otago Central John George (N/A)
Otaki Allan McCready 3,575 G W Herbert (Labour)
Pahiatua Keith Holyoake (N/A)
Pakuranga Bob Tizard 2,259 N W Holmes (National)
Palmerston North Bill Brown (N/A)
Petone Michael Moohan (N/A)
Piako Geoffrey Sim Jack Luxton (N/A)
Porirua Henry May (N/A)
Raglan Douglas Carter (N/A)
Rangiora Herbert Pickering (N/A)
Rangitikei Norman Shelton (N/A)
Remuera Ronald Algie Allan Highet (N/A)
Riccarton Mick Connelly (N/A)
Rodney Jack Scott (N/A)
Roskill Arthur Faulkner (N/A)
Rotorua Harry Lapwood (N/A)
St Albans Bert Walker (N/A)
St Kilda William Fraser (N/A)
Selwyn John McAlpine Colin McLachlan (N/A)
Stratford David Thomson (N/A)
Sydenham Mabel Howard 3,947 H L Garrett (National)
Tamaki Robert Muldoon (N/A)
Taupo Rona Stevenson 258 Barry Gustafson (Labour)
Tauranga George Walsh (N/A)
Timaru Basil Arthur (N/A)
Waimarino Roy Jack (N/A)
Waipa Leslie Munro (N/A)
Wairarapa Haddon Donald 533 Jack Williams (Labour)
Waitakere Martyn Finlay (N/A)
Waitaki Allan Dick (N/A)
Waitemata Norman King 3,832 T J Power (National)
Waitomo David Seath (N/A)
Wallace Brian Talboys 3,965 Aubrey Begg (Labour)
Wanganui George Spooner (N/A)
Wellington Central Dan Riddiford (N/A)
Westland Paddy Blanchfield (N/A)
Māori electorates
Eastern Maori Tiaki Omana 3,121 H T Reedy (National)
Northern Maori Matiu Rata 4,297 F R Wilcox (National)
Southern Maori Eruera Tirikatene 3,832 M B P Pere (National)
Western Maori Iriaka Matiu Ratana 5,580 T M Te Heuheu (National)

Table footnotes:


  1. ^ Norton 1988.
  2. ^ Gustafson 1986, pp. 364f.


  • 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.