New Zealand general election, 1969

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New Zealand general election, 1969
New Zealand
1966 ←
29 November 1969 (1969-11-29)
→ 1972

All 84 seats in the New Zealand Parliament
43 seats were needed for a majority
Turnout 1,340,168 (88.94%)
  First party Second party
  Keith Holyoake (1960).jpg Norman Kirk.jpg
Leader Keith Holyoake Norman Kirk
Party National Labour
Leader since 1957 1965
Leader's seat Pahiatua Lyttelton
Last election 44 seats, 43.6% 35 seats, 41.4%
Seats won 45 39
Seat change Increase 1 Increase 4
Popular vote 605,960 592,055
Percentage 45.2% 44.2%
Swing Increase 1.6% Increase 2.8%

Prime Minister before election

Keith Holyoake

Elected Prime Minister

Keith Holyoake

The 1969 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of Parliament's 36th term. It saw the Second National Government headed by Prime Minister Keith Holyoake of the National Party win a fourth consecutive term.

1967 electoral redistribution[edit]

Through an amendment to the Electoral Act, 1956, the number of South Island electorates was fixed at 25, an increase of one since the 1962 electoral redistribution.[1] The amendment also specified that the number of North Island electorates be permitted to rise "in proportion to its more rapid population growth", and this resulted in four new European electorates being created for the 1969 election. The overall effect was highly disruptive, with all but three electorates (Franklin, Wairarapa, and St Kilda) having their boundaries altered.[2] The three new electorates in the North Island were Birkenhead, Henderson, and Hamilton West. The new South Island electorate was Papanui.[3]

The increase to 84 electorates was the first since the 1902 electoral distribution.[4] Due to the fixed number of South Island electorates, the number of North Island electorates has increased in every subsequent election until the introduction of mixed-member proportional representation (MMP) for the 1996 election, which fixed the number of seats at 120.[5]


The election was held on 29 November. Turnout was 88.94%. The total number of MPs had increased to 84,[6] with at least 3 of the 4 new seats likely Labour seats. 55 and 25 electorates were in the North Island and South Island, respectively, plus the 4 Māori electorates.[7]


National pulled off a cliff-hanger victory. National won 45 seats, and Labour won 39 seats, though Labour's share of the vote was only 1% behind National. The Social Credit Party lost its only seat in Parliament: Hobson, formerly held by Vernon Cracknell.

Despite the hopes of a reinvigorated Labour party under Norman Kirk, Labour was overconfident, started too late, and did not win in Auckland. Relations with the Federation of Labour and the unions were not good, and an industrial dispute on the ship Wainui cost Labour three Auckland seats according to Kirk.

Party Leader Total votes Percentage Seats won
National Party Keith Holyoake 605,960 45.2% 45
Labour Party Norman Kirk 592,055 44.2% 39
Social Credit Party Vernon Cracknell 121,576 9.1% 0
Country Party 6,715 0.5% 0
(including Dr Barry Dallas and Kevin Ryan QC)
8,457 0.6% 0
Others 5,405 0.4% 0
Total Valid Votes 1,340,168 84

The table below shows the results of the 1969 general election:


 National    Labour    Social Credit    Independent  

Electorate results for the New Zealand general election, 1969[8]
Electorate Incumbent Winner Majority Runner up
General electorates
Ashburton Colin McLachlan 2,590 A J Srhoy (Labour)
Auckland Central Norman Douglas 1,124 W C Edwards (National)
Avon John Mathison 5,600 A E Ansell (National)
Awarua Gordon Grieve Hugh Templeton 906 Aubrey Begg (Labour)
Bay of Plenty Percy Allen 3,440 B R Kelly (Labour)
Birkenhead (new electorate) Norman King 1,701 Don McKinnon
Buller Bill Rowling 2,822 E W King (National)
Christchurch Central Robert Macfarlane Bruce Barclay 3,406 C L Knight (National)
Clutha Peter Gordon 3,618 L J McKay (Labour)
Dunedin Central Brian MacDonell 3,949 Mrs M M Reichwein (National)
Dunedin North Ethel McMillan 2,929 Mrs J W Williams (National)
Eden John Rae 67 Keith Sinclair[nb 1] (Labour)
Egmont Venn Young 4,280 T McGreevy (Labour)
Franklin Alfred E. Allen 5,495 T N Tuhimata (Labour)
Gisborne Esme Tombleson 781 T Davey (Labour)
Grey Lynn Ritchie Macdonald Eddie Isbey 2,915 J Meder (National)
Hamilton West (new electorate) Leslie Munro 1,878 R D Reese
Hastings Duncan MacIntyre 706 Richard Mayson (Labour)
Hauraki Arthur Kinsella Leo Schultz 2,121 Dorothy Jelicich (Labour)
Hawkes Bay Richard Harrison 3,416 David Butcher (Labour)
Henderson (new electorate) Martyn Finlay 5,340 A H Clark
Heretaunga Ron Bailey 1,375 R M Miller (National)
Hobson Vernon Cracknell Logan Sloane 1,252 Vernon Cracknell (Social Credit)
Hutt Trevor Young 1,775 D Lee (National)
Invercargill Ralph Hanan John Chewings 1,031 T D Young (Labour)
Island Bay Arnold Nordmeyer Gerald O'Brien 1,348 F F Curry (National)
Karori Jack Marshall 6,226 R C Tombs (Labour)
Lyttelton Norman Kirk Tom McGuigan 292 G P A de Latour (National)
Manawatu Les Gandar 1,323 E J Hemmingsen (Labour)
Mangere (new electorate) Colin Moyle 4,588 N C Slater
Manukau Colin Moyle Roger Douglas 875 R A Walden (National)
Manurewa Phil Amos 1,371 P N Baker (National)
Marlborough Tom Shand 2,460 Ian Brooks (Labour)
Marsden Donald McKay 1,101 Murray Smith (Labour)
Miramar Bill Young 1,789 C T Troughton (Labour)
Mt Albert Warren Freer 2,837 Gavin Downie (National)
Napier Gordon Christie 1,970 T J Dunleavy (National)
Nelson Stanley Whitehead 1,248 R A McLennan (National)
New Lynn Jonathan Hunt 3,600 V J Watson (National)
New Plymouth Ron Barclay 1,000 B E Clark (National)
North Shore George Gair 3,964 D F Dugdale (Labour)
Oamaru (new electorate) Allan Dick 497 N Agnew
Onehunga Hugh Watt 4,539 Mrs D T L Double (National)
Otago Central John George John Rose 1,086 B O Griffiths (Labour)
Otaki Allan McCready 2,037 J M Scott (Labour)
Pahiatua Keith Holyoake 4,920 Trevor de Cleene (Labour)
Pakuranga Bob Tizard 1,253 N W Holmes (National)
Palmerston North Joe Walding 161 G N Cruden (National)
Papanui (new electorate) Bert Walker 2,096 M P Hobbs
Petone Fraser Colman 3,450 F J Handy (National)
Piako Jack Luxton 4,426 G W Bryant (Social Credit)
Porirua Henry May Gerard Wall 2,744 P W Mitchell (National)
Raglan Douglas Carter 593 D I Sinclair (Labour)
Rangiora Herbert Pickering 1,143 Paul Piesse (Labour)
Rangitikei Norman Shelton 4,214 D J Duggan (Labour)
Remuera Allan Highet 7,097 Hamish Keith (Labour)
Riccarton Mick Connelly Eric Holland 2,938 A C McEwen (Labour)
Rodney Jack Scott Peter Wilkinson 2,832 N C McConachy (Social Credit)
Roskill Arthur Faulkner 3,296 A W G Cook (National)
Rotorua Harry Lapwood 1,198 Charles Bennett (Labour)
St Albans Bert Walker Roger Drayton 909 I G B Wilson (National)
St Kilda William Fraser 3,795 L G Anderson (National)
South Canterbury (new electorate) Rob Talbot 1,215 M A Cameron
Stratford David Thomson 4,158 L H Stockbridge (Labour)
Sydenham Mabel Howard Norman Kirk 6,026 P J Morrissey (National)
Tamaki Robert Muldoon 6,088 A D Bolton (Labour)
Taupo Rona Stevenson 107 A J Ingram (Labour)
Tauranga George Walsh 2,704 R F Dillon (Labour)
Timaru Basil Arthur 3,101 D A J Walker (National)
Waikato (new electorate) Lance Adams-Schneider 3,408 A E George
Waimarino Roy Jack 2,213 S A Cameron (Labour)
Wairarapa Haddon Donald Jack Williams 467 Haddon Donald (National)
Waitemata Norman King Frank Gill 1,052 Michael Bassett (Labour)
Waitomo David Seath 5,674 N R D Shewan (Labour)
Wallace Brian Talboys 4,532 J Robson (Labour)
Wanganui George Spooner William Tolhurst 959 G A Spooner (Labour)
Wellington Central Dan Riddiford 2,200 Mrs O E Smuts-Kennedy (Labour)
Western Hutt (new electorate) Henry May 1,421 E E Ogier
Westland Paddy Blanchfield 1,879 Barry Dallas[9] (Independent)
Wigram (new electorate) Mick Connelly 3,200 J R Dawson
Māori electorates
Eastern Maori Paraone Reweti 3,487 H K Ngata (National)
Northern Maori Matiu Rata 4,758 Graham Latimer (National)
Southern Maori Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan 6,630 N W Pomare (National)
Western Maori Iriaka Matiu Ratana Koro Wētere 7,530 P J Hura (National)

Table footnotes:

  1. ^ Sinclair was first on election night for Eden, but lost when special votes were included


  1. ^ McRobie 1989, pp. 107, 111.
  2. ^ McRobie 1989, pp. 111f.
  3. ^ McRobie 1989, pp. 107–112.
  4. ^ Wilson 1985, pp. 287f.
  5. ^ Wilson 1985, pp. 288.
  6. ^ "General elections 1853-2005 - dates & turnout". Elections New Zealand. 
  7. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 173.
  8. ^ Norton 1988.
  9. ^ Templeton & Eunson 1972, p. 21.


  • McRobie, Alan (1989). Electoral Atlas of New Zealand. Wellington: GP Books. ISBN 0-477-01384-8. 
  • 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. 
  • Templeton, Ian; Eunson, Keith (1969). Election ’69. 
  • Templeton, Ian; Eunson, Keith (1972). In the Balance: Election '72. Dunedin: John McIndoe. 
  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First published in 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.