New Zealand general election, 1975

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New Zealand general election, 1975
New Zealand
1972 ←
29 November 1975 (1975-11-29) → 1978

All 87 seats for House of Representatives of New Zealand
44 seats were needed for a majority
  First party Second party
  Robert Muldoon 1977.jpg Bill Rowling Shannon School.jpg
Leader Robert Muldoon Bill Rowling
Party National Labour
Leader since 1974 1974
Leader's seat Tamaki Tasman
Last election 32 seats, 41.5% 55 seats, 48.4%
Seats won 55 32
Seat change Increase 23 Decrease 23
Percentage 47.6% 39.6%
Swing Increase 6.1% Decrease 8.8%

Prime Minister before election

Bill Rowling

Elected Prime Minister

Robert Muldoon

The 1975 New Zealand general election was held on 29 November to elect MPs to the 38th session of the Parliament of New Zealand. It was the first general election in New Zealand where 18-20 year olds[1] and all permanent residents of New Zealand were eligible to vote, although only citizens were able to be elected.


The incumbent Labour Party, following the sudden death of Labour leader Norman Kirk, was led by Bill Rowling, a leader who was characterised as being weak and ineffectual by some political commentators. Labour's central campaign was the so-called "Citizens for Rowling" petition which attacked National leader Robert Muldoon's forthright leadership style. This campaign was largely seen as having backfired on Labour.

The National Party responded with the formation of "Rob's Mob". As former Minister of Finance in the previous National government, Muldoon focused on the economic impact of Labour's policies. National's campaign advertising suggested that Labour's recently introduced compulsory personal superannuation scheme would result in the Government owning the New Zealand economy using the workers's money (akin to a communist state). Muldoon argued that his New Zealand superannuation scheme could be funded from future taxes rather than an additional tax on current wages.

The campaign achieved notoriety due to an infamous television commercial featuring "Dancing Cossacks" which was produced by Hanna Barbera on behalf of National's ad agency Colenso.[2]

A consummate orator and a skilled television performer, Muldoon's powerful presence on screen increased his popularity with voters.[3]


The final results of election: National won 55 seats, and Labour 32 seats. Thus Robert Muldoon replaced Bill Rowling as Prime Minister, ending the term of the Third Labour government, and beginning the term of the Third National government. The party seat numbers were an exact opposite of the 1972 election. No minor parties won seats. There were 1,953,050 electors on the roll, with 1,603,733 (82.11%) voting.

Notable electorate results included the election of two Māori MPs to general seats; the first time that any Māori had been elected to a non-Māori seat since James Carroll in 1893. The MPs in question were Ben Couch in Wairarapa and Rex Austin in Awarua.

Party Candidates Total votes Percentage Seats won Change
National 87 763,136 47.59 55 +23
Labour 87 634,453 39.56 32 -23
Social Credit 87 119,147 7.43 0 ±0
Values 87 83,241 5.19 0 ±0
Independent 67 3,756 0.23 0 ±0
Total 415 1,603,733 87

The table below shows the results of the 1975 general election:


 National    Labour    Social Credit  

Electorate results for the New Zealand general election, 1975[4]
Electorate Incumbent Winner Majority Runner up
General electorates
Auckland Central Norman Douglas Richard Prebble 289 Murray McCully (National)
Avon Mary Batchelor (N/A)
Awarua Aubrey Begg Rex Austin 2150 Aubrey Begg (Labour)
Bay of Plenty Percy Allen Duncan MacIntyre 3960 R F McKee (Labour)
Birkenhead Norman King Jim McLay (N/A)
Christchurch Central Bruce Barclay (N/A)
Clutha Peter Gordon (N/A)
Coromandel Leo Schultz (N/A)
Dunedin Central Brian MacDonell (N/A)
Dunedin North Ethel McMillan Richard Walls (N/A)
East Coast Bays Frank Gill (N/A)
Eden Mike Moore Aussie Malcolm 1331 Mike Moore (Labour)
Egmont Venn Young (N/A)
Franklin Bill Birch (N/A)
Gisborne Trevor Davey Bob Bell (N/A)
Grey Lynn Eddie Isbey 2,839 J Meder (National)
Hamilton East Rufus Rogers Ian Shearer (N/A)
Hamilton West Dorothy Jelicich Mike Minogue (N/A)
Hastings Richard Mayson Robert Fenton (N/A)
Hawkes Bay Richard Harrison (N/A)
Henderson Martyn Finlay (N/A)
Heretaunga Ron Bailey (N/A)
Hobson Logan Sloane Neill Austin 4101 B H E Manning [nb 1] (Social Credit)
Hutt Trevor Young (N/A)
Invercargill J. B. Munro Norman Jones 2533 J. B. Munro (Labour)
Island Bay Gerald O'Brien 1274 W C Nathan (National)
Kapiti Frank O'Flynn Barry Brill (N/A)
Karori Jack Marshall Hugh Templeton (N/A)
King Country Jim Bolger (N/A)
Lyttelton Tom McGuigan Colleen Dewe (N/A)
Manawatu Allan McCready (N/A)
Mangere Colin Moyle (N/A)
Manukau Roger Douglas (N/A)
Manurewa Phil Amos Merv Wellington Phil Amos (Labour)
Marlborough Ian Brooks Edward Latter (N/A)
Miramar Bill Young 1,749 J F W Wybrow (Labour)
Mt Albert Warren Freer (N/A)
Napier Gordon Christie (N/A)
Nelson Stanley Whitehead (N/A)
New Lynn Jonathan Hunt (N/A)
New Plymouth Ron Barclay Tony Friedlander (N/A)
North Shore George Gair (N/A)
Oamaru Bill Laney Jonathan Elworthy (N/A)
Onehunga Hugh Watt Frank Rogers (N/A)
Otago Central Ian Quigley Warren Cooper (N/A)
Otahuhu Bob Tizard (N/A)
Pahiatua Keith Holyoake (N/A)
Pakuranga Gavin Downie 7,016 Geoff Braybrooke (Labour)
Papanui Bert Walker (N/A)
Palmerston North Joe Walding John Lithgow Joe Walding (Labour)
Petone Fraser Colman (N/A)
Piako Jack Luxton 6,174 Helen Clark (Labour)
Porirua Gerard Wall (N/A)
Raglan Douglas Carter Marilyn Waring (N/A)
Rakaia Colin McLachlan (N/A)
Rangiora Kerry Burke Derek Quigley (N/A)
Rangitikei Roy Jack (N/A)
Remuera Allan Highet (N/A)
Riccarton Eric Holland (N/A)
Rodney Peter Wilkinson (N/A)
Roskill Arthur Faulkner (N/A)
Rotorua Harry Lapwood Peter Tapsell (Labour)
Ruahine Les Gandar (N/A)
St Albans Roger Drayton 1570 Ms P R Rotherberg (National)
St Kilda William Fraser (N/A)
South Canterbury Rob Talbot (N/A)
Stratford David Thomson (N/A)
Sydenham John Kirk (N/A)
Tamaki Rob Muldoon (N/A)
Tasman Bill Rowling (N/A)
Taupo Jack Ridley Ray La Varis 1,614 Jack Ridley (Labour)
Tauranga Keith Allen (N/A)
Timaru Basil Arthur (N/A)
Waikato Lance Adams-Schneider (N/A)
Wairarapa Jack Williams Ben Couch 1468 Jack Williams (Labour)
Waitakere Martyn Finlay (N/A)
Waitemata Michael Bassett Dail Jones 1385 Michael Bassett (Labour)
Wallace Brian Talboys (N/A)
Wanganui Russell Marshall (N/A)
Wellington Central (new electorate) Ken Comber
West Coast Paddy Blanchfield 2401 Barry Dallas (National)
Western Hutt Henry May Brian Lambert (N/A)
Whangarei Murray Smith John Elliott 2,710 Murray Smith (Labour)
Wigram Mick Connelly 1,967 P N Russell (National)
Māori electorates
Eastern Maori Paraone Reweti 6,261 M Searancke (National)
Northern Maori Matiu Rata 4,151 Winston Peters (National)
Southern Maori Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan 6,452 W K Amaru (National)
Western Maori Koro Wētere 8,925 E S Rangi (National)

Table footnotes:

  1. ^ David Lange came third for Labour in Hobson

External links[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. 
  1. ^ Levine, Stephen; Lodge, Juliet (1976). The New Zealand General Election of 1975. Wellington: Price Milburn for New Zealand University Press. ISBN 0-7055-0624-X. 
  2. ^ "Dancing Cossacks political TV ad". Ministry for Culture and Heritage. 23 August 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2014. 
  3. ^ Atkinson, Neill (2003). Adventures in Democracy: A History of the Vote in New Zealand. Dunedin: University of Otago Press. pp. 188f. 
  4. ^ Norton 1988, pp. ?.