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[NB 1] Percentage[NB 1] 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
  1. ^ a b Source material does not include Waitakere results.

Votes summary[edit]

Popular Vote
Social Credit
Parliament seats

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
Avon Mary Batchelor 5,503
Awarua Aubrey Begg Rex Austin 2,150 Aubrey Begg
Bay of Plenty Percy Allen Duncan MacIntyre 3,960 R F McKee
Birkenhead Norman King Jim McLay 2,816
Christchurch Central Bruce Barclay 2,973
Clutha Peter Gordon 4,735
Coromandel Leo Schultz 4,724
Dunedin Central Brian MacDonell 1,428
Dunedin North Ethel McMillan Richard Walls 958
East Coast Bays Frank Gill 5,594
Eden Mike Moore Aussie Malcolm 1,331 Mike Moore
Egmont Venn Young 4,120
Franklin Bill Birch 7,605
Gisborne Trevor Davey Bob Bell 1,321
Grey Lynn Eddie Isbey 2,839 J Meder
Hamilton East Rufus Rogers Ian Shearer 2,246
Hamilton West Dorothy Jelicich Mike Minogue 2,069
Hastings Richard Mayson Robert Fenton 491
Hawkes Bay Richard Harrison 3,805
Henderson Martyn Finlay 401
Heretaunga Ron Bailey 336 Julie Cameron[5]
Hobson Logan Sloane Neill Austin 4,101 B H E Manning [nb 1]
Hutt Trevor Young 1,019
Invercargill J. B. Munro Norman Jones 2,533 J. B. Munro
Island Bay Gerald O'Brien 1,274 W C Nathan
Kapiti Frank O'Flynn Barry Brill 2,222
Karori Jack Marshall Hugh Templeton 4,830
King Country Jim Bolger 4,316
Lyttelton Tom McGuigan Colleen Dewe 999
Manawatu Allan McCready 2,918
Mangere Colin Moyle 1,604
Manukau Roger Douglas 678
Manurewa Phil Amos Merv Wellington 1,358 Phil Amos
Marlborough Ian Brooks Edward Latter 3,010
Miramar Bill Young 1,749 J F W Wybrow
Mt Albert Warren Freer 247
Napier Gordon Christie 931
Nelson Stanley Whitehead 1,093
New Lynn Jonathan Hunt 890
New Plymouth Ron Barclay Tony Friedlander 1,935
North Shore George Gair 5,247
Oamaru Bill Laney Jonathan Elworthy 2,196
Onehunga Hugh Watt Frank Rogers 1,044
Otago Central Ian Quigley Warren Cooper 2,371
Otahuhu Bob Tizard 3,785
Pahiatua Keith Holyoake 6,769
Pakuranga Gavin Downie 7,016 Geoff Braybrooke
Palmerston North Joe Walding John Lithgow 142 Joe Walding
Papanui Bert Walker 2,985
Petone Fraser Colman 2,834
Piako Jack Luxton 6,174 Helen Clark
Porirua Gerard Wall 2,265
Raglan Douglas Carter Marilyn Waring 3,756
Rakaia Colin McLachlan 5,237
Rangiora Kerry Burke Derek Quigley 1,386
Rangitikei Roy Jack 1,756
Remuera Allan Highet 8,656
Riccarton Eric Holland 4,766
Rodney Peter Wilkinson 7,817
Roskill Arthur Faulkner 530 John Maurice Priestley[6]
Rotorua Harry Lapwood 3,605 Peter Tapsell
Ruahine Les Gandar 2,763
St Albans Roger Drayton 1,570 Ms P R Rotherberg
St Kilda William Fraser 1,890
South Canterbury Rob Talbot 4,301
Stratford David Thomson 5,667
Sydenham John Kirk 3,817
Tamaki Rob Muldoon 6,735
Tasman Bill Rowling 529
Taupo Jack Ridley Ray La Varis 1,614 Jack Ridley
Tauranga Keith Allen 4,843
Timaru Basil Arthur 1,011
Waikato Lance Adams-Schneider 7,073
Wairarapa Jack Williams Ben Couch 1,468 Jack Williams
Waitakere Martyn Finlay
Waitemata Michael Bassett Dail Jones 1,385 Michael Bassett
Wallace Brian Talboys 6,978
Wanganui Russell Marshall 1,244
Wellington Central (new electorate) Ken Comber 1,076
West Coast Paddy Blanchfield 2,401 Barry Dallas
Western Hutt Henry May Brian Lambert 109
Whangarei Murray Smith John Elliott 2,710 Murray Smith
Wigram Mick Connelly 1,967 P N Russell
Māori electorates
Eastern Maori Paraone Reweti 6,261 M Searancke
Northern Maori Matiu Rata 4,151 Winston Peters
Southern Maori Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan 6,452 W K Amaru
Western Maori Koro Wētere 8,925 E S Rangi

Table footnotes:

  1. ^ David Lange came third for Labour in Hobson


  1. ^ Levine & Lodge 1976, p. ?.
  2. ^ "Dancing Cossacks political TV ad". Ministry for Culture and Heritage. 23 August 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2014. 
  3. ^ Atkinson 2003, pp. 188f.
  4. ^ Norton 1988, pp. ?.
  5. ^ Gustafson 1986, p. 358.
  6. ^ Gustafson 1986, p. 382.


  • Atkinson, Neill (2003). Adventures in Democracy: A History of the Vote in New Zealand. Dunedin: University of Otago Press. 
  • Gustafson, Barry (1986). The First 50 Years : A History of the New Zealand National Party. Auckland: Reed Methuen. ISBN 0-474-00177-6. 
  • 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. 
  • 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. 

External links[edit]