11th New Zealand Parliament

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The 11th New Zealand Parliament was a term of the Parliament of New Zealand.

Elections for this term were held in 4 Māori electorates and 62 European electorates on 27 November and 5 December 1890, respectively. A total of 74 MPs were elected - a reduction on the 95 MPs of the previous Parliament.


The 11th Parliament opened on 23 January 1891, following the 1890 general election. It sat for four sessions (with two sessions in 1891), and was prorogued on 8 November 1893.[1][2]

Session Opened Adjouned
first 23 January 1891 30 January 1891
second 11 June 1891 25 September 1891
third 23 June 1892 11 October 1892
fourth 22 June 1893 6 October 1893

Party standings[edit]

Start of Parliament[edit]

Party Leader(s) Seats at start
Liberal Party John Ballance 40
Conservatives John Bryce 25
Independents 9

End of Parliament[edit]

Party Leader(s) Seats at end
Liberal Party Richard Seddon 41
Conservatives William Rolleston 24
Independents 9

Historical context[edit]

In December 1887, the House of Representatives voted to reduce its membership from general electorates from 91 to 70. The 1890 electoral redistribution used the same 1886 census data used for the 1887 electoral redistribution. In addition, three-member electorates were introduced in the four main centres.[3] This resulted in a major restructuring of electorates, with 12 new electorates created. Of those, four electorates were created for the first time: Te Aroha, Halswell, Dunedin Suburbs, and Palmerston. The remaining eight electorates had previously existed and were re-created through the 1890 electoral redistribution: City of Auckland, City of Christchurch, City of Dunedin, City of Wellington, Ellesmere, Franklin, Geraldine, and Westland.

The 11th Parliament was most significant,[4] as following the 1890 general election, it marked the beginning of party politics in New Zealand with the formation of the Liberal Government, which was to enact major welfare, labour and electoral reforms, including giving the vote to women.


The fourth Atkinson Ministry, known as the Scarecrow Ministry, had been the government. The election had returned several "Independent" or "Labour" members as well as the Liberals. Some of Atkinson’s conservative colleagues proposed schemes that would keep him in office, but Atkinson, who had been Premier on and off for 14 years, announced that the house would be called on 23 January 1891 to decide. On 21 January Atkinson told his colleagues that he was retiring on doctor’s orders, resigned his seat and was sworn into the Legislative Council, and appointed Speaker. When William Rolleston lost the ministerial nomination for Speaker, Edwin Mitchelson announced the resignation of the government. The Governor asked John Ballance to form a government, which he did on 24 January. It was found to have a majority in the house. After a week of debate, the house went into recess until June.[5]

Atkinson was appointed to the Council with six colleagues, on 20 or 22 January 1891. He was widely regarded as having stacked the council before leaving office. There was a 5000-signature petition against the appointments, but they were approved by the Governor, The Earl of Onslow. [6] The seven appointments on 20 or 22 January to the Council were Atkinson himself plus Charles Bowen, James Fulton, Charles John Johnston, John Davies Ormond, William Downie Stewart, Sr. and John Blair Whyte.

Ballance had considerable difficulty in achieving reform of the Legislative Council, with new appointments to be for seven years rather than life, and he had major disagreements with the Governor. Ballance's victory is seen as establishing an important precedent in the relationship between Governor and Prime Minister.

The Ballance Ministry was the beginning of the Liberal Government, which lasted until 1912.[7][8] John Ballance died suddenly on 27 April 1893[9] and whilst Ballance had favoured Robert Stout as his successor, the caucus selected Richard Seddon instead. The Seddon Ministry was in power from 1 May 1893 until 10 June 1906, when Seddon in turn died.[7][10]

Initial composition of the 11th Parliament[edit]

74 seats were created across 66 electorates.[11][12][13]

While the Liberal party was the only established party structure at the time, many independent conservative MPs coalesced as a semi-formal conservative opposition under the leadership of John Bryce. Due to the loose nature of this grouping it is difficult to determine the affiliation of some Independent MPs.

Party Name Electorate Term
Liberal Joyce, JohnJohn Joyce Akaroa Second
Conservative George, EdwardEdward George Ashburton Third
Liberal Meredith, RichardRichard Meredith Ashley First
Liberal Rees, WilliamWilliam Rees AucklandCity of Auckland Second
Liberal Shera, JohnJohn Shera AucklandCity of Auckland First
Liberal Thompson, ThomasThomas Thompson AucklandCity of Auckland Third
Liberal Blake, EdwinEdwin Blake Avon Third
Liberal Ward, JosephJoseph Ward Awarua Second
Liberal Houston, RobertRobert Houston Bay of Islands First
Conservative Thomson, JamesJames Thomson Bruce Sixth
Independent O'Conor, EugeneEugene O'Conor Buller Fourth
Liberal Perceval, WestbyWestby Perceval ChristchurchCity of Christchurch Second
Liberal Reeves, WilliamWilliam Reeves ChristchurchCity of Christchurch Second
Independent Taylor, RichardRichard Taylor ChristchurchCity of Christchurch Third
Liberal Mackenzie, ThomasThomas Mackenzie Clutha Second
Liberal Fish, HenryHenry Fish DunedinCity of Dunedin Third
Liberal Hutchison, WilliamWilliam Hutchison DunedinCity of Dunedin Third
Liberal-Labour Pinkerton, DavidDavid Pinkerton DunedinCity of Dunedin First
Liberal Dawson, WilliamWilliam Dawson Dunedin Suburbs First
Liberal Kelly, WilliamWilliam Kelly East Coast Third
Conservative Mitchelson, EdwinEdwin Mitchelson Eden Fourth
Conservative Atkinson, HarryHarry Atkinson Egmont Ninth
Conservative Hall, JohnJohn Hall Ellesmere Seventh
Conservative Hamlin, EbenezerEbenezer Hamlin Franklin Sixth
Conservative Rhodes, ArthurArthur Rhodes Geraldine Second
Liberal Guinness, ArthurArthur Guinness Grey Third
Conservative Rolleston, WilliamWilliam Rolleston Halswell Seventh
Conservative Russell, WilliamWilliam Russell Hawke's Bay Fifth
Liberal-Labour Tanner, WilliamWilliam Tanner Heathcote First
Conservative Newman, AlfredAlfred Newman Hutt Third
Liberal Reeves, RichardRichard Reeves Inangahua Third
Liberal-Labour Kelly, JamesJames Kelly Invercargill First
Conservative Moore, RichardRichard Moore Kaiapoi First
Conservative Buckland, WilliamWilliam Buckland Manukau Second
Conservative Thompson, RobertRobert Thompson Marsden Second
Liberal Hogg, AlexanderAlexander Hogg Masterton First
Conservative Richardson, GeorgeGeorge Richardson Mataura Third
Conservative Mackenzie, ScobieScobie Mackenzie Mount Ida Third
Conservative Swan, GeorgeGeorge Swan Napier First
Conservative Harkness, JosephJoseph Harkness NelsonCity of Nelson Second
Liberal Smith, EdwardEdward Smith New Plymouth First
Liberal Goldie, DavidDavid Goldie Newton Third
Liberal Duncan, ThomasThomas Duncan Oamaru Fourth
Conservative Wilson, JamesJames Wilson Palmerston Fourth
Conservative Lawry, FrankFrank Lawry[nb 1] Parnell Second
Liberal-Labour Earnshaw, WilliamWilliam Earnshaw Peninsula First
Independent Mills, JamesJames Mills Port Chalmers Third
Conservative Macarthur, DouglasDouglas Macarthur Rangitikei Third
Independent Saunders, AlfredAlfred Saunders Selwyn Fifth
Liberal Carncross, WalterWalter Carncross Taieri First
Independent Allen, WilliamWilliam Allen Te Aroha First
Liberal Cadman, AlfredAlfred Cadman Thames Fourth
Independent Liberal Hall-Jones, WilliamWilliam Hall-Jones Timaru Second
Conservative Valentine, HughHugh Valentine Tuapeka Second
Conservative Bryce, JohnJohn Bryce Waikato Eighth
Liberal Steward, WilliamWilliam Steward Waimate Fifth
Liberal Mills, Charles HCharles H Mills Waimea-Picton First
Liberal Smith, WilliamWilliam Smith Waipawa Fourth
Conservative Buchanan, WalterWalter Buchanan Wairarapa Fourth
Liberal-Labour Buick, LindsayLindsay Buick Wairau First
Liberal McKenzie, JohnJohn McKenzie Waitaki Fourth
Independent Liberal Palmer, JacksonJackson Palmer Waitemata First
Conservative Hutchinson, GeorgeGeorge Hutchinson Waitotara Second
Conservative Fergus, ThomasThomas Fergus Wakatipu Fourth
Liberal Mackintosh, JamesJames Mackintosh Wallace First
Liberal Ballance, JohnJohn Ballance Wanganui Sixth
Conservative Duthie, JohnJohn Duthie WellingtonCity of Wellington First
Liberal Fisher, GeorgeGeorge Fisher WellingtonCity of Wellington Third
Liberal Macdonald, KennedyKennedy Macdonald WellingtonCity of Wellington First
Liberal Seddon, RichardRichard Seddon Westland Fifth
Independent Carroll, JamesJames Carroll X-01Eastern Maori Second
Independent Taiwhanga, SydneySydney Taiwhanga X-02Northern Maori Second
Liberal Parata, TameTame Parata X-03Southern Maori Third
Independent Taipua, HoaniHoani Taipua X-04Western Maori Third

Table footnotes:

  1. ^ Lawry stood in support of the Atkinson Ministry but changed allegiance to the Liberals in 1891

By-elections during 11th Parliament[edit]

There were a number of changes during the term of the 11th Parliament.

Electorate and by-election Date Incumbent Cause Winner
Northern Maori 1891 7 February Sydney Taiwhanga Death[14][15] Eparaima Te Mutu Kapa
Egmont 1891 17 February   Harry Atkinson[16] Appointed to Legislative Council Felix McGuire[17]
Newton 1891 31 March David Goldie Resignation George Grey
Te Aroha 1891 9 July William Allen Disallowed on petition William Fraser
Waikato 1891 6 October John Bryce Resignation Edward Lake
City of Christchurch 1891 9 October Westby Perceval Appointed Agent General Ebenezer Sandford
City of Wellington 1892 15 January Kennedy Macdonald Resignation William McLean
Bruce 1892 4 May James Thomson Resignation James Allen
Rangitikei 1892 8 July Douglas Macarthur Death Robert Bruce
Inangahua 1893 8 June Richard Reeves Bankruptcy Robert Stout
Wanganui 1893 9 June John Ballance Death Archibald Willis
Thames 1893 26 July Alfred Cadman Resignation James McGowan
City of Auckland 1893 4 August William Rees Resignation Alfred Cadman


  1. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 68.
  2. ^ McRobie 1989, p. 55.
  3. ^ McRobie 1989, pp. 54ff.
  4. ^ Atkinson 2003, p. 81.
  5. ^ Bassett 1982, p. 2.
  6. ^ McIvor 1989, p. 179-180.
  7. ^ a b Scholefield 1950, p. 40.
  8. ^ McLintock 1966.
  9. ^ McIvor, Tim. "Ballance, John - Biography". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 16 September 2011. 
  10. ^ Hamer, David. "Seddon, Richard John - Biography". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 16 September 2011. 
  11. ^ "General elections 1853-2005 - dates & turnout". Elections New Zealand. Archived from the original on 27 May 2010. Retrieved 6 June 2010. 
  12. ^ "General Elections.". Wanganui Herald. XXIV (7283). 6 December 1890. p. 2. Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  13. ^ "The New House". The Evening Post. 8 December 1890. p. 2. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 
  14. ^ "Obituary". The Star (7022). 28 November 1890. p. 3. Retrieved 1 September 2011. 
  15. ^ "The Maori Elections". Northern Advocate. 6 December 1890. p. 2. Retrieved 1 September 2011. 
  16. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 93.
  17. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 122.


  • Atkinson, Neill (2003). Adventures in Democracy: A History of the Vote in New Zealand. University of Otago Press. ISBN 978-1-877276-58-3. OCLC 469393822. 
  • Bassett, Michael (1982). Three Party Politics in New Zealand 1911–1931. Auckland: Historical Publications. ISBN 0-86870-006-1. 
  • McIvor, Timothy (1989). The Rainmaker: A biography of John Ballance. Auckland: Heinemann Reed. ISBN 0-7900-0024-5. 
  • McLintock, A. H. (22 April 2009) [1966]. "Liberal Party". An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand. 
  • McRobie, Alan (1989). Electoral Atlas of New Zealand. Wellington: GP Books. ISBN 0-477-01384-8. 
  • Scholefield, Guy (1950) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1949 (3rd ed.). Wellington: Govt. Printer. 
  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First published in 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.