Halifax Needham encompasses what is largely known as the North End of Halifax. It has been held by members of each of the three major political parties in Nova Scotia at different times. The riding was once the home of Liberal Premier Gerald Regan before going to Progressive ConservativeEdmund L. Morris for the majority of the 1980s. Morris served as a Member of Parliament for Halifax under Progressive Conservative Prime Minister John Diefenbaker before becoming the Mayor of Halifax. He served in the Provincial Cabinet as Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Municipal Affairs, Fisheries, and Social Services.
When he stepped down in 1988, the Progressive Conservatives lost the seat in that election to Gerry O'Malley, who was unseated from his position as Liberal Minister of Supply and Services in 1998. Maureen MacDonald held the seat from 1998 until 2016. The seat was once considered a safe seat for the NDP, though the 2013 election was close, amid a province-wide swing to the Liberals.
It was created in 1966 when Halifax North was divided into three districts, one of which was Halifax City North East. The district was renamed Halifax Needham in 1967. In 2003, it gained an area east of Citadel Hill from Halifax Citadel. In 2013, it lost the area south of Robie Street and east of Young Street to Halifax Chebucto and gained the area north of Bayers Road and east of Connaught Avenue from Halifax Chebucto.