List of Prime Ministers of New Zealand by time in office

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This is a list of Prime Ministers of New Zealand by time in office. The basis of the list is the difference between dates; if counted by number of calendar days all the figures would be one greater. The first day of a Prime Minister's term is counted in the total, but the last day is not. Prime ministers do not have a fixed term of office; instead, they may stay in office as long as their government is supported by parliament under a system of responsible government.

Historically, elections have been held every three years, however twenty of thirty-nine prime ministers have served fewer than three years. Richard Seddon had the longest tenure of any Prime Minister, serving over 13 years, while Henry Sewell, the shortest serving Prime Minister, spent 13 days in office.

Ranked list[edit]

The following list is ranked by their total term in office (multiple terms are added together to give the total term in office).

Colour key
(for political parties)

 Independent  
 Liberal  
 Reform  
 United  
 Labour  
 National  

Rank Name Party Term(s)
1 Richard Seddon Liberal 13 years, 44 days
2 William Massey Reform 12 years, 304 days
3 Keith Holyoake National 11 years, 140 days[1]
4 Peter Fraser Labour 9 years, 261 days
5 Helen Clark Labour 8 years, 350 days
6 Edward Stafford None 8 years, 326 days[2]
7 Robert Muldoon National 8 years, 227 days
8 John Key National 8 years, 23 days
9 Sidney Holland National 7 years, 281 days
10 Joseph Ward Liberal 7 years, 38 days[3]
United
11 Jim Bolger National 7 years, 36 days
12 George Forbes United 5 years, 192 days
13 Harry Atkinson None 5 years, 116 days[4]
14 David Lange Labour 5 years, 13 days
15 William Fox None 4 years, 148 days[5]
16 Michael Joseph Savage Labour 4 years, 112 days
17 Gordon Coates Reform 3 years, 194 days
18 Robert Stout None 3 years, 47 days[6]
19 Walter Nash Labour 3 years, 0 days
20 Julius Vogel None 2 years, 288 days[7]
21 John Hall None 2 years, 195 days
22 Frederick Whitaker None 2 years, 182 days[8]
23 John Ballance Liberal 2 years, 93 days
24 Jenny Shipley National 1 year, 362 days
25 George Grey None 1 year, 360 days
26 Norman Kirk Labour 1 year, 266 days
27 Bill Rowling Labour 1 year, 97 days
28 Alfred Domett None 1 year, 85 days
29 Geoffrey Palmer Labour 1 year, 27 days
30 Jacinda Ardern (incumbent) Labour 333 days
31 Frederick Weld None 326 days
32 Bill English National 318 days
33 Jack Marshall National 305 days
34 Daniel Pollen None 224 days
35 George Waterhouse None 143 days
36 Thomas Mackenzie Liberal 104 days
37 Mike Moore Labour 59 days
38 William Hall-Jones Liberal 57 days
39 Francis Bell Reform 16 days
40 Henry Sewell None 13 days

† - Died in office.

Note: Some lists consider Hugh Watt as a New Zealand Prime Minister. Watt served as acting Prime Minister for seven days from 31 August to 6 September 1972 following the death of Norman Kirk. He is not normally counted in the official numbering of New Zealand Prime Ministers.

Richard Seddon, longest-serving prime minister at 13 years, 44 days
Francis Bell, shortest-serving prime minister of the twentieth century at 16 days
Henry Sewell, first and shortest-serving prime minister at 13 days

Graphical[edit]

Jacinda ArdernBill EnglishJohn KeyHelen ClarkJenny ShipleyJim BolgerMike Moore (New Zealand politician)Geoffrey Palmer (politician)David LangeRobert MuldoonBill RowlingNorman KirkJack MarshallKeith HolyoakeWalter NashKeith HolyoakeSidney HollandPeter FraserMichael Joseph SavageGeorge William ForbesJoseph WardGordon CoatesFrancis Bell (New Zealand politician)William MasseyThomas MackenzieJoseph WardWilliam Hall-JonesRichard SeddonJohn BallanceHarry AtkinsonRobert StoutHarry AtkinsonRobert StoutHarry AtkinsonFrederick WhitakerJohn Hall (New Zealand politician)George GreyHarry AtkinsonJulius VogelDaniel PollenJulius VogelWilliam Fox (New Zealand)George Marsden WaterhouseEdward Stafford (politician)William Fox (New Zealand)Edward Stafford (politician)Frederick WeldFrederick WhitakerAlfred DomettWilliam Fox (New Zealand)Edward Stafford (politician)William Fox (New Zealand)Henry Sewell


See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Served 2 terms - 20 September 1957 – 12 December 1957: 83 days and 12 December 1960 – 7 February 1972: 11 years, 57 days
  2. ^ Served 3 terms: 2 June 1856 – 12 July 1861 (5 years, 40 days), 16 October 1865 – 28 June 1869 (3 years, 255 days), 10 September 1872 – 11 October 1872 (31 days)
  3. ^ Served 2 terms: 6 August 1906 – 28 March 1912 (5 years, 235 days) and 10 December 1928 – 28 May 1930 (1 year, 169 days); Ward holds the record for the longest time between two premierships at 16 years, 257 days
  4. ^ Served 4 terms: 1 September 1876 – 13 October 1877 (1 year, 42 days), 25 September 1883 – 16 August 1884 (326 days), 28 August 1884 – 3 September 1884 (6 days), 8 October 1887 – 24 January 1891 (3 years, 108 days)
  5. ^ Served 4 terms: 20 May 1856 – 2 June 1856 (Thirteen days), 12 July 1861 – 6 August 1862 (1 year, 25 days), 28 June 1869 – 10 September 1872 (3 years, 74 days), and 3 March 1873 – 8 April 1873 (36 days)
  6. ^ Served 2 terms: 16 August 1884 – 28 August 1884 (12 days) and 3 September 1884 – 8 October 1887 (3 years, 1 month, 5 days)
  7. ^ Served 2 terms: 8 April 1873 – 6 July 1875 (2 years, 89 days), 15 February 1876 – 1 September 1876 (199 days)
  8. ^ Served 2 terms: 30 October 1863 – 24 November 1864 (1 year, 25 days), 21 April 1882 – 25 September 1883 (1 year, 157 days)

External links[edit]