1928 New Zealand general election

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All 80 seats in the House of Representatives
41 seats were needed for a majority
  First party Second party
  Joseph Ward c. 1906.jpg Joseph Gordon Coates, 1931.jpg
Leader Sir Joseph Ward Gordon Coates
Party United Reform
Leader since 17 September 1928 30 May 1925
Leader's seat Invercargill Kaipara
Last election 11 seats, 22.4% 55 seats, 47.7%
Seats won 27 27
Seat change Increase 16 Decrease 28
Popular vote 225,042 263,382
Percentage 29.75% 34.82%
Swing Increase 7.26% Decrease 9.97%

  Third party Fourth party
  Harry Holland (1925).jpg Harold Montague Rushworth (1920).jpg
Leader Harry Holland Harold Rushworth
Party Labour Country Party
Leader since 27 August 1919 November 1928
Leader's seat Buller Bay of Islands
Last election 12 seats, 27.2% 0 seats, 0.3%
Seats won 19 1
Seat change Increase 7 Increase 1
Popular vote 198,092 11,990
Percentage 26.19% 1.59%
Swing Increase 3.50% Increase 1.24%

Prime Minister before election

Gordon Coates

Prime Minister-designate

Joseph Ward

The New Zealand general election of 1928 was held on 13 and 14 November in the Māori and European electorates, respectively, to elect 80 MPs to the 23rd session of the New Zealand Parliament.

1928 was the year postal voting was introduced for certain specified groups (e.g. invalids) who could not get to a polling booth on election day.

The election[edit]

The 1928 election was held on Tuesday, 13 November in the Māori electorates, and on Wednesday, 14 November in the general electorates to elect a total of 80 MPs to the 23rd session of Parliament. A total of 844,633 electors were registered on the European roll, of which 743,691 (88.05%) turned out to vote.[1] All 80 electorates were contested.[2] 47 and 29 electorates were in the North Island and South Island, respectively, plus the 4 Māori electorates.[3]

In 1927, a faction of the decaying Liberal Party formed a new organisation, which was eventually named the United Party. In 1928, to the considerable surprise of most observers and many members of the party itself, United won a considerable victory, taking Auckland East and Grey Lynn from Labour. The United Government came to power with Labour support. Labour, forming the official opposition since 1926, were thus replaced by Reform.[4] Six Independents were elected (most with allegiances to the main parties. Four of these backed United, one supported Reform and one favoured neither.[5]

The Bay of Islands electorate went to Harold Rushworth of the Country Party after a recount of the votes, but the election was declared void January 1929.[6][7] Rushworth won the resulting by-election.[7] This marked the Country Party's first entry into Parliament, where it would retain a presence until 1938.

Result by party[edit]

The table below shows the result of the 1928 election.

Election results
Party Candidates Total votes Percentage Seats won Change
Reform 74 271,259 35.87 281 -27
United 60 228,438 30.20 272 +16
Labour 59 197,953 26.17 19 +7
Country Party 5 11,990 1.59 1 +1
Ratana 3 4,924 0.65 0 ±0
Independent 30 41,767 5.52 5 +3
Total 231 756,331 80

1 Includes two who won as Independent Reform

2  United  previously contested as  Liberal  

Votes summary[edit]

Popular Vote
Parliament seats

Initial composition of the 23rd Parliament[edit]

Map of electorates.

The United Party was organised in the House of Representatives, prior to the dissolution of the 22nd Parliament.

The Auckland Star reported on 18 September 1928, that:[8]

...the United Party were assembled yesterday in Wellington when Sir Joseph Ward accepted the leadership of the party. It had previously been decided, by unanimous resolution, that the party should go to the polls as "The United Party"...

The Evening Post newspaper reported on the same day that:[9]

The Rt. Hon. Sir Joseph Ward took his seat as Leader of the United Party in the House of Representatives this afternoon, Mr G.W. Forbes, who has led the Nationalist Party up to the present, relinquishing his former place in favour of Sir Joseph. From now until the end of the session the Nationalist Party ceases to exist under that name.


 United    Reform    Labour    Country Party    Liberal–Labour    Ratana    Independent  

Electorate results for the New Zealand general election, 1928[10]

Electorate Incumbent Winner Majority Runner up
General electorates
Auckland Central Bill Parry 3,024 William Hewitt
Auckland East John A. Lee James Donald 37 John A. Lee
Auckland Suburbs New electorate Rex Mason 1,098 Sir James Gunson
Auckland West Michael Joseph Savage 1,341 Richard Speirs
Avon Dan Sullivan 3,845 George Thomas Baker[11]
Awarua John Hamilton Philip De La Perrelle 1,005 John Hamilton
Bay of Islands Allen Bell Harold Rushworth 2 Allen Bell
Bay of Plenty Kenneth Williams 1,867 Alexander Moncur
Buller Harry Holland 3,617 Dugald Macdonald Robertson[12]
Central Otago New electorate William Bodkin 653 J. Ritchie
Chalmers James M. Dickson Alfred Ansell 619 Norman Hartley Campbell
Christchurch East Tim Armstrong 2,260 Denis Franklyn Dennehy[13]
Christchurch North Henry Holland 1,892 Ernest Andrews
Christchurch South Ted Howard 433 Charlie McCully[14]
Clutha Fred Waite 523 Joseph Stephens[15]
Dunedin Central Sir Charles Statham 1,771 J. Robinson
Dunedin North Harold Tapley Jim Munro 1,231 Harold Tapley
Dunedin South Thomas Sidey William Taverner 33 R.W. Hall
Dunedin West Downie Stewart 1,277 C.M. Moss
Eden Rex Mason Arthur Stallworthy 2,436 Vivian Potter
Egmont Oswald Hawken Charles Wilkinson 1,286 Oswald Hawken
Franklin Ewen McLennan Jack Massey 134 Harry Mellsop
Gisborne Douglas Lysnar Douglas Lysnar (Ind R) 346 David Coleman
Grey Lynn Fred Bartram John Fletcher 64 Fred Bartram
Hamilton Alexander Young 1,073 Samuel Charles Gale Lye[16]
Hauraki New electorate Arthur Hall 891 Ebenezer Allan
Hawke's Bay Hugh Campbell 690 Jack Lyon[17]
Hurunui George Forbes 1,839 L.R.C. Macfarlane
Hutt Thomas Wilford 1,305 Walter Nash
Invercargill Sir Joseph Ward, Bt. 3,178 Morell Macalister
Kaiapoi David Buddo Richard Hawke 96 James Arthur Flesher
Kaipara Gordon Coates 2,475 Jim Barclay
Lyttelton James McCombs 1,867 John Beanland
Manawatu Joseph Linklater 1,466 P.J. Small
Manukau Bill Jordan 3,659 Walter Kells-Mason
Marsden William Jones Alfred Murdoch 450 William Jones
Masterton George Sykes 1,238 J.W. Thompson
Mataura George Anderson David McDougall 62 George Anderson
Mid-Canterbury New electorate David Jones 55 Jeremiah Connolly
Motueka Richard Hudson George Black 613 Richard Hudson
Napier John Mason Bill Barnard 418 John Mason
Nelson Harry Atmore 2,309 Frederick William Oscar Smith
New Plymouth New electorate Sydney Smith 1,467 Charles Bellringer
Oamaru Ernest Lee John Macpherson 337 Ernest Lee
Oroua John Eliott John Cobbe 732 John Eliott
Otaki William Field 813 Archibald Burnett Sievwright
Pahiatua Alfred Ransom 922 Harold Smith
Palmerston Jimmy Nash 2,350 Walter Bromley
Parnell James S. Dickson Harry Jenkins 849 James S. Dickson
Patea Harold Dickie 182 James Douglas Hislop[18]
Raglan Lee Martin 1,041 W. Seavill
Rangitikei William Glenn James Hogan 1,234 William Glenn
Riccarton Herbert Kyle 45 Archibald Albany McLachlan[13]
Roskill Vivian Potter George Munns 2,344 Arthur Richards
Rotorua Frank Hockly Cecil Clinkard 200 Frank Hockly
Stratford Edward Walter William Polson 982 Edward Walter
Tauranga Charles MacMillan 678 D.C. Chalmers
Temuka Thomas Burnett 86 Thomas Herbert Langford
Thames Thomas Rhodes Albert Samuel 1,302 J.S. Montgomerie
Timaru Frank Rolleston Clyde Carr 467 Frank Rolleston
Waikato Stewart Reid Frederick Lye 86 Stewart Reid
Waimarino Robert Smith Frank Langstone 985 Robert Smith
Waipawa Sir George Hunter 1,860 Ernest Albert Goodger[19]
Wairarapa Alexander McLeod Thomas McDonald 566 Alexander McLeod
Wairau William Girling Edward Healy 292 William Girling
Waitaki John Bitchener 1,202 Frederick Cooke
Waitemata Alexander Harris 315 Reginald Greville
Waitomo John Rolleston Walter Broadfoot 532 John Rolleston
Wallace Adam Hamilton 20 Walter Taylor
Wanganui Bill Veitch 2,137 Bill Rogers
Wellington Central Peter Fraser 3,458 Andrew Sloane
Wellington East Thomas Forsyth Bob Semple 966 Thomas Forsyth
Wellington North Sir John Luke Charles Chapman 47 Sir John Luke
Wellington South Robert McKeen 2,953 Martin Luckie
Wellington Suburbs Robert Wright 1,985 Tom Brindle
Westland Tom Seddon James O'Brien 185 Tom Seddon
Māori electorates
Eastern Maori Sir Āpirana Ngata 3,104 Pita Moko
Northern Maori Taurekareka Henare 880 Paraire Karaka Paikea
Southern Maori Henare Uru Tuiti Makitanara 1 Eruera Tirikatene
Western Maori Sir Māui Pōmare 1,599 Toko Ratana


  1. ^ "General elections 1853-2005 - dates & turnout". Elections New Zealand. Retrieved 12 January 2011.
  2. ^ "General Election". Auckland Star. LIX (255). 27 October 1928. p. 14. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
  3. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 173.
  4. ^ Bassett 1982, p. 46.
  5. ^ Bassett 1982, p. 67.
  6. ^ "State of Parties". Auckland Star. LIX (280). 26 November 1928. p. 10. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
  7. ^ a b Wilson 1985, p. 232.
  8. ^ "Leadership Settled". Auckland Star. LIX (221). 18 September 1928. p. 9. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
  9. ^ "New Leader Takes His Seat". The Evening Post. CVI (58). 18 September 1928. p. 13. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
  10. ^ Skinner 1929, pp. 1–7.
  11. ^ "Electoral Notices". The Press. LXIV (19454). 30 October 1928. p. 15. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  12. ^ "Robertson, Dugald Macdonald, fl 1909-1971 : Papers". National Library of New Zealand. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  13. ^ a b "Christchurch Nominations". The Press. LXIV (19451). 26 October 1928. p. 14. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  14. ^ "Straight Grained". New Zealand Truth (1197). 8 November 1928. p. 6. Retrieved 2 November 2014.
  15. ^ "Labour's Candidates". Maoriland Worker. 12 (299). 22 November 1922. p. 12. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
  16. ^ "Election Candidates". The New Zealand Herald. LXV (19939). 7 May 1928. p. 10. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  17. ^ "Death in Action". The New Zealand Herald. LXXVIII (23984). 6 June 1941. p. 9. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  18. ^ "Patea". The Evening Post. CVI (85). 19 October 1928. p. 11. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  19. ^ "Personal Items". The Evening Post. CIX (72). 26 March 1930. p. 13. Retrieved 20 December 2014.


  • Bassett, Michael (1982). Three Party Politics in New Zealand 1911–1931. Auckland: Historical Publications. ISBN 0-86870-006-1.
  • Mackie, Thomas T.; Rose, Richard (1991). The International Almanac of Electoral History, 3rd edition. Macmillan.
  • Skinner, W. A. G. (1929). The General Election, 1928. Government Printer. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.

External links[edit]