New Zealand general election, 1975
All 87 seats for New Zealand House of Representatives
44 seats were needed for a majority
The 1975 New Zealand general election was held on 29 November to elect MPs to the 38th session of the New Zealand Parliament. It was the first general election in New Zealand where 18- to 20-year-olds 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 by 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.
In July 1974, Muldoon as opposition leader had promised to cut immigration and to "get tough" on law and order issues. He criticized the Labour government's immigration policies for contributing to the economic recession and a housing shortage which undermined the New Zealand "way of life." During the 1975 general elections, the National Party had also played a controversial electoral advertisement that was later criticized for stoking negative racial sentiments about Polynesian migrants.
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.
A consummate orator and a skilled television performer, Muldoon's powerful presence on screen increased his popularity with voters.
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||Percentage||Seats won||Change|
The table below shows the results of the 1975 general election:
- David Lange came third for Labour in Hobson
- Levine & Lodge 1976, p. ?.
- National Party advertisement (documentary). TVNZ Television New Zealand, Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. 1975.
- "Dancing Cossacks political TV ad". Ministry for Culture and Heritage. 23 August 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2014.
- Atkinson 2003, pp. 188f.
- Norton 1988, pp. ?.
- Gustafson 1986, p. 358.
- Gustafson 1986, p. 382.
- Atkinson, Neill (2003). Adventures in Democracy: A History of the Vote in New Zealand. Dunedin: University of Otago Press.
- Chapman, George (1980). The Years of Lightning. Wellington: AH & AW Reed. ISBN 0-589-01346-7.
- 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.