New Zealand general election, 1905

1905 general election
New Zealand
6 (general) & 20 December (Māori) 1905

All 80 seats in the New Zealand House of Representatives
41 seats were needed for a majority
Turnout 83.3%
  First party Second party Third party
Leader Richard Seddon William Massey George Laurenson
Party Liberal Conservative New Liberal
Leader since 1893 1903 1905
Leader's seat Westland Franklin Lyttelton
Last election 47 seats 19 seats not yet founded
Seats before 42 seats 21 seats 4
Seats won 58 16 2
Seat change Increase 16 Decrease 5 Decrease 2
Popular vote 219,144 122,572 15,721
Percentage 53.1 29.7% 3.8
Swing Increase 1.3 Increase 9.1 Increase 3.8

Prime Minister before election

Richard Seddon

Prime Minister-designate

Richard Seddon

The New Zealand general election of 1905 was held on Wednesday, 6 December in the general electorates, and on Wednesday, 20 December in the Māori electorates to elect a total of 80 MPs to the 16th session of the New Zealand Parliament. A total number of 412,702 voters turned out, with 396,657 (83.25% of the electoral roll) voting in the European electorates.[1][2][3]

Changes to the electoral law

The 1903 City Single Electorates Act declared that at the dissolution of the 15th Parliament, the four multi-member electorates would be abolished and replaced each with three single-member electorates.[4] It was also the year absentee voting was introduced for all electors unable to be in their own electorate on election day. The first Chief Electoral Officer was appointed.

Accordingly, the multi-member urban electorates of City of Auckland, City of Christchurch, City of Dunedin and City of Wellington were abolished and replaced with the following single-member seats:

Nine of these twelve electorates had existed before. Wellington Central, Wellington North, and Dunedin North were established for the first time.[5]

Historic context

In 1905 a progressive faction within the Liberal Party started to form in opposition to Liberal leader Richard Seddon's policies. They announced that they would stand in the election as the New Liberal Party, however an accusation against Seddon's son, when disproven saw most of the dissidents return to the Liberal Party, and of the four New Liberals (George Laurenson, Francis Fisher, Harry Bedford and Tommy Taylor) that stood in the election only Laurenson and Fisher were returned.

The freshly created Independent Political Labour League also contested the election as a breakaway faction from the Liberals. It was the first of many steps of a gradual move by urban labourers shifting allegiance to an independent working-class political party. Previously, most workers had supported the Liberal Party, which since the 1890s had attempted to gain Trade Union support by appointing union representatives to the party's governing body. The IPLL did not perform well, gaining only 3,478 votes nationwide with no candidates elected.[6]

The Rev Frank Isitt was the Prohibition candidate for several South Island electorates, and came second in two.


A cartoon depicting the infamous "Voucher incident" showing New Liberals distancing themselves from Fisher.

Party totals

The following table gives party strengths and vote distribution.[7]

Election results
Party Candidates Total votes Percentage Seats won Change
Liberal 94 219,144 53.1 58 +11
Conservative 63 122,572 29.7 16 -3
New Liberal 7 15,721 3.8 2 +2
Ind. Labour League 9 3,478 0.8 0 ±0
Independent 63 51,785 12.5 4 -10

Votes summary

Popular Vote
New Liberal
Ind. Labour League
Parliament seats
New Liberal

Electorate results

The following are the results of the 1905 general election:


 Liberal    Conservative    New Liberal    Liberal-Labour    Independent Liberal    Independent  

[] Electorate results for the New Zealand general election, 1905[8][9]
Electorate Incumbent Winner Majority Runner up
General electorates
Ashburton John McLachlan 244 John Studholme
Auckland Central New electorate Alfred Kidd L J Bagnall
Auckland East New electorate Frederick Baume Harry Bamford
Auckland West New electorate Charles Poole James Parr
Avon William Tanner John Russell Brunt
Awarua Joseph Ward H S Woodnorth
Bay of Islands Robert Houston John Charles Johnson
Bay of Plenty William Herries J Foster
Bruce James Allen W D Mason
Buller James Colvin Frank Isitt
Caversham Thomas Sidey 1,760 William Earnshaw
Chalmers Edmund Allen W Pryor
Christchurch East New electorate Thomas Davey Henry Featherston Toogood
Christchurch North New electorate Charles Gray 1,084 Tommy Taylor
Christchurch South New electorate Harry Ell C H Winny
Clutha James Thomson Alexander Malcolm D Stewart
Courtenay Charles Lewis T J McBride
Dunedin Central New electorate John A. Millar A S Adam
Dunedin North New electorate Alfred Richard Barclay Harry Bedford
Dunedin South New electorate James Frederick Arnold William Downie Stewart
Eden John Bollard R French
Egmont William Thomas Jennings Charles Leech
Ellesmere Heaton Rhodes George Rennie
Franklin William Massey 935 William Wilson McCardle
Geraldine Frederick Flatman William Jeffries
Grey Arthur Guinness J Petrie
Grey Lynn George Fowlds J Farrell
Hawera Charles E. Major 449 Felix McGuire
Hawke's Bay William Russell Alfred Dillon William Russell
Hurunui Andrew Rutherford Obed Frederick Clothier
Hutt Thomas Wilford G M Yerex
Invercargill Josiah Hanan I W Raymond
Kaiapoi David Buddo Richard Moore
Kaipara Alfred Harding John Stallworthy Alfred Harding
Lyttelton George Laurenson 1,108 William Radcliffe
Manawatu Job Vile John Stevens Job Vile
Manukau Matthew Kirkbride R D Stewart
Marsden Francis Mander Robert Thompson
Masterton Alexander Hogg J C Cooper
Mataura Robert McNab Thomas MacGibbon
Motueka Roderick McKenzie Frank Isitt
Mount Ida Alexander Herdman John MacPherson Alexander Herdman
Napier Alfred Fraser 1,469 Montague W. P. Lascelles[10][11]
Nelson John Graham Harry Atmore
Newtown William Henry Peter Barber Thomas William Hislop
Oamaru Thomas Young Duncan J Mitchell
Ohinemuri Edward Moss Hugh Poland Edward Moss
Oroua Frank Lethbridge O C Pleasants
Otaki William Hughes Field B P Brown
Pahiatua William Henry Hawkins Robert Beatson Ross William Henry Hawkins
Palmerston William Wood Frederick Pirani
Parnell Frank Lawry M McLean
Patea Walter Symes John Hine
Rangitikei Arthur Remington J R Sommerville
Riccarton George Witty Thomas Henson Caverhill
Selwyn Charles Hardy Joseph Ivess
Taieri Donald Reid A Marshall
Taranaki Edward Metcalf Smith Henry Okey
Thames James McGowan M Fleming
Timaru William Hall-Jones Frank Rolleston
Tuapeka James Bennet R Gilkison
Waiapu James Carroll Lissant Clayton
Waikato Frederic Lang Henry Greenslade Frederic Lang
Waikouaiti Thomas Mackenzie Edward Henry Clark
Waipawa Charles Hall 1,254 George Hunter
Wairarapa Walter Clarke Buchanan J. T. Marryat Hornsby Walter Clarke Buchanan
Wairau Charles H. Mills John Duncan
Waitaki William Steward 1,643 G Dash
Waitemata Ewen Alison 971 Cecil Clinkard
Wakatipu William Fraser Michael Gilfedder
Wallace John Charles Thomson Dugald Macpherson
Wanganui Archibald Willis James Thomas Hogan 924 Archibald Willis
Wellington Central New electorate Francis Fisher 445 Patrick O'Regan
Wellington East New electorate John Aitken 19 William McLean
Wellington North New electorate Charles Hayward Izard 660 John Duthie
Westland Richard Seddon H Cowin
Māori electorates
Eastern Maori Wi Pere Apirana Ngata Wi Pere
Northern Maori Hone Heke Ru Reweti
Southern Maori Tame Parata Hopere Uru
Western Maori Henare Kaihau 1,688 Tureiti Te Heuheu Tukino V


  1. "New Zealand Elections 1905-1943". NZES. Retrieved 13 August 2011.
  2. "General elections 1853-2005 - dates & turnout". Elections New Zealand. Retrieved 12 January 2011.
  3. "Results of the Polls". Ashburton Guardian. 7 December 1905. p. 2. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  4. McRobie 1989, p. 67.
  5. Wilson 1985, pp. 262, 276.
  6. Paul 1946, p. 176.
  7. Wilson 1985, pp. 287–289.
  8. "The General Election, 1905". National Library. 1906. pp. 1–6. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  9. "The Nominations". XXXVIII (284). Marlborough Express. 29 November 1905. p. 3. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  10. "Personal Matters". The Evening Post. LXX (61). 9 September 1905. p. 5. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  11. "Deaths". The Evening Post. CXXVIII (72). 22 September 1939. p. 1. Retrieved 10 October 2015.


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