New Zealand general election, 1908

New Zealand general election, 1908
New Zealand
17 November to 2 December 1908

All 80 seats in the New Zealand House of Representatives
41 seats were needed for a majority
Turnout 79.8%
  First party Second party Third party
Leader Joseph Ward William Massey David McLaren
Party Liberal Conservative Ind. Labour League
Leader since 1906 1903 1908
Leader's seat Awarua Franklin Wellington East
Last election 58 seats 16 seats 0 seats
Seats won 50 26 1
Seat change Decrease 8 Increase 10 Increase 1
Popular vote 315,220 149,286 16,974
Percentage 58.7% 27.8% 3.1%
Swing Increase 5.6% Decrease 1.9% Increase 2.3%

Prime Minister before election

Joseph Ward

Prime Minister-designate

Joseph Ward

The New Zealand general election of 1908 was held on Tuesday, 17 November, 24 November and 1 December in the general electorates, and on Wednesday, 2 December in the Māori electorates to elect a total of 80 MPs to the 17th session of the New Zealand Parliament. A total number of 537,003 (79.8%) voters turned out to vote.[1]

Changes to the electoral law

The Second Ballot Act 1908 provided for second or runoff ballots between the top two candidates where the top candidate did not get an absolute majority. The second ballot was held seven days after the first ballot except in ten large rural seats, where fourteen days were allowed. In 1908, 22 second ballots were held on 24 November and one (Bay of Plenty) on 1 December. At the 1911 election, all 30 second ballots were held seven days later.[2] Two 1909 by-elections (in Rangitikei and Thames) also required second ballots.

The Second Ballot Act of 1908, which did not apply to the Maori electorates, was repealed in 1913.

Summary of results

Party totals

The following table gives party strengths and vote distribution.[3]

Election results
Party Candidates Total votes Percentage Seats won Change
Liberal 108 315,220 58.7 50 -8
Conservative 53 149,286 27.8 26 +10
Ind. Labour League 11 16,974 3.1 1 +1
Socialist 5 2,521 0.6 0 ±0
Independent 45 50,478 9.4 3 -1

Votes summary

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

Electorate results

The following are the results of the 1908 general election:


 Liberal    Conservative    Ind. Labour League    Independent Liberal    Liberal-Labour    Independent  

[] Electorate results for the New Zealand general election, 1908[4]
Electorate Incumbent Winner Majority Runner up
General electorates[nb 1]
Ashburton John McLachlan William Nosworthy Frederick Flatman
Auckland Central Alfred Kidd Albert Glover Alfred Kidd
Auckland East Frederick Baume William Richardson
Auckland West Charles Poole Robert Thompson
Avon William Tanner George Warren Russell 541† William Tanner
Awarua Joseph Ward 2,183 William Morris
Bay of Islands Robert Houston Vernon Reed 265 John Charles Johnson
Bay of Plenty William Herries William MacDonald James Gow
Bruce James Allen 1,393 Joseph Mosley
Buller James Colvin Fergus Ferguson Munro
Chalmers Edmund Allen Edward Henry Clark Edmund Allen
Christchurch East Thomas Davey James McCombs
Christchurch North Charles Gray Tommy Taylor Charles Gray
Christchurch South Harry Ell[nb 2] 1,273 Jim Thorn
Clutha Alexander Malcolm Frank Isitt
Dunedin Central John A. Millar James Frederick Arnold John McDonald
Dunedin North Alfred Barclay George Thomson Alfred Barclay
Dunedin South James Frederick Arnold Thomas Sidey 1,830 Robert Rutherford Douglas
Dunedin West New electorate John A. Millar 2,447 James Wright Munro
Eden John Bollard John Shackelford
Egmont William Thomas Jennings Bradshaw Dive George Wake
Ellesmere Heaton Rhodes George Rennie
Franklin William Massey 1,187 John McLarin
Geraldine Frederick Flatman Thomas Buxton William Jeffries
Gisborne New electorate James Carroll George Darton
Grey Arthur Guinness James Kerr[nb 3]
Grey Lynn George Fowlds Oliver Nicholson
Hawke's Bay Alfred Dillon 704 William Russell
Hurunui Andrew Rutherford George Forbes 597 Obed Clothier
Hutt Thomas Wilford 1,538 Richard Shortt
Invercargill Josiah Hanan 848 Arthur Paape
Kaiapoi David Buddo Richard Moore
Kaipara John Stallworthy Alfred Harding
Lyttelton George Laurenson Henry Thacker
Manawatu John Stevens Edward Newman John Stevens
Manukau Frederic Lang Alfred Creamer
Marsden Francis Mander James Harrison
Masterton Alexander Hogg John Hunter
Mataura Robert McNab George Anderson Robert McNab
Motueka Roderick McKenzie Frederick Smith
Napier Alfred Fraser Vigor Brown 1,035 Alfred Fraser
Nelson John Graham 14 Harry Atmore
Oamaru Thomas Young Duncan James Mitchell
Ohinemuri Hugh Poland Frederick Haselden
Oroua Frank Lethbridge David Guthrie Owen Pleasants
Otaki William Hughes Field William Hughes Field Byron Brown
Palmerston William Wood David Buick William Wood
Patea Walter Symes George Pearce Charles E. Major
Rangitikei Arthur Remington Robert William Smith
Riccarton George Witty George Sheat
Selwyn Charles Hardy Joseph Ivess
Stratford New electorate John Hine Walter Symes
Taieri Donald Reid Thomas Mackenzie John Thomas Johnson
Taumarunui New electorate William Thomas Jennings William Bowater
Tauranga New electorate William Herries James Alexander Young
Thames James McGowan Ernest Deeble
Timaru William Hall-Jones James Craigie William David Campbell
Tuapeka William Chapple Robert Scott John MacPherson
Wairarapa J. T. Marryat Hornsby Walter Clarke Buchanan J. T. Marryat Hornsby
Wairau Charles H. Mills John Duncan Robert McArtney
Waitaki William Steward Francis Henry Smith
Wakatipu William Fraser Andrew Martin
Pahiatua Robert Beatson Ross James Cooper
Parnell Frank Lawry 219 Edward George Britton Moss
Taranaki Henry Okey William Malone
Waikato Henry Greenslade 493 Allen Bell
Waipawa Charles Hall 50 George Hunter
Waitemata Ewen Alison Leonard Phillips 903† William Joseph Napier
Wallace John Charles Thomson Dugald MacPherson
Wanganui James Thomas Hogan 742† George Hutchison
Wellington Central Francis Fisher 143 Thomas Hislop
Wellington East John Aitken David McLaren 427† Arthur Richmond Atkinson
Wellington North Charles Hayward Izard Alexander Herdman Frederick Bolton
Wellington South New electorate Robert Alexander Wright William Barber
Wellington Suburbs New electorate John Luke 1,148† John Edward Fitzgerald
Westland Tom Seddon Henry Michel
Māori electorates[nb 4]
Eastern Maori Apirana Ngata Tiki Paaka
Northern Maori Hone Heke Hare te Rangi
Southern Maori Tame Parata Teone Hopere Wharewiti Uru
Western Maori Henare Kaihau 757 Pepene Eketone

Table footnotes:

  1. † in Majority column depicts electorates in which a second ballot was held.
  2. Harry Ell was previously associated with the Liberal Party.
  3. For some biographical details of James Kerr refer to his father's article
  4. The affiliation of many of the Māori candidates is unknown or uncertain; note that the Second Ballot Act 1908 did not apply to Māori constituencies.

Summary of changes


  1. "General elections 1853-2005 - dates & turnout". Elections New Zealand. Retrieved 12 January 2011.
  2. McLintock, A. H. (1966). "Second Ballot System (1908–13)". An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  3. Wilson 1985, pp. 287–289.
  4. "The General Election, 1908". National Library. 1909. pp. 1–34. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
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