New Zealand general election, 1919

1919 general election
New Zealand
16 (Māori) & 17 December (general) 1919

All 80 seats in the New Zealand House of Representatives
41 seats were needed for a majority
Turnout 80.5%
  First party Second party Third party
Leader William Massey Joseph Ward Harry Holland
Party Reform Liberal Labour
Leader since 1909 1913 1919
Leader's seat Franklin Awarua (lost seat) Grey
Last election 40 seats, 47.1% 34 seats, 43.1% N/A
Seats before 39 34 5
Seats won 45 19 8
Seat change Increase 6 Decrease 15 Increase 3
Popular vote 193,676 155,708 131,402
Percentage 35.7% 28.7% 24.2%
Swing Decrease 11.4% Decrease 14.4% Increase 24.2%

Prime Minister before election

William Massey

Prime Minister-designate

William Massey

The New Zealand general election of 1919 was held on Tuesday, 16 December in the Māori electorates, and on Wednesday, 17 December in the general electorates to elect a total of 80 MPs to the 20th session of the New Zealand Parliament. A total number of 560,673 (80.5%) voters turned out to vote.[1]

In 1919 women won the right to be elected to the House of Representatives. The law was changed late in 1919, and with only three weeks notice, three women stood for Parliament in 1919.

They were Ellen Melville in Grey Lynn, Rosetta Baume in Parnell, and Mrs Aileen Cooke in Thames. Ellen Melville stood for the Reform Party and came second. She stood for Parliament several more times, but while generally polling well she never won a seat.


Though Labour Party captured only eight seats it received a quarter of the votes – a shock to conservative minds due to Labour being founded only three years earlier in 1916. [2]

Party totals

Election results
Party Candidates Total votes Percentage Seats won
Reform Party 67 197,041 35.63 45
Liberal Party[nb 1] 66 166,675 30.14 19
Labour Party 59 134,094 24.25 8
Independents[nb 2] 39 55,161 9.98 8
Total valid votes 552,971 80
Informal votes 7,702 1.37
Registered voters 683,420
  1. Includes one MP returned unopposed, and one Independent Liberal
  2. Includes ex-members of the three main parties as well as long-standing Independents

Votes summary

Popular Vote
Parliament seats

Electorate results

The results of the 1919 general election displayed outside The Press Building in Christchurch

The table below shows the results of the 1919 general election:


 Reform    Liberal    Labour        Liberal-Labour
 Independent Liberal    Independent Labour    Independent  
[] Electorate results for the New Zealand general election, 1919[3]
Electorate Incumbent Winner Majority Runner up
General electorates
Ashburton William Nosworthy 1,493 William Dickie
Auckland Central Albert Glover Bill Parry 786 Albert Glover
Auckland East Vernon Reed 158 Clutha Mackenzie
Auckland West Charles Poole Michael Joseph Savage 533 C F Bennett[4]
Avon George Russell Dan Sullivan 1,648 George Russell
Awarua Joseph Ward John Hamilton 757 Joseph Ward
Bay of Islands Vernon Reed 1,195 St. Claire Jounneaux
Bay of Plenty William MacDonald 1,234 Kenneth Williams
Bruce James Allen 126 John Edie
Buller James Colvin Harry Holland 1,003 D G O'Brien[4]
Chalmers James McColl Dickson 883 John Gilchrist
Christchurch East Henry Thacker 1,940 Hiram Hunter
Christchurch East Leonard Isitt 2,403 Tim Armstrong
Christchurch South Harry Ell Ted Howard 1,675 Henry Holland
Clutha Alexander Malcolm 134 R A Rodger
Dunedin Central Charles Statham 497 James Wright Munro
Dunedin North Andrew Walker Edward Kellett 806 Andrew Walker
Dunedin South Thomas Sidey 84 Tom Paul
Dunedin West William Downie Stewart 2,421 J A Brown[5]
Eden James Parr 1,854 Oscar McBrine
Egmont Charles Wilkinson Oswald Hawken 191 David Lyon Abbott Astbury
Ellesmere Heaton Rhodes 749 George Barclay
Franklin William Massey 3,030 J Rea
Gisborne James Carroll Douglas Lysnar 373 James Carroll
Grey Lynn John Payne Fred Bartram 481 Ellen Melville
Hawke's Bay John Findlay Hugh Campbell 942 Gilbert McKay
Hurunui George Forbes 667 J G Armstrong
Hutt Thomas Wilford 1,005 David Pritchard
Invercargill Josiah Hanan 1,403 John Archer
Kaiapoi David Buddo David Jones 50 David Buddo
Kaipara Gordon Coates 3,291 Alfred Gregory
Lyttelton James McCombs 577 R MacCartney[4]
Manawatu New electorate Edward Newman 866 Alfred Hillier
Manukau Frederic Lang 2,508 Rex Mason
Marsden Francis Mander 189 Alfred Murdoch
Masterton George Sykes George Sykes 344 A C Holms
Mataura George Anderson 1,336 David McDougall
Motueka Richard Hudson 661 Percy Power
Napier Vigor Brown 54 Frederick Charles Evans[6][7]
Nelson Thomas Field Harry Atmore 510 Thomas Field
Oamaru Ernest Lee 276 John MacPherson
Ohinemuri Hugh Poland 555 J Clark
Oroua David Guthrie 1,843 E J Tunnicliffe
Otaki William Hughes Field 1,232 James McKenzie
Pahiatua Harold Smith Archibald McNicol 170 Robert Ross
Palmerston Jimmy Nash 1,004 Moses Ayrton[8]
Parnell James Samuel Dickson 3,419 Thomas Bloodworth
Patea George Pearce Walter Powdrell 255 William Morrison
Raglan Richard Bollard 988 William Jordan
Rangitikei Edward Newman William Glenn 635 F P Brady[9]
Riccarton George Witty 626 William Russell Devereux[10]
Roskill New electorate Vivian Potter 1,854 James Gunson
Rotorua New electorate Frank Hockly 1,733 Malcolm Larney[11]
Stratford John Hine Robert Masters 61 John Hine
Taranaki Sydney George Smith Sydney George Smith 1,023 Buckeridge
Tauranga William Herries 1,860 Benjamin Robbins[12]
Temuka Charles Talbot Thomas Burnett 31 Charles Talbot
Thames Thomas William Rhodes 1,590 W J McCormick
Timaru James Craigie James Craigie 1,519 Percy Vinnell
Waikato Alexander Young 2,893 P H Watts
Waimarino Robert William Smith 643 Frank Langstone
Waipawa George Hunter 274 Albert Jull
Wairarapa J. T. Marryat Hornsby Alexander McLeod 540 J. T. Marryat Hornsby
Wairau Richard McCallum 796 B J Cooke
Waitaki John Anstey John Bitchener 472 John Anstey
Waitemata Alexander Harris 1,419 Arthur Edwin Greenslade[13]
Waitomo New electorate William Jennings 377 K C Wilson
Wakatipu William Fraser James Horn 801 Robert Scott
Wallace John Charles Thomson Adam Hamilton 43 John Charles Thomson
Wanganui Bill Veitch 1,703 W J Cuttle
Wellington Central Peter Fraser 1,056 Frederick Pirani[4]
Wellington East Alfred Newman 1,058 Alec Monteith
Wellington North John Luke 1,065 H. Oakley Browne
Wellington South Bob Semple George Mitchell 1,426 Bob Semple
Wellington Suburbs Robert Wright 1,127 Alexander Croskery
Westland Tom Seddon 1,497 James O'Brien
Māori electorates
Eastern Maori Āpirana Ngata Uncontested
Northern Maori Taurekareka Henare 1,629 Nau Parone Kawiti
Southern Maori Hopere Uru 207 Riki te Mairaki Taiaroa
Western Maori Māui Pōmare 1,424 Ngarangi Katitia

Summary of changes

A boundary redistribution resulted in the abolition of four electorates:[14]

At the same time, four new electorates were created:[15][16]


  1. "General elections 1853-2005 - dates & turnout". Elections New Zealand. Retrieved 12 January 2011.
  2. Lipson 2011, p. 211.
  3. Hislop, J. (1921). The General Election, 1919. National Library. pp. 1–6. Retrieved 6 December 2014.
  4. 1 2 3 4 Gustafson 1980, p. 181.
  5. Gustafson 1980, p. 155.
  6. "Notice of Nominations Received". Hawke's Bay Tribune. IX (303). 9 December 1919. p. 6. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
  7. "Napier". Hawera & Normanby Star. LXXIV. 7 November 1919. p. 5. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
  8. Brown, Colin. "Moses Ayrton". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
  9. Gustafson 1980, p. 154.
  10. "Notice of Nominations Received". The Press. LV (16702). 10 December 1919. p. 12. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  11. "Rotorua Seat". Auckland Star. L (282). 27 November 1919. p. 11. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  12. "Liberal Selection for Tauranga". Wairarapa Daily Times. 45 (13977). 11 November 1919. p. 5. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
  13. "Waitemata Parliamentary Election". Observer. XL (14). 6 December 1919. p. 12. Retrieved 5 December 2014.
  14. McRobie 1989, pp. 75–80.
  15. Wilson 1985, pp. 266–276.
  16. McRobie 1989, pp. 79f.


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