New Zealand general election, 1949

New Zealand general election, 1949
New Zealand
29 (Māori) & 30 November (general) 1949

All 80 seats in the New Zealand Parliament
41 seats were needed for a majority
Turnout 1,113,852
  First party Second party
Leader Sidney Holland Peter Fraser
Party National Labour
Leader since 1940 1940
Leader's seat Fendalton Brooklyn
Last election 38 seats, 48.4% 42 seats, 51.3%
Seats won 46 34
Seat change Increase 8 Decrease 8
Popular vote 556,805 506,073
Percentage 51.9% 47.2%
Swing Increase 3.5% Decrease 4.1%

Prime Minister before election

Peter Fraser

Elected Prime Minister

Sidney Holland

The 1949 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of the New Zealand Parliament's 29th term. It saw the governing Labour Party defeated by the opposition National Party. This marked the end of the First Labour government and the beginning of the First National government.


The Labour Party had formed its first administration after winning the 1935 elections, and had remained in power (with gradually decreasing majorities) since then. The National Party, formed by a merger of the parties which Labour had originally ousted, gradually increased its power in Parliament; the ineffectual Adam Hamilton was replaced by Sidney Holland, and internal disputes were gradually resolved. The Prime Minister, Peter Fraser, was increasingly weary. Ongoing shortages after World War II also eroded public support for the government. The National Party's decision not to repeal Labour's social welfare policies also increased its appeal.

The election

The date for the main elections was a Wednesday 30 November. Elections to the four Māori electorates were held the day beforethe 1949 elections were the last in which Māori voted on a different day. 1,113,852 people were registered to vote, although rolls for the Māori seats were "woefully inadequate." Voter turnout for the elections is disputed, given the problems with the Māori rollsome sources place it at 93.5 percent, while others estimate 92.9 percent. Regardless, the turnout was relatively high for the time. The number of seats being contested was 80, a number which had been fixed since 1902.

Election results

Party standings

The 1949 election saw the governing Labour Party defeated by a twelve-seat margin. It has previously held a four-seat majority. Labour won a total of 34 seats, as opposed to National's 46. The popular vote was considerably closerLabour won 47.2 percent to National's 51.9 percent. No seats were won by minor party candidates or by independents.

John A. Lee stood for Grey Lynn as the sole Democratic Labour candidate and got 2,627 votes, coming third.

Election results
Party Candidates Total votes Percentage Seats won change
National 80 556,805 51.88 46 +8
Labour 80 506,073 47.16 34 -8
Communist 16 3,499 0.33 0 ±0
Democratic Labour 1 2,627 0.24 0 ±0
Others (including Frank Langstone) 19 4,150 0.39 0 ±0
Total 196 1,073,154 80

Votes summary

Popular Vote
Parliament seats

Initial MPs

The table below shows the results of the 1949 general election:


 Labour    National  

[] Electorate results for the New Zealand general election, 1949[1]
Electorate Incumbent Winner Majority Runner up
General electorates
Arch Hill Bill Parry 5,174 G. F. Smith
Ashburton Richard Geoffrey Gerard 2,385 W. E. Rose
Auckland Central Bill Anderton 2,799 L. G. Bradley
Avon John Mathison 4,593 G. W. Kinzett
Awarua George Richard Herron 3,179 Neville Pickering[2]
Bay of Plenty Bill Sullivan 3,680 T. G. Santon
Brooklyn Peter Fraser[3] 2,956 Mrs Berta S. Burns[4]
Buller Clarence Skinner 2,206 F. E. McDonald
Central Otago William Bodkin 3,906 T. A. Rodgers
Christchurch Central Robert Macfarlane 3,637 K. J. Marlow
Clutha James Roy 3,231 J. E. Keenan
Dunedin Central Philip Connolly 989 D. Murdoch
Eden Wilfred Fortune 2,259 P. T. Curran
Egmont Ernest Corbett 4,539 B. Richmond
Fendalton Sidney Holland 4,076 R. T. Newman
Franklin Jack Massey 5,481 J. Parsons
Gisborne David William Coleman Reginald Keeling 489 Harry Dudfield[5][6]
Grey Lynn Fred Hackett 4,203 J. L. Faulkner[7]
Hamilton Hilda Ross 1,605 J. Granville
Hastings Edward Luttrell Cullen Sydney Jones 982 Edward Luttrell Cullen
Hauraki Andrew Sutherland 3,944 P. Peacock
Hawke's Bay Cyril Harker 3,442 H. E. Beattie
Hobson Sidney Walter Smith 5,068 W. E. Lane
Hurunui William Gillespie 2,535 A. J. Smith
Hutt Walter Nash 2,273 H. L. Heatley
Invercargill Ralph Hanan 1,159 William Denham
Island Bay Robert McKeen 2,770 H. E. Childs
Karori Charles Bowden 3,585 Ethel Harris
Lyttelton Terry McCombs 978 R. R. Beauchamp
Manawatu Matthew Oram 3,433 B. A. Rodgers
Marlborough Tom Shand 1,862 J. H. Wilson
Marsden Alfred Murdoch 3,276 D. L. Ross
Miramar Bob Semple 1,315 C. H. Taylor
Mornington Walter Arthur Hudson 4,185 G. C. Stephens
Mount Albert Warren Freer 931 R. F. Judson
Mount Victoria Jack Marshall 1,808 Nathan Seddon
Napier Tommy Armstrong 721 W. Tucker
Nelson Edgar Neale 1,373 R. C. A. Marshall
New Plymouth Ernest Aderman 1,517 C. R. Parker
North Dunedin Robert Walls 668 R. G. Brickell
North Shore Martyn Finlay Dean Eyre 1,344 Martyn Finlay
Oamaru Arnold Nordmeyer Thomas Hayman 694 Arnold Nordmeyer
Onehunga Arthur Osborne 2,300 A. A. Coates
Onslow Harry Ernest Combs 1,927 John S. Meadowcroft[8]
Otahuhu Charles Robert Petrie Leon Götz 1,275 A. B. Dixon
Otaki James Joseph Maher 374 J. J. D. Chapstick
Pahiatua Keith Holyoake 4,507 G. P. O'Leary
Palmerston North Ormond Wilson Blair Tennent 518 Ormond Wilson
Parnell Duncan Rae 960 Frederick Schramm
Patea William Sheat 1,841 F. W. Finer
Petone Michael Moohan 2,527 N. P. Croft
Piako William Goosman 6,266 G. P. Kenah
Ponsonby Ritchie Macdonald 2,278 B. H. Kingston
Raglan Alan Baxter Hallyburton Johnstone 1,022 Alan Baxter
Rangitikei Edward Gordon 3,310 E. R. De Malmanche
Remuera Ronald Algie 5,079 Hugh Watt[9][1]
Riccarton Angus McLagan 2,707 Harry Lake[10]
Rodney Clifton Webb 4,546 A. Leaming
Roskill Frank Langstone John Rae 1,415 J. Freeman
St Albans Jack Watts 1,142 George Manning[11]
St Kilda Fred Jones 331 G. Lyon
Selwyn John McAlpine 1,327 E. A. Sharp
Sydenham Mabel Howard 5,643 Oliver G. Moody[8]
Tamaki Tom Skinner Eric Halstead 1,095 Tom Skinner
Tauranga Frederick Doidge 4,595 H. J. Pickett
Timaru Clyde Carr 832 J. F. Lockington
Waikato Geoffrey Sim 5,923 J. R. Burfitt
Waimarino Paddy Kearins 202 A. H. MacPherson
Waimate David Campbell Kidd 1,767 W. R. Davison
Wairarapa Garnet Hercules Mackley Bertie Cooksley 963 G. A. Hansen
Waitakere Rex Mason 930 R. Tapper
Waitomo Walter Broadfoot 5,079 Frank Kitts
Wallace Tom Macdonald 4,511 H. V. Freeman
Wanganui Joseph Cotterill 1,019 E. V. O'Keefe
Wellington Central Charles Henry Chapman 575 Will Appleton
Westland James Begg Kent 2,744 P. J. O'Regan
Māori electorates
Eastern Maori Tiaki Omana 3,211 Turi Carroll
Northern Maori Tapihana Paraire Paikea 2,029 James Henare
Southern Maori Eruera Tirikatene 687 Huro Nathanial Bates
Western Maori vacant[nb 1] Iriaka Matiu Ratana 6,317 Hoeroa Marumaru

Table footnotes:

  1. Matiu Ratana, the previous holder of the Western Maori electorate, died on 7 October 1949. His wife Iriaka Ratana stood for election instead.


  1. 1 2 "The General Election, 1949". National Library. 1950. pp. 1–5, 8. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  2. Norton 1988, p. 197.
  3. Wilson 1985, p. 198.
  4. Gustafson 1986, p. 357.
  5. Norton 1988, p. 228.
  6. Gustafson 1986, p. 308.
  7. Norton 1988, p. 419.
  8. 1 2 Gustafson 1986, p. 378.
  9. Norton 1988, p. 331.
  10. Gustafson 1986, p. 325.
  11. Sharfe, Jean. "Manning, George". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 17 February 2010.


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