New Zealand general election, 1957

New Zealand general election, 1957
New Zealand
30 November 1957 (1957-11-30)

All 80 seats in the New Zealand Parliament
41 seats were needed for a majority
Turnout 1,157,365 (92.9%)
  First party Second party
Leader Walter Nash Keith Holyoake
Party Labour National
Leader since 1951 1957
Leader's seat Hutt Pahiatua
Last election 35 seats, 44.1% 45 seats, 44.3%
Seats won 41 39
Seat change Increase 6 Decrease 6
Popular vote 559,096 511,699
Percentage 48.3% 44.2%
Swing Increase 4.2% Decrease 0.1%

Prime Minister before election

Keith Holyoake

Elected Prime Minister

Walter Nash

The 1957 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of the New Zealand Parliament's 32nd term. It saw the governing National Party narrowly defeated by the Labour Party. The 1957 elections marked the beginning of the second Labour government, although this administration was to last only a single term.


The National Party had formed its first administration after the 1949 elections, and had been re-elected in the 1951 elections and the 1954 elections. As its third term in office continued, however, the Prime Minister, Sidney Holland, became increasingly ill. Holland's memory began to fail, and he is believed to have suffered a mild heart attack during the Suez Crisis. In early 1957, Holland was persuaded by his party to step down, and Keith Holyoake, his deputy, became Prime Minister. The Labour Party was still led by Walter Nash, who had been Finance Minister in the first Labour government.

The 1957 election campaign was dominated largely by financial issues, particularly introduction of the PAYE tax system. As a campaign promise, Labour announced that in the year that PAYE commenced, there would be a flat rebate of £100 on income tax National attacked this as an election bribe. Labour also campaigned to abolish compulsory military training. National made no great changes to its policy platform, and Holyoake largely retained the Cabinet he had inherited from his predecessor.

The election

The date for the main 1957 elections was 30 November. 1,252,329 people were registered to vote, and turnout was 92.9%. This turnout, although only average for the time, was not to be equalled or exceeded until the 1984 elections. The number of seats being contested was 80, a number which had been fixed since 1902.

The Labour candidate for Clutha, R S Waters, died the day before the general election, and the election there was postponed to 18 January 1958.[1]

Election results

Party standings

The 1957 election saw the governing National Party defeated by a narrow two-seat margin. It had previously held a ten-seat majority. National won a total of thirty-nine seats, while the Labour Party won forty-one. In the popular vote, National won 44% to Labour's 48%. The Social Credit Party won 7% of the vote, a drop from its previous result of 11%. It still won no seats.

Election results
Party Candidates Total votes Percentage Seats won change
Labour 80 559,096 48.31 41 +6
National 80 511,699 44.21 39 -6
Social Credit 80 83,498 7.21 0 ±0
Communist 5 706 0.06 0 ±0
Independents 13 2,366 0.20 0 ±0
Total 258 1,157,365 80

Votes summary

Popular Vote
Social Credit
Parliament seats
Holyoake (right) congratulating Nash (left) on Labour's victory.

The table below shows the results of the 1957 general election:


 Labour    National  

[] Electorate results for the New Zealand general election, 1957. [2]
Electorate Incumbent Winner Majority Runner up
General electorates
Ashburton Richard Gerard 1,769 G Glassey
Auckland Central Bill Anderton 3,856 Miss A A Joyce
Avon John Mathison 6,100 W E Olds
Awarua George Herron Gordon Grieve 1,636 J. P. Wyatt[3]
Bay of Plenty Percy Allen 910 T G Stanton
Buller Clarence Skinner 2,677 N L Bensenmann
Christchurch Central Robert Macfarlane 4,071 Colin McLachlan
Clutha James Roy 1,490 T. A. Rodgers [nb 1]
Dunedin Central Philip Connolly 1,778 M W D Anderson
Dunedin North Ethel McMillan 3,408 G R Terry
Eden Duncan Rae 498 C. I. B. Watkins[4]
Egmont Ernest Corbett William Sheat 2,697 C R Parker
Fendalton Sidney Holland Jack Watts 824 L G G White[5]
Franklin Jack Massey Alfred E. Allen 4,241 C Mountford
Gisborne Reginald Keeling 1,182 A H MacPherson
Grey Lynn Fred Hackett 5,785 B Griffiths
Hamilton Hilda Ross 1,110 E A Watts
Hastings Edwin Keating 1,070 A H Sievewright
Hauraki Arthur Kinsella 1,161 B W Dynes
Hawkes Bay Cyril Harker 2,858 L T Fischer
Heretaunga Phil Holloway 5,117 Allan McCready
Hobson Sidney Smith 3,134 Colin Moyle
Hurunui William Gillespie 1,749 L Christie
Hutt Walter Nash 4,430 Lance Adams-Schneider
Invercargill Ralph Hanan 679 T F Doyle
Island Bay Arnold Nordmeyer 4,209 Abraham Saul Goldsmith [6]
Karori Jack Marshall 3,061 Keith Spry
Lyttelton Harry Lake Norman Kirk 567 Harry Lake
Manawatu Matthew Oram Blair Tennent 1,575 P Kelliher
Manukau Leon Götz 159 C D Stamp
Marlborough Tom Shand 1,782 R Evans
Marsden Donald McKay 2,088 M A Hosking
Miramar Bill Fox 2,077 C G Costello
Mornington Walter Hudson 2,817 W P MacDougall
Mt Albert Warren Freer 3,987 G G P Taylor
Napier Jim Edwards 2,413 R V Foster
Nelson Edgar Neale Stanley Whitehead 509 C W Martin
New Plymouth Ernest Aderman 657 Ron Barclay
North Shore Dean Eyre 462 P L Smith
Onehunga Hugh Watt 5,686 D. Watson
Onslow Henry May 2,675 Kevin O'Brien [7]
Otago Central John George 2,788 J H Rapson
Otahuhu James Deas 3,442 R O Haszard
Otaki James Maher 1,122 C G . Shamy
Pahiatua Keith Holyoake 4,020 W E Rose
Palmerston North Philip Skoglund 1,348 Bill Brown
Patea Roy Jack 902 Benjamin R. Winchcombe
Petone Michael Moohan 4,159 Dan Riddiford
Piako New electorate William Goosman 3,812 A L Walker
Ponsonby Ritchie Macdonald 6,592 G F Smith
Raglan Hallyburton Johnstone Douglas Carter 161 Alan Baxter
Rangitikei Norman Shelton 2,983 S M Roberton
Remuera Ronald Algie 4,766 R G Penney
Riccarton Mick Connelly 2,867 Mrs Deena V Sergel [8]
Rodney Jack Scott 3,112 G T Webber
Roskill John Rae Arthur Faulkner 2,117 John Rae
Rotorua Ray Boord 2,009 A M Linton
Selwyn John McAlpine 1,731 S S M Cook
St Albans Jack Watts Neville Pickering 501 Eric Philip Wills [9]
St Kilda Jim Barnes William Fraser 791 Jim Barnes
Stratford Thomas Murray 3,172 J M Deegan
Sydenham Mabel Howard 6,450 O G Moody
Tamaki John Rae Bob Tizard 589 Eric Halstead
Tauranga George Walsh 3,342 O P Liddell
Timaru Clyde Carr 2,954 Alfred James Davey
Waikato Geoffrey Sim 2,013 A J Ingram
Waipa William Goosman Hallyburton Johnstone 1,813 A C Tucker
Wairarapa Bertie Cooksley 1,058 Bob Wilkie[10]
Waitakere Rex Mason 3,682 L G Bradley
Waitaki New electorate Thomas Hayman 1,618 A G Braddock
Waitemata Norman King 2,191 Robert Muldoon
Waitomo David Seath 2,474 V C Haines
Wallace Tom Macdonald Brian Talboys 4,319 J S Reid
Wanganui Joseph Cotterill 1,419 Mrs A K MacLean
Wellington Central Frank Kitts 1,685 M H Wall
Westland James Kent 4,745 F F Boustridge
Māori electorates
Eastern Maori Tiaki Omana 4,197 W. Maxwell
Northern Maori Tapihana Paikea 4,310 T J Davis
Southern Maori Eruera Tirikatene 4,383 T Stratton
Western Maori Iriaka Matiu Ratana 5,553 Pei Te Hurinui Jones

Table footnotes:

  1. The previous Labour candidate, R S Waters, died the day before the general election, so the election in Clutha was postponed to 18 January 1958[1]



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