New Zealand general election, 1969

New Zealand general election, 1969
New Zealand
29 November 1969 (1969-11-29)

All 84 seats in the New Zealand Parliament
43 seats were needed for a majority
Turnout 1,340,168 (88.94%)
  First party Second party
Leader Keith Holyoake Norman Kirk
Party National Labour
Leader since 1957 1965
Leader's seat Pahiatua Lyttelton
Last election 44 seats, 43.6% 35 seats, 41.4%
Seats won 45 39
Seat change Increase 1 Increase 4
Popular vote 605,960 592,055
Percentage 45.2% 44.2%
Swing Increase 1.6% Increase 2.8%

Prime Minister before election

Keith Holyoake

Subsequent Prime Minister

Keith Holyoake

The 1969 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of Parliament's 36th term. It saw the Second National Government headed by Prime Minister Keith Holyoake of the National Party win a fourth consecutive term.

1967 electoral redistribution

Through an amendment in the Electoral Act in 1965, the number of electorates in the South Island was fixed at 25, an increase of one since the 1962 electoral redistribution.[1] It was accepted that through the more rapid population growth in the North Island, the number of its electorates would continue to increase, and to keep proportionality, three new electorates were allowed for in the 1967 electoral redistribution for the next election.[2] In the North Island, five electorates were newly created (Birkenhead, Hamilton West, Henderson, Mangere, and Western Hutt) and one electorate was reconstituted (Waikato) while three electorates were abolished (Hamilton, Waipa, and Waitakere).[3] In the South Island, three electorates were newly created (Papanui, South Canterbury, and Wigram) and one electorate was reconstituted (Oamaru) while three electorates were abolished (Ashburton, Fendalton, and Waitaki).[4] The overall effect of the required changes was highly disruptive to existing electorates, with all but three electorates (Franklin, Wairarapa, and St Kilda) having their boundaries altered.[5] These changes came into effect with the 1969 election.[2]

The increase to 84 electorates was the first since the 1902 electoral distribution.[6] Due to the fixed number of South Island electorates, the number of North Island electorates has increased in every subsequent election until the introduction of mixed-member proportional representation (MMP) for the 1996 election, which fixed the number of seats at 120.[7]


The election was held on 29 November. Turnout was 88.94%. The total number of MPs had increased to 84,[8] with at least 3 of the 4 new seats likely Labour seats. 55 and 25 electorates were in the North Island and South Island, respectively, plus the 4 Māori electorates.[9]


National pulled off a cliff-hanger victory. National won 45 seats, and Labour won 39 seats, though Labour's share of the vote was only 1% behind National. The Social Credit Party lost its only seat in Parliament: Hobson, formerly held by then party leader Vernon Cracknell.

Despite the hopes of a reinvigorated Labour party under Norman Kirk, Labour was overconfident, started too late, and did not win in Auckland. Relations with the Federation of Labour and the unions were not good, and an industrial dispute on the ship Wainui cost Labour three Auckland seats according to Kirk.

In Eden, Labour was first on election night but lost when special votes were counted.

Election results
Party Candidates Total votes Percentage Seats won Change
National 84 605,960 45.2 45 +1
Labour 84 592,055 44.2 39 +4
Social Credit 84 121,576 9.1 - -1
Country Party 15 6,715 0.5 - ±0
Communist 4 418 0.03 - ±0
(including Dr Barry Dallas and Kevin Ryan QC)
36 8,457 0.6 - ±0
Total 303 1,340,168 84

Votes summary

Popular Vote
Social Credit
Parliament seats

The table below shows the results of the 1969 general election:


 National    Labour    Social Credit    Independent  

Electorate results for the New Zealand general election, 1969[10]
Electorate Incumbent Winner Majority Runner up
General electorates
Ashburton Colin McLachlan 2,590 A J Srhoy
Auckland Central Norman Douglas 1,124 W C Edwards
Avon John Mathison 5,600 A E Ansell
Awarua Gordon Grieve Hugh Templeton 906 Aubrey Begg
Bay of Plenty Percy Allen 3,440 B R Kelly
Birkenhead New electorate Norman King 1,701 Don McKinnon
Buller Bill Rowling 2,822 Ernie King
Christchurch Central Robert Macfarlane Bruce Barclay 3,406 Colin Knight
Clutha Peter Gordon 3,618 L J McKay
Dunedin Central Brian MacDonell 3,949 Mrs M M Reichwein
Dunedin North Ethel McMillan 2,929 Mrs J W Williams
Eden John Rae 67 Keith Sinclair[nb 1]
Egmont Venn Young 4,280 T McGreevy
Franklin Alfred E. Allen 5,495 T N Tuhimata
Gisborne Esme Tombleson 781 T Davey
Grey Lynn Ritchie Macdonald Eddie Isbey 2,915 J Meder
Hamilton West New electorate Leslie Munro 1,878 R D Reese
Hastings Duncan MacIntyre 706 Richard Mayson
Hauraki Arthur Kinsella Leo Schultz 2,121 Dorothy Jelicich
Hawkes Bay Richard Harrison 3,416 David Butcher
Henderson New electorate Martyn Finlay 5,340 A H Clark
Heretaunga Ron Bailey 1,375 R M Miller
Hobson Vernon Cracknell Logan Sloane 1,252 Vernon Cracknell
Hutt Trevor Young 1,775 D Lee
Invercargill Ralph Hanan John Chewings 1,031 T D Young
Island Bay Arnold Nordmeyer Gerald O'Brien 1,348 F F Curry
Karori Jack Marshall 6,226 R C Tombs
Lyttelton Norman Kirk Tom McGuigan 292 G P A de Latour
Manawatu Les Gandar 1,323 E J Hemmingsen
Mangere New electorate Colin Moyle 4,588 N C Slater
Manukau Colin Moyle Roger Douglas 875 R A Walden
Manurewa Phil Amos 1,371 Patrick Norman Baker[11]
Marlborough Tom Shand 2,460 Ian Brooks
Marsden Donald McKay 1,101 Murray Smith
Miramar Bill Young 1,789 C T Troughton
Mt Albert Warren Freer 2,837 Gavin Downie
Napier Gordon Christie 1,970 T J Dunleavy
Nelson Stanley Whitehead 1,248 Roy McLennan
New Lynn Jonathan Hunt 3,600 V J Watson
New Plymouth Ron Barclay 1,000 B E Clark
North Shore George Gair 3,964 D F Dugdale
Oamaru New electorate Allan Dick 497 N Agnew
Onehunga Hugh Watt 4,539 Mrs D T L Double
Otago Central John George Murray Rose 1,086 B O Griffiths
Otaki Allan McCready 2,037 John Scott
Pahiatua Keith Holyoake 4,920 Trevor de Cleene
Pakuranga Bob Tizard 1,253 N W Holmes
Palmerston North Joe Walding 161 G N Cruden
Papanui New electorate Bert Walker 2,096 M P Hobbs
Petone Fraser Colman 3,450 F J Handy
Piako Jack Luxton 4,426 George Bryant
Porirua Henry May Gerard Wall 2,744 P W Mitchell
Raglan Douglas Carter 593 D I Sinclair
Rangiora Herbert Pickering 1,143 Paul Piesse
Rangitikei Norman Shelton 4,214 D J Duggan
Remuera Allan Highet 7,097 Hamish Keith
Riccarton Mick Connelly Eric Holland 2,939 A C McEwen
Rodney Jack Scott Peter Wilkinson 2,832 Nevern McConachy
Roskill Arthur Faulkner 3,296 A W G Cook
Rotorua Harry Lapwood 1,198 Charles Bennett
St Albans Bert Walker Roger Drayton 909 I G B Wilson
St Kilda William Fraser 3,795 L G Anderson
South Canterbury New electorate Rob Talbot 1,215 M A Cameron
Stratford David Thomson 4,158 L H Stockbridge
Sydenham Mabel Howard Norman Kirk 6,026 P J Morrissey
Tamaki Robert Muldoon 6,088 A D Bolton
Taupo Rona Stevenson 107 A J Ingram
Tauranga George Walsh 2,704 R F Dillon
Timaru Basil Arthur 3,101 D A J Walker
Waikato New electorate Lance Adams-Schneider 3,408 A E George
Waimarino Roy Jack 2,213 S A Cameron
Wairarapa Haddon Donald Jack Williams 467 Haddon Donald
Waitemata Norman King Frank Gill 1,052 Michael Bassett
Waitomo David Seath 5,674 N R D Shewan
Wallace Brian Talboys 4,532 J Robson
Wanganui George Spooner William Tolhurst 959 G A Spooner
Wellington Central Dan Riddiford 2,200 Mrs O E Smuts-Kennedy
Western Hutt New electorate Henry May 1,421 Egan E Ogier[12]
Westland Paddy Blanchfield 1,879 Barry Dallas[13]
Wigram New electorate Mick Connelly 3,200 J R Dawson
Māori electorates
Eastern Maori Paraone Reweti 3,487 Henare Kohere Ngata[14]
Northern Maori Matiu Rata 4,758 Graham Latimer
Southern Maori Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan 6,630 N W Pomare
Western Maori Iriaka Matiu Ratana Koro Wētere 7,530 P J Hura

Table footnotes:

  1. Sinclair was first on election night for Eden (by 35 votes), but lost when special votes were included



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