1905 New Zealand general election

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1905 general election
Flag of New Zealand.svg
  1902 6 (general) & 20 December (Māori) 1905 1908  

All 80 seats in the New Zealand House of Representatives
41 seats were needed for a majority
 First partySecond partyThird party
  Richard Seddon, 1906.jpg William Ferguson Massey, 1905.jpg George Laurenson, 1913.jpg
Leader Richard Seddon William Massey George Laurenson
Party Liberal Conservative New Liberal
Leader since 28 April 1893 11 September 19031905
Leader's seat Westland Franklin Lyttelton
Last election47 seats19 seatsnot yet founded
Seats before42 seats21 seats4
Seats won58162
Seat changeIncrease2.svg 16Decrease2.svg 5Decrease2.svg 2
Popular vote219,144122,57215,721
SwingIncrease2.svg 1.3Increase2.svg 9.1Increase2.svg 3.8

1905 New Zealand general election - Results.svg
Results of the election.

Premier before election

Richard Seddon

Subsequent Premier

Richard Seddon

The 1905 New Zealand general election was held on Wednesday, 6 December in the general electorates, and on Wednesday, 20 December in the Māori electorates to elect a total of 80 MPs to the 16th session of the New Zealand Parliament. A total number of 412,702 voters turned out, with 396,657 (83.25% of the electoral roll) voting in the European electorates. [1] [2] [3]


Changes to the electoral law

The 1903 City Single Electorates Act declared that at the dissolution of the 15th Parliament, the four multi-member electorates would be abolished and replaced each with three single-member electorates. [4] It was also the year absentee voting was introduced for all electors unable to be in their own electorate on election day. The first Chief Electoral Officer was appointed.

Accordingly, the multi-member urban electorates of City of Auckland, City of Christchurch, City of Dunedin and City of Wellington were abolished and replaced with the following single-member seats:

Nine of these twelve electorates had existed before. Wellington Central, Wellington North, and Dunedin North were established for the first time. [5]

Historic context

In 1905 a progressive faction within the Liberal Party started to form in opposition to Liberal leader Richard Seddon's policies. They announced that they would stand in the election as the New Liberal Party, however an accusation against Seddon's son, when disproven saw most of the dissidents return to the Liberal Party, and of the four New Liberals (George Laurenson, Francis Fisher, Harry Bedford and Tommy Taylor) that stood in the election only Laurenson and Fisher were returned.

The freshly created Independent Political Labour League also contested the election as a breakaway faction from the Liberals. It was the first of many steps of a gradual move by urban labourers shifting allegiance to an independent working-class political party. Previously, most workers had supported the Liberal Party, which since the 1890s had attempted to gain Trade Union support by appointing union representatives to the party's governing body. The IPLL did not perform well, gaining only 3,478 votes nationwide with no candidates elected. [6]

The Rev Frank Isitt was the Prohibition candidate for several South Island electorates, and came second in two.


A cartoon depicting the infamous "Voucher incident" showing New Liberals distancing themselves from Fisher. A Split in the New Liberal Party.jpg
A cartoon depicting the infamous "Voucher incident" showing New Liberals distancing themselves from Fisher.

Party totals

The following table gives party strengths and vote distribution. [7]

1905 nz parliament.svg
Election results
PartyCandidatesTotal votesPercentageSeats wonChange
Liberal 94219,14453.158+11
Conservative 63122,57229.716-3
New Liberal 715,7213.82+2
Ind. Labour League 93,4780.80±0
Independent 6351,78512.54-10

Votes summary

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

Electorate results

The following are the results of the 1905 general election:


  Liberal     Conservative     New Liberal     Liberal–Labour     Independent Liberal     Independent   

Electorate results for the 1905 New Zealand general election [8] [9]
ElectorateIncumbentWinnerMajorityRunner up
General electorates
Ashburton John McLachlan 244 John Studholme
Auckland Central New electorate Alfred Kidd 939 Lemuel Bagnall
Auckland East New electorate Frederick Baume 871Harry Bamford
Auckland West New electorate Charles Poole 340 James Parr
Avon William Tanner 725John Russell Brunt
Awarua Joseph Ward 2,848Henry Woodnorth
Bay of Islands Robert Houston 470John Charles Johnson
Bay of Plenty William Herries 211Joseph Foster
Bruce James Allen 435William Darcy Mason
Buller James Colvin 2,798 Frank Isitt
Caversham Thomas Sidey 1,760 William Earnshaw
Chalmers Edmund Allen 1,437William Pryor
Christchurch East New electorate Thomas Davey 565Henry Featherston Toogood
Christchurch North New electorate Charles Gray 1,084 Tommy Taylor
Christchurch South New electorate Harry Ell 2,511Charles Henry Winny
Clutha James Thomson Alexander Malcolm 272Daniel Stewart
Courtenay Charles Lewis 232Thomas Jones McBride
Dunedin Central New electorate John A. Millar 1,919Alexander Samuel Adam
Dunedin North New electorate Alfred Richard Barclay 514 Harry Bedford
Dunedin South New electorate James Arnold 780 William Downie Stewart
Eden John Bollard 2,760Robert French
Egmont William Thomas Jennings 651Charles Leech
Ellesmere Heaton Rhodes 283George Rennie
Franklin William Massey 935 William Wilson McCardle
Geraldine Frederick Flatman 1,233William Jeffries
Grey Arthur Guinness 377 Joseph Petrie
Grey Lynn George Fowlds 230John Farrell
Hawera Charles E. Major 449 Felix McGuire
Hawke's Bay William Russell Alfred Dillon 1,043 William Russell
Hurunui Andrew Rutherford 1,186Obed Frederick Clothier
Hutt Thomas Wilford 1,912George Yerex
Invercargill Josiah Hanan 1,721Irvin Willis Raymond
Kaiapoi David Buddo 45 Richard Moore
Kaipara Alfred Harding John Stallworthy 9 Alfred Harding
Lyttelton George Laurenson 1,108William Radcliffe
Manawatu Job Vile John Stevens 359 Job Vile
Manukau Matthew Kirkbride 663Ralph Duncan Stewart
Marsden Francis Mander 348 Robert Thompson
Masterton Alexander Hogg 859James Christopher Cooper
Mataura Robert McNab 435 Thomas MacGibbon
Motueka Roderick McKenzie 2,733 Frank Isitt
Mount Ida Alexander Herdman John MacPherson 394 Alexander Herdman
Napier Alfred Fraser 1,469Montague W. P. Lascelles [10] [11]
Nelson John Graham 29 Harry Atmore
Newtown William Henry Peter Barber 1,213 Thomas William Hislop
Oamaru Thomas Young Duncan 2,009James Mitchell
Ohinemuri Edward Moss Hugh Poland 351 Edward Moss
Oroua Frank Lethbridge 986Owen Carlin Pleasants
Otaki William Hughes Field 1,394Byron Paul Brown
Pahiatua Bill Hawkins Robert Beatson Ross 206 Bill Hawkins
Palmerston William Wood 480 Frederick Pirani
Parnell Frank Lawry 122Murdoch McLean
Patea Walter Symes 143 John Hine
Rangitikei Arthur Remington 1,710Joe Reginald Sommerville
Riccarton George Witty 1,240Thomas Caverhill
Selwyn Charles Hardy 322 Joseph Ivess
Taieri Donald Reid 535Alexander Marshall
Taranaki Edward Smith 236 Henry Okey
Thames James McGowan 1,229Malcolm Fleming
Timaru William Hall-Jones 1,063 Frank Rolleston
Tuapeka James Bennet 977Robert Gilkison
Waiapu James Carroll 1,798Lissant Clayton
Waikato Frederic Lang Henry Greenslade 78 Frederic Lang
Waikouaiti Thomas Mackenzie 702 Edward Henry Clark
Waipawa Charles Hall 1,254 George Hunter
Wairarapa Walter Clarke Buchanan J. T. Marryat Hornsby 531 Walter Clarke Buchanan
Wairau Charles H. Mills 977 John Duncan
Waitaki William Steward 1,643 George Dash
Waitemata Ewen Alison 971 Cecil Clinkard
Wakatipu William Fraser 423 Michael Gilfedder
Wallace John Charles Thomson 461Dugald Macpherson
Wanganui Archibald Willis James Thomas Hogan 924 Archibald Willis
Wellington Central New electorate Francis Fisher 445 Patrick O'Regan
Wellington East New electorate John Aitken 19 William McLean
Wellington North New electorate Charles Hayward Izard 660 John Duthie
Westland Richard Seddon 3,180Harry Cowin
Māori electorates
Eastern Maori Wi Pere Āpirana Ngata 757 Wi Pere
Northern Maori Hone Heke 627Ru Reweti
Southern Maori Tame Parata 160 Hopere Uru
Western Maori Henare Kaihau 1,688 Tureiti Te Heuheu Tukino V


  1. "New Zealand Elections 1905–1943". NZES. Retrieved 13 August 2011.
  2. "General elections 1853–2005 – dates & turnout". Elections New Zealand. Archived from the original on 14 November 2014. Retrieved 12 January 2011.
  3. "Results of the Polls". Ashburton Guardian . 7 December 1905. p. 2. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  4. McRobie 1989, p. 67.
  5. Wilson 1985, pp. 262, 276.
  6. Paul 1946, p. 176.
  7. Wilson 1985, pp. 287–289.
  8. "The General Election, 1905". National Library. 1906. pp. 1–6. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  9. "The Nominations". Vol. XXXVIII, no. 284. Marlborough Express. 29 November 1905. p. 3. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  10. "Personal Matters". The Evening Post . Vol. LXX, no. 61. 9 September 1905. p. 5. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  11. "Deaths". The Evening Post . Vol. CXXVIII, no. 72. 22 September 1939. p. 1. Retrieved 10 October 2015.

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