All 80 seats in the New Zealand Parliament
41 seats were needed for a majority
The 1935 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of the New Zealand Parliament's 25th term. It resulted in the Labour Party's first electoral victory, with Michael Joseph Savage becoming the first Labour Prime Minister. The governing coalition, consisting of the United Party and the Reform Party, suffered a major defeat, attributed by many to their handling of the Great Depression. The year after the election, United and Reform took their coalition further, merging to form the modern National Party.
The New Zealand Parliament is the legislature of New Zealand, consisting of the Queen of New Zealand (Queen-in-Parliament) and the New Zealand House of Representatives. The Queen is usually represented by a governor-general. Before 1951, there was an upper chamber, the New Zealand Legislative Council. The Parliament was established in 1854 and is one of the oldest continuously functioning legislatures in the world.
The 25th New Zealand Parliament was a term of the New Zealand Parliament. It opened on 25 March 1936, following the 1935 election. It was dissolved on 16 September 1938 in preparation for the 1938 election.
The New Zealand Labour Party, or simply Labour, is a centre-left political party in New Zealand. The party's platform programme describes its founding principle as democratic socialism, while observers describe Labour as social-democratic and pragmatic in practice. It is a participant of the international Progressive Alliance.
The election was originally scheduled to be held in 1934, in keeping with the country's three year election cycle. The governing coalition postponed the election by one year in the hope that the current economic conditions would improve by 1935.
Since 1931, New Zealand had been governed by a coalition of the United Party and the Reform Party, the United-Reform Coalition. United and Reform had traditionally been enemies – United was a revival of the old Liberal Party, a progressive party with a strong urban base, while Reform was a conservative party with a strong rural base. When the 1928 elections left United and Reform with an equal number of seats, United managed to obtain support from the growing Labour Party, but in 1931, the worsening depression prompted a dispute over economic policy, and Labour withdrew its backing. Reform then agreed to go into coalition with United, fearing that an election would lead to significant gains for the "socialistic" Labour. The coalition held on to power in the 1931 elections, but the ongoing economic troubles made the government deeply unpopular, and by the time of the 1935 elections, Labour's support was soaring.
The United Party of New Zealand, a party formed out of the remnants of the Liberal Party, formed a government between 1928 and 1935, and in 1936 merged with the Reform Party to establish the National Party.
The Reform Party, formally the New Zealand Political Reform League, was New Zealand's second major political party, having been founded as a conservative response to the original Liberal Party. It was in government between 1912 and 1928, and later formed a coalition with the United Party, and then merged with United to form the modern National Party.
The New Zealand Liberal Party was the first organised political party in New Zealand. It governed from 1891 until 1912. The Liberal strategy was to create a large class of small land-owning farmers who supported Liberal ideals, by buying large tracts of Māori land and selling it to small farmers on credit. The Liberal Government also established the basis of the later welfare state, with old age pensions, developed a system for settling industrial disputes, which was accepted by both employers and trade unions. In 1893 it extended voting rights to women, making New Zealand the first country in the world to enact universal female suffrage.
On Sunday 24 November, shortly before the election, an address by Colin Scrimgeour ("Uncle Scrim") on the Friendly Road radio station, which was expected to urge listeners to vote Labour, was jammed by the Post Office.
The Reverend Colin Graham Scrimgeour, known as Uncle Scrim or Scrim was a New Zealand Methodist Minister and broadcaster.
The New Zealand Post Office (NZPO) was a government department of New Zealand until 1987. It was previously named the New Zealand Post and Telegraph Department.
The Dominion , a Wellington newspaper, printed anti-Labour advertisements and editorials.
The Dominion was a broadsheet metropolitan morning daily newspaper published in Wellington, New Zealand, from 1907 to 2002. It was first published on 26 September 1907, the day New Zealand achieved Dominion status. It merged with The Evening Post, Wellington's afternoon daily newspaper, to form The Dominion Post in 2002.
The number of electorates being contested was 80, a number which had been fixed since the 1902 Electoral Redistribution.
Four of those were Māori electorates, and those elections were held on 26 November.19 candidates contested the four available positions, and in three out of four cases, the incumbents were returned.
The election in the European electorates was held on the following day, a Wednesday.A total of 246 candidates contested the 76 European electorates, between two and six per electorate (Wellington East had six candidates, and there was a contest in all electorates), i.e. an average of 3.2 candidates per electorate. 919,798 people were registered to vote in European electorates (enrolment data for Māori electorates are only available since the 1954 election), and there was a turnout of 90.75%. This turnout was considerably higher than the turnout in the previous election (84.26%) and the highest turnout so far, but still about average for the next decades.
Elsie Andrews (1888–1948) was one of only three women who stood for election in this year.
The 1935 election saw a massive win for the opposition Labour Party, which won fifty-three seats, and formed the First Labour Government. The governing coalition won only nineteen, and three ministers were defeated (in Hamilton, Tauranga and Waitaki). This difference was not so great in the popular vote, however, with Labour winning 45.7% to the coalition's 33.5%. Labour was more fortunate than its British namesake in not attaining office before the depression (thanks to Seddon’s lengthy reign) "and so could hold the conservative coalition responsible if natural laws of economics behaved unnaturally".
Apart from Labour and the coalition, the only two groups to win places in Parliament were the Country Party and the Ratana movement, both of which won two seats.
Four independents were elected, Harry Atmore, David McDougall, Charles Wilkinson and Robert Wright. The independents were tactically supported by one of the major parties who did not stand a candidate against them, and they generally voted with that party; Wilkinson and Wright supported the coalition while Atmore and McDougall supported Labour. Labour also did not stand candidates against the two Country Party members.
Many commentators blamed the coalition's failure to win seats on vote splitting by the Democrat Party, an "anti-socialist" group founded by a former organiser for the governing coalition, Albert Davy, and headed by Thomas Hislop, the Mayor of Wellington. Perhaps as many as eight seats were an unexpected bonus to Labour because of the three-way split.The Democrats won 7.8% of the vote, but no seats.
Two future National MPs stood unsuccessfully: Frederick Doidge stood as an Independent for Rotorua and came second, and Matthew Oram stood for the Democrats in Manawatu and came fourth.
An analysis of men and women on the rolls against the votes recorded showed that in 1935 90.75% of those on the European rolls voted; men 92.02% and women 89.46%. In the 1938 election the figures were 92.85% with men 93.43% and women 92.27%. As the Māori electorates did not have electoral rolls they could not be included.
The following table shows the detailed results: Key
Labour Independent United Reform United/Reform Democrat Ratana Country Party
|Auckland Central||Bill Parry||5,301||Clifford Reid Dodd|
|Auckland East||Frederick Schramm||2,337||Harold Percy Burton|
|Auckland Suburbs||Rex Mason||4,896||William Alexander Bishop|
|Auckland West||Michael Joseph Savage||6,180||Ernest David Stallworthy|
|Avon||Dan Sullivan||5,410||Lancelot Charles Walker|
|Awarua||Philip De La Perrelle||James Hargest||950||Thomas Francis Doyle|
|Bay of Islands||Harold Rushworth||2,121||C Cameron|
|Bay of Plenty||vacant||Gordon Hultquist||555||John Tom Merry|
|Buller||Paddy Webb||4,499||John H Powell|
|Central Otago||William Bodkin||1,819||H K Edie|
|Chalmers||Alfred Ansell||Archibald Campbell||1,071||Alfred Ansell|
|Christchurch East||Tim Armstrong||5,728||Sydney Richardson|
|Christchurch North||Henry Holland||Sidney Holland||971||Robert Macfarlane|
|Christchurch South||Ted Howard||5,585||Tom Milliken|
|Clutha||Peter McSkimming||James Roy||1,930||Rev. Edwin Thoms Cox|
|Dunedin Central||Charles Statham||Peter Neilson||1,729||Donald Cameron|
|Dunedin North||James Wright Munro||1,668||Alexander Smith Falconer|
|Dunedin South||Fred Jones||3,378||Stuart Sidey|
|Dunedin West||William Downie Stewart||Gervan McMillan||945||William Downie Stewart|
|Eden||Arthur Stallworthy||Bill Anderton||2,465||Arthur Stallworthy|
|Egmont||Charles Wilkinson||3,172||James Ross|
|Franklin||Jack Massey||Arthur Sexton||685||Jack Massey|
|Gisborne||David William Coleman||1,817||Douglas Lysnar|
|Grey Lynn||John A. Lee||8,012||George Wildish|
|Hamilton||Alexander Young||Charles Barrell||1,391||Alexander Young|
|Hauraki||Walter William Massey||Charles Robert Petrie||544||Walter William Massey|
|Hawke's Bay||Hugh Campbell||Edward Cullen||1,010||Hugh Campbell|
|Hurunui||George Forbes||1,203||Donald Cyrus Davie|
|Hutt||Walter Nash||7,757||Victor Emmanuel Jacobson|
|Invercargill||James Hargest||William Denham||346||Gordon Reed|
|Kaiapoi||Richard Hawke||Morgan Williams||1,424||Richard Hawke|
|Kaipara||Gordon Coates||302||W Grounds|
|Lyttelton||Terry McCombs||2,775||Seton Fulton Marshall|
|Manawatu||Joseph Linklater||Clifford Hunter||60||Joseph Linklater|
|Manukau||Bill Jordan||6,402||Herbert Jenner Wily|
|Marsden||Alfred Murdoch||James Gillespie Barclay||347||Alfred Murdoch|
|Masterton||George Sykes||John Robertson||325||George Sykes|
|Mataura||David McDougall||1,658||Thomas Golden|
|Mid-Canterbury||vacant||Horace Herring||462||James Carr|
|Motueka||Keith Holyoake||280||Rubert York|
|Napier||Bill Barnard||4,057||F B Logan|
|Nelson||Harry Atmore||2,610||Herbert Everett|
|New Plymouth||Sydney George Smith||831||Frederick Frost|
|Oamaru||John Andrew MacPherson||Arnold Nordmeyer||1,142||John Andrew MacPherson|
|Oroua||John Cobbe||2,333||William Henry Oliver|
|Otaki||William Hughes Field||Leonard Lowry||1,720||G. A. Monk|
|Pahiatua||Alfred Ransom||1,175||R A Gower|
|Palmerston||Jimmy Nash||Joe Hodgens||115||Jimmy Nash|
|Parnell||Bill Endean||731||Arthur Osborne|
|Patea||Harold Dickie||649||W G Simpson|
|Raglan||Lee Martin||1,695||Stewart Reid|
|Rangitikei||Alexander Stuart||Ormond Wilson||907||Alexander Stuart|
|Riccarton||Herbert Kyle||1,139||G T Thurston|
|Roskill||Arthur Shapton Richards||4,023||Thomas James Fleming|
|Rotorua||Cecil Clinkard||Alexander Moncur||1,452||Frederick Doidge|
|Stratford||William Polson||339||Philip Skoglund|
|Tauranga||Charles MacMillan||Charles Harris Burnett||41||Charles MacMillan|
|Temuka||Thomas Burnett||605||Thomas Herbert Langford|
|Thames||Albert Samuel||Jim Thorn||1,262||Albert Samuel|
|Timaru||Clyde Carr||1,059||W Thomas|
|Waimarino||Frank Langstone||1,863||C A Boles|
|Waipawa||Albert Jull||Hubert Christie||259||Albert Jull|
|Waikato||Frederick Lye||Robert Coulter||784||Frederick Lye|
|Wairarapa||Alexander McLeod||Ben Roberts||33||John Wiltshire Card|
|Wairau||Edward Healy||Edwin Meachen||352||Edward Healy|
|Waitaki||John Bitchener||David Barnes||479||John Bitchener|
|Waitemata||Alexander Harris||Jack Lyon||2,684||Alexander Harris|
|Waitomo||Walter Broadfoot||1,526||Jack Jones|
|Wallace||Adam Hamilton||2,034||L S Edmund|
|Wanganui||Bill Veitch||Joseph Cotterill||1,569||Bill Veitch|
|Wellington Central||Peter Fraser||4,479||Will Mason|
|Wellington East||Bob Semple||3,323||Ossie Mazengarb|
|Wellington North||Charles Henry Chapman||794||Elizabeth Gilmer|
|Wellington South||Robert McKeen||6,059||Henry Featherston Toogood|
|Wellington Suburbs||Robert Alexander Wright||1,856||Peter Butler|
|Westland||James O'Brien||3,677||H R Young|
|Eastern Maori||Āpirana Ngata||3,224||Tiaki Omana|
|Northern Maori||Taurekareka Henare||983||Paraire Karaka Paikea|
|Southern Maori||Eruera Tirikatene||43||Thomas Kaiporohu Bragg|
|Western Maori||Taite Te Tomo||Toko Ratana||47||Taite Te Tomo|
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