All 80 seats in the New Zealand Parliament
41 seats were needed for a majority
Results of the election.
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 after defeating the governing coalition, consisting of the United Party and the Reform Party, in a landslide.
The governing coalition lost 31 seats, which was attributed by many to their handling of the Great Depression: the year after the election, the United and Reform parties merged to form the modern National Party.
The election was originally scheduled to be held in 1934, in keeping with the country's three-year election cycle, but the governing coalition postponed the election by one year hoping that the 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 Dominion , a Wellington newspaper, printed anti-Labour advertisements and editorials.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 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:
Independent United Reform United/Reform Democrat Ratana Country PartyLabour
|Auckland Central||Bill Parry||5,301||Clifford Reid Dodd|
|Auckland East||Bill 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||Clive 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||Herbert Kerr Edie|
|Chalmers||Alfred Ansell||Archie 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||Jim 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 Coleman||1,817||Douglas Lysnar|
|Grey Lynn||John A. Lee||8,012||George Wildish|
|Hamilton||Alexander Young||Charles Barrell||1,391||Alexander Young|
|Hauraki General||Walter William Massey||Charles Robert Petrie||544||Walter William Massey|
|Hawke's Bay||Hugh Campbell||Ted 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||William Grounds|
|Lyttelton||Terry McCombs||2,775||Seton Fulton Marshall|
|Manawatu||Joseph Linklater||Lorrie Hunter||60||Joseph Linklater|
|Manukau||Bill Jordan||6,402||Herbert Jenner Wily|
|Marsden||Alfred Murdoch||Jim 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||Fred 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||Gus Mansford|
|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||Bert 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 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||Cecil Boles|
|Waipawa||Albert Jull||Max Christie||259||Albert Jull|
|Waikato||Frederick Lye||Robert Coulter||784||Frederick Lye|
|Wairarapa||Alexander McLeod||Ben Roberts||33||John Wiltshire Card|
|Wairau||Edward Healy||Ted 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||Lawrence Edmond|
|Wanganui||Bill Veitch||Joe Cotterill||1,569||Bill Veitch|
|Wellington Central||Peter Fraser||4,479||Will Mason|
|Wellington East||Bob Semple||3,323||Ossie Mazengarb|
|Wellington North||Charles Chapman||794||Elizabeth Gilmer|
|Wellington South||Robert McKeen||6,059||Henry Featherston Toogood|
|Wellington Suburbs||Robert 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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