All 80 seats in the New Zealand Parliament
41 seats were needed for a majority
The 1946 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of the New Zealand Parliament's 28th term. It saw the governing Labour Party re-elected, but by a substantially narrower margin than in the three previous elections. The National Party continued its gradual rise.
The Labour Party had been in government since winning the 1935 elections, and had been re-elected twice. However, the National Party had managed to overcome the internal problems which had once troubled it, and now presented a credible threat to Labour. National's leader, Sidney Holland, was proving more effective than his predecessor, while the Prime Minister, Peter Fraser, was weary and in poor health. The after-effects of World War II, including ongoing shortages, were affecting the government's popularity.
The next New Zealand census was scheduled for 1946, but having had to postpone the 1941 census due to WWII, the government brought it forward. The 1945 census was held on Tuesday, 25 September, so that the results could be used for the 1946 electoral redistribution prior to the planned 1946 election.In August 1945, there was a first hint that the government considered abolishing the country quota through the Electoral Amendment Act, 1945. The amendment bill was introduced on 18 October 1845 and proposed the complete abolition of the country quota and that electorates be based on adult, as opposed to total, population. The Electoral Amendment Act, 1945 was given royal assent on 12 November and it reduced the number and increased the size of rural electorates. None of the existing electorates remained unchanged, 26 electorates were abolished, 19 electorates were created for the first time, and six former electorates were re-established. The 1946 electoral redistribution had to take ten years of population growth and movements into account. The North Island gained a further two electorates from the South Island due to faster population growth.
The election should have been held earlier. The 27th parliament "forgot to mark the calendar, forgot the previous election had been earlier than usual and accidentally ran for two extra months".
The date for the main 1946 elections was 27 November, a Wednesday. Elections to the four Māori electorates were held the day before. 1,081,898 people were registered to vote, and there was a turnout of 93.5%. This turnout was the highest ever recorded at this point. The number of seats being contested was 80, a number which had been fixed since 1902.
The 1946 election saw the governing Labour Party retain office by a four-seat margin, winning forty-two seats to the National Party's thirty-eight. In the popular vote — Labour won 51.3% and National won 48.4%. The election was a straight fight between the two main parties (unlike the 1943 election), and only 8 of the 76 European electorates had more than two candidates. The Democratic Labour Party did not take part, and National absorbed many of the miscellaneous candidates and splinter movements. The European electorates divided equally and the Maori seats decided the issue.
No other parties won any significant share of the vote, and no independents were elected — only 0.3% of voters did not support one of the two major parties. After Harry Atmore of Nelson died, no candidate who was not from the two main parties managed to enter Parliament until the 1966 elections, when the Social Credit Party won its first seat.
|Party||Candidates||Total votes||Percentage||Seats won||Change|
The table below shows the results of the 1946 general election:
Labour National Independent
|Arch Hill||New electorate||Bill Parry||6,585||Edward James Clark|
|Ashburton||New electorate||Geoff Gerard||1,453||Mabel Newlands|
|Auckland Central||Bill Parry||Bill Anderton||3,478||Leon Götz|
|Avon||Dan Sullivan||5,180||Robert Alexander McDowell|
|Awarua||George Richard Herron||2,588||Gilbert Gregory Mitchell|
|Bay of Plenty||Bill Sullivan||1,634||Ray Boord|
|Brooklyn||New electorate||Peter Fraser||3,935||Stewart Hardy|
|Buller||Paddy Webb||Jerry Skinner||2,912||Phil McDonald|
|Central Otago||William Bodkin||2,909||Claude Charles Capell|
|Christchurch Central||New electorate||Robert Macfarlane||4,420||Alan J. Wills|
|Clutha||James Roy||2,140||John Patrick Thompson|
|Dunedin Central||Peter Neilson||Phil Connolly||2,000||Stuart Sidey|
|Dunedin North||Robert Walls||1,630||Norman Jones|
|Eden||Bill Anderton||Wilfred Fortune||1,281||Warren Freer|
|Egmont||Ernest Corbett||3,398||Clarence Robert Parker|
|Fendalton||New electorate||Sidney Holland||3,004||Alan Williams|
|Franklin||Jack Massey||4,023||Alex Gunn|
|Gisborne||David Coleman||2,015||Harry Barker|
|Grey Lynn||Fred Hackett||5,910||Harold Stapleton Barry|
|Hamilton||Hilda Ross||327||John Granville|
|Hastings||New electorate||Ted Cullen||483||Eric Pryor|
|Hauraki||Andrew Sutherland||2,891||John William Neate|
|Hawke's Bay||Ted Cullen||Cyril Harker||2,014||Henry Edward Beattie|
|Hobson||New electorate||Sidney Walter Smith||3,580||Hubert Knox Hatrick|
|Hurunui||William Gillespie||1,440||John Mathison|
|Hutt||Walter Nash||2,587||Jim Vogel|
|Invercargill||William Denham||Ralph Hanan||224||William Denham|
|Island Bay||New electorate||Robert McKeen||3,958||Herbert Edward Childs|
|Karori||New electorate||Charles Bowden||2,042||Patrick Connolly McGavin|
|Lyttelton||Terry McCombs||1,543||Ted Taylor|
|Manawatu||Matthew Oram||2,467||Phil Holloway|
|Marlborough||Ted Meachen||Tom Shand||179||Ted Meachen|
|Marsden||Alfred Murdoch||2,149||John Stewart|
|Miramar||New electorate||Bob Semple||2,482||Leonard Theodor Jacobsen|
|Mornington||New electorate||Wally Hudson||4,681||Lewis Donald McIver|
|Mount Albert||New electorate||Arthur Shapton Richards||1,857||Frederick Ashley Hosking|
|Mount Victoria||New electorate||Jack Marshall||911||Eugene Casey|
|Napier||Tommy Armstrong||1,845||Alan John Price|
|Nelson||vacant||Edgar Neale||585||Cyril Harold Goodman|
|New Plymouth||Ernest Aderman||405||George Nimmo|
|North Shore||New electorate||Martyn Finlay||249||Henry Thorne Morton|
|Oamaru||Arnold Nordmeyer||232||Thomas Ross Beatty|
|Onehunga||Arthur Osborne||3,424||William Kenneth King|
|Onslow||New electorate||Harry Combs||1,578||Philip Patrick Lynch|
|Otahuhu||Charles Robert Petrie||220||Albert Murdoch|
|Otaki||Leonard Lowry||Jimmy Maher||44||Jim Thorn|
|Pahiatua||Keith Holyoake||3,697||Otto Ernest Niederer|
|Palmerston North||Joe Hodgens||Ormond Wilson||928||Gus Mansford|
|Parnell||New electorate||Duncan Rae||206||Bill Schramm|
|Patea||William Sheat||870||Richard John O'Dea|
|Petone||New electorate||Mick Moohan||4,019||George London|
|Piako||New electorate||Stan Goosman||5,101||Ben Waters|
|Ponsonby||New electorate||Ritchie Macdonald||3,431||Peter E Dempsey|
|Raglan||Hallyburton Johnstone||Alan Baxter||13||Hallyburton Johnstone|
|Rangitikei||Edward Gordon||2,307||John Capstick|
|Remuera||Ronald Algie||4,410||James Freeman|
|Riccarton||Jack Watts||Angus McLagan||3,875||Vic Wilson|
|Rodney||New electorate||Clifton Webb||2,850||Alex Dixon|
|Roskill||Arthur Shapton Richards||Frank Langstone||155||Roy McElroy|
|St Albans||New electorate||Jack Watts||86||Morgan Williams|
|St Kilda||New electorate||Fred Jones||1,248||Leonard James Tobin Ireland|
|Selwyn||New electorate||John McAlpine||472||Alan Sharp|
|Sydenham||New electorate||Mabel Howard||6,746||Ruric Hunter|
|Tamaki||New electorate||Tom Skinner||231||John George Concanon Wales|
|Tauranga||Frederick Doidge||2,704||Dudley Alexander Hill|
|Timaru||Clyde Carr||520||Jack Acland|
|Waikato||Stan Goosman||Geoffrey Sim||4,385||John Dwyer|
|Waimarino||Frank Langstone||Paddy Kearins||681||Norman Robert Hill|
|Waimate||New electorate||David Campbell Kidd||789||William Roy Davison|
|Wairarapa||Ben Roberts||Garnet Hercules Mackley||235||George Anders Hansen|
|Waitakere||New electorate||Rex Mason||2,797||Archibald Morrison Laing|
|Waitomo||Walter Broadfoot||3,951||Alan George Goldsmith|
|Wallace||Adam Hamilton||Tom Macdonald||3,716||David Johnston Munro|
|Wanganui||Joe Cotterill||1,934||Eric Merewether|
|Wellington Central||Peter Fraser||Charles Henry Chapman||1,680||Agnes Louisa Weston|
|Westland||James O'Brien||4,716||E Frank Chivers|
|Eastern Maori||Tiaki Omana||1,517||Āpirana Ngata|
|Northern Maori||Tapihana Paraire Paikea||2,555||James Henare|
|Southern Maori||Eruera Tirikatene||581||Vernon Ohaia Mason Thomas|
|Western Maori||Matiu Ratana||6,491||Hoeroa Marumaru|
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