All 87 seats in the New Zealand House of Representatives
44 seats were needed for a majority
The New Zealand general election of 1972 was held on 25 November to elect MPs to the 37th session of the New Zealand Parliament. The Labour Party, led by Norman Kirk, defeated the governing National Party.
The National Party had been in office since the 1960 election, when it had defeated the ruling Labour Party, led by Walter Nash. The Second Labour Government was the shortest-lasting of all New Zealand governments to that day; in contrast, the Second National Government, led for the majority of its tenure by Keith Holyoake, would be re-elected three times. National's policies were focused around stability and a "steady as she goes" approach, but Holyoake's Government was increasingly perceived as tired and worn-out. In February 1972, Holyoake stood aside and was replaced by his deputy, Jack Marshall, who took steps to reinvigorate the party.
Meanwhile, Norman Kirk had been at the helm of Labour since 1965. In this time, he had been modernising and updating the Labour Party, but narrowly lost the 1969 election. Kirk slimmed and dressed to improve his image, and visited several overseas Labour parties to broaden his knowledge. He activated a "spokesman" or shadow cabinet system to spread the responsibility, but it was difficult to avoid one composed largely of Auckland and Christchurch members. Despite the improvements, commentators speculated whether National would pull off another cliffhanger victory. Economic recession and voter fatigue had hurt National at the polls. Labour's slogan was "It's Time – Time for a change, time for Labour", which expertly captured the national mood.
Since the 1969 election, the number of electorates in the South Island was fixed at 25, with continued faster population growth in the North Island leading to an increase in the number of general electorates. Including the four Māori electorates, there had been 80 electorates since the 1902 election.This increased to 84 electorates through the 1969 election. The 1972 electoral redistribution saw three additional general seats created for the North Island, bringing the total number of electorates to 87.
Together with increased urbanisation in Christchurch and Nelson, the changes proved very disruptive to existing electorates. Only two South Island electorates were not altered by the redistribution (Clutha and Lyttelton).Only eight of the North Island electorates were not altered (Franklin, Gisborne, Hobson, Island Bay, Miramar, North Shore, Tamaki, and Wairarapa).
In the South Island, three electorates were abolished (Buller, Westland, and Selwyn), and three electorates were newly created (Rakaia, Tasman, and West Coast).In the North Island, five electorates were abolished (Hauraki, Marsden, Otaki, Waimarino, and Waitomo), two electorates were recreated (Coromandel and Otahuhu), and six electorates were newly created (East Coast Bays, Hamilton East, Kapiti, King Country, Ruahine, and Whangarei).
The date for the 1972 elections was 25 November, a Saturday. 1,583,256 people were registered to vote. There was a turnout of 89.1%, slightly higher than the previous election and considerably higher than the following one. The number of electorates being contested was 87.
The 1972 election saw the Labour Party defeat the governing National Party, winning 55 seats to National's 32. Labour was therefore able to form its first government since 1960, with Norman Kirk becoming Prime Minister. The second National government thus gave way to the third Labour government. No minor parties managed to gain seats, and no independents were elected. There were 1,583,256 electors on the roll, with 1,401,152 (88.50%) voting.
|Party||Candidates||Total votes||Percentage||Seats won||Change|
The table below shows the results of the 1972 general election:
National Labour Social Credit Independent
|Auckland Central||Norman Douglas||2,009||Clive Edwards|
|Avon||John Mathison||Mary Batchelor||6,055||Gordon Thomas|
|Awarua||Hugh Templeton||Aubrey Begg||723||Hugh Templeton|
|Bay of Plenty||Percy Allen||2,189||G B Mead|
|Birkenhead||Norman King||1,533||Don McKinnon|
|Christchurch Central||Bruce Barclay||5,103||Barbara Beaven|
|Clutha||Peter Gordon||2,131||Les McKay|
|Coromandel||New electorate||Leo Schultz||2,181||Mrs A Murphy|
|Dunedin Central||Brian MacDonell||3,771||Fred O'Neill|
|Dunedin North||Ethel McMillan||4,020||John Wallis|
|East Coast Bays||New electorate||Frank Gill||979||B T Pauling|
|Eden||John Rae||Mike Moore||788||Mary Kidd|
|Egmont||Venn Young||2,928||R L Peck|
|Franklin||Alfred E. Allen||Bill Birch||4,188||Geoff Braybrooke|
|Gisborne||Esme Tombleson||Trevor Davey||488||Esme Tombleson|
|Grey Lynn||Eddie Isbey||5,487||Jens Meder|
|Hamilton East||New electorate||Rufus Rogers||397||Ross Jansen|
|Hamilton West||Leslie Munro||Dorothy Jelicich||544||Derek Heather|
|Hastings||Duncan MacIntyre||Richard Mayson||1,148||Duncan MacIntyre|
|Hawkes Bay||Richard Harrison||600||David Butcher|
|Henderson||Martyn Finlay||4,221||Ross C. MacFarlane|
|Heretaunga||Ron Bailey||2,964||John Schnellenberg|
|Hobson||Logan Sloane||1,148||Howard Manning|
|Hutt||Trevor Young||3,397||Michael Fowler|
|Invercargill||John Chewings||J. B. Munro||765||John Chewings|
|Island Bay||Gerald O'Brien||3,495||Bruce Farland|
|Kapiti||New electorate||Frank O'Flynn||706||Barry Brill|
|Karori||Jack Marshall||4,408||Adam Floyd|
|King Country||New electorate||Jim Bolger||1,240||Brent Clifton Sakey|
|Lyttelton||Tom McGuigan||3,235||John Blumsky|
|Manawatu||Les Gandar||Allan McCready||427||Mervyn Hancock|
|Mangere||Colin Moyle||3,939||Stanley Lawson|
|Manukau||Roger Douglas||2,844||R O Price|
|Manurewa||Phil Amos||2,397||Pat Baker|
|Marlborough||Ian Brooks||1,290||Bruno Dalliessi|
|Miramar||Bill Young||434||Brian Edwards|
|Mt Albert||Warren Freer||3,980||John Malcolm|
|Napier||Gordon Christie||3,725||Merle Bell|
|Nelson||Stanley Whitehead||1,933||Ian McWhannell|
|New Lynn||Jonathan Hunt||4,312||G D McDermott|
|New Plymouth||Ron Barclay||1,296||Terry Boon|
|North Shore||George Gair||2,821||Colin Chiles|
|Oamaru||Allan Dick||Bill Laney||390||Allan Dick|
|Onehunga||Hugh Watt||4,835||Peter Blakeborough|
|Otago Central||Murray Rose||Ian Quigley||1,483||Murray Rose|
|Otahuhu||New electorate||Bob Tizard||6,403||D C Brooker|
|Pahiatua||Keith Holyoake||4,359||L J Cairns|
|Pakuranga||Bob Tizard||Gavin Downie||1,802||J B Irwin|
|Palmerston North||Joe Walding||1,766||Paul William Mitchell|
|Papanui||Bert Walker||1,734||Mollie Clark|
|Petone||Fraser Colman||5,340||N G Ursin|
|Piako||Jack Luxton||4,472||I L Howell|
|Porirua||Gerry Wall||4,399||Ross Doughty|
|Raglan||Douglas Carter||1,350||Allan John Smith|
|Rakaia||New electorate||Colin McLachlan||2,133||Alex Clark|
|Rangiora||Herbert Pickering||Kerry Burke||866||Adrian Hiatt|
|Rangitikei||Norman Shelton||Roy Jack||3,037||N R Pearce|
|Remuera||Allan Highet||6,118||Rex Stanton|
|Riccarton||Eric Holland||2,164||David Jackson|
|Rodney||Peter Wilkinson||4,507||P W Trim|
|Roskill||Arthur Faulkner||4,439||John Maurice Priestley|
|Rotorua||Harry Lapwood||786||N F Pachoud|
|Ruahine||New electorate||Les Gandar||552||Taylor Samuel Mihaere|
|St Albans||Roger Drayton||3,066||R T Doak|
|St Kilda||Bill Fraser||5,615||Charles Kirby|
|South Canterbury||Rob Talbot||2,035||David Braithwaite|
|Stratford||David Thomson||3,068||D G Turney|
|Sydenham||Norman Kirk||6,986||J F Burn|
|Tamaki||Robert Muldoon||4,590||Allan Henry Hedger|
|Tasman||New electorate||Bill Rowling||1,834||Gerald Hunt|
|Taupo||Rona Stevenson||Jack Ridley||783||J F Higgins|
|Tauranga||George Walsh||Keith Allen||2,215||Henry Uttinger|
|Timaru||Basil Arthur||3,954||Dave Walker|
|Waikato||Lance Adams-Schneider||4,208||Bob Reese|
|Wairarapa||Jack Williams||1,086||Ben Couch|
|Waitemata||Frank Gill||Michael Bassett||2,544||Ray La Varis|
|Wallace||Brian Talboys||2,904||Ian Lamont|
|Wanganui||Bill Tolhurst||Russell Marshall||2,879||Bill Tolhurst|
|Wellington Central||Dan Riddiford||Ken Comber||27||David Shand|
|West Coast||New electorate||Paddy Blanchfield||4,242||Barry Dallas|
|Western Hutt||Henry May||2,392||Julian Watts|
|Whangarei||New electorate||Murray Smith||1,180||L G Carr|
|Wigram||Mick Connelly||5,255||D G Cox|
|Eastern Maori||Paraone Reweti||6,190||Koro Dewes|
|Northern Maori||Matiu Rata||5,260||Graham Latimer|
|Southern Maori||Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan||8,251||Kate Parahi|
|Western Maori||Koro Wētere||8,686||R Te A H Rawiri|
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