All 95 seats in the New Zealand House of Representatives
48 seats needed for a majority
Results of the election.
The 1984 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of the 41st New Zealand Parliament. It marked the beginning of the Fourth Labour Government, with David Lange's Labour Party defeating the long-serving Prime Minister, Robert Muldoon, of the National Party. It was also the last election in which the Social Credit Party won seats as an independent entity. The election was also the only one in which the New Zealand Party, a protest party, played any substantial role.
Before the election, the National Party governed with 47 seats, a small majority. The opposition Labour Party held 43 seats, and the Social Credit Party held two. Although National theoretically commanded a two-seat lead over the other parties, dissent within the National caucus (particularly by Marilyn Waring and Mike Minogue) resulted in serious problems for National leader Robert Muldoon. Muldoon felt that he could no longer maintain a majority until the end of the sitting year.
The 1984 election was called when Marilyn Waring told Muldoon that she would not support his government in the vote over an opposition-sponsored anti-nuclear bill. Muldoon, visibly drunk,announced a snap election on national television on the night of 14 June. It is believed that Muldoon's behaviour was also the result of a number of personal factors, including, not least, tiredness and frustration, but alcohol and diabetes also, issues that had been plaguing him for some time.
There is debate over whether the election was necessary — Waring had not threatened to block confidence and supply, meaning that the government could still have continued on even if it had lost the anti-nuclear vote. Nevertheless, Muldoon appears to have wanted an election to reinforce his mandate (just as Sidney Holland sought and won a mandate to oppose striking dock-workers with the 1951 snap election).
Muldoon's government, which had been growing increasingly unpopular in its third term, was seen as rigid, inflexible, and increasingly unresponsive to public concerns. The Labour Party had actually gained a plurality of the vote in the previous two elections, but had narrowly missed out on getting a majority of the seats. Labour's primary campaign message was one of change — Muldoon's government, which employed wage and price controls in an attempt to "guide" the economy, was widely blamed for poor economic performance. Labour also campaigned to reduce government borrowing, and to enact nuclear-free policy.
The New Zealand Party, founded by property tycoon Bob Jones, was launched primarily to oppose the Muldoon government (although it did not support Labour). A right-wing liberal party, it promoted less government control over markets, in contrast to the paternalist and somewhat authoritarian policies of National, the other significant right-wing party.
The 1983 electoral redistribution was even more politically influenced than the previous one in 1977. The Labour Party believed it had been disadvantaged in 1977 and it was not to let this happen again. Every proposal was put to intense scrutiny, and this resulted in the electoral redistribution taking forty-one working days; the average length of the five previous redistributions was eight. As Social Credit had two MPs, the Labour Party nominee on the commission formally represented that party, which further increased tensions. The 1981 census had shown that the North Island had experienced further population growth, and three additional general seats were created, bringing the total number of electorates to 95.The South Island had, for the first time, experienced a population loss, but its number of general electorates was fixed at 25 since the 1967 electoral redistribution. More of the South Island population was moving to Christchurch, and two electorates were abolished (Dunedin Central and Papanui), while two electorates were recreated (Christchurch North and Dunedin West). In the North Island, six electorates were newly created (Glenfield, Otara, Panmure, Tongariro, Waikaremoana, and West Auckland), three electorates were recreated (Franklin, Raglan, and Rodney), and six electorates were abolished (Albany, Helensville, Hunua, Otahuhu, Rangiriri, and Taupo).
The election was held on 14 July. There were 2,111,651 registered voters. Turnout was 93.7%, the highest turnout ever recorded in a New Zealand election. Most political scientists attribute the high turnout to a desire by voters for change.
Immediately after the election there was a constitutional crisis when Muldoon initially refused to follow the advice of the incoming Labour government and devalue the New Zealand Dollar.
The 1984 election saw the Labour Party win 56 of the 95 seats in parliament, a gain of 13. This was enough for it to hold an outright majority and become the fourth Labour government. The National Party won only 37 seats, a loss of ten. The New Zealand Party, despite winning 12.2% of the vote, failed to gain any seats at all. Social Credit managed to win two seats, the same number as it had held previously. The Values Party, an environmentalist group, gained fifth place, but no seats.
There were 95 seats being contested in the 1984 election, three more than in the previous parliament. All but two of these seats were won by one of the two major parties.
The Labour Party, previously in opposition, won 56 seats, an outright majority. Most of the seats won by Labour were in urban areas, following the party's typical pattern. Exceptions to this general trend include the eastern tip of the North Island and the western coast of the South Island. Labour's strongest regions were the Wellington area (where the party won every seat), as well as Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin (cities in which it won most seats). Smaller cities such as Hamilton, Nelson, Napier, Hastings and Palmerston North were also won by Labour. As expected, Labour also won all four Māori seats, maintaining its traditional strength there.
The National Party, the incumbent government, was (as expected) strongest in rural areas. Most of the rural North Island was won by National, as were a most of the rural areas on the South Island's eastern coast. In the larger cities, the party fared poorly, with Auckland and Christchurch being the only places that the party won seats. It was more successful in smaller cities, however, winning Rotorua, Tauranga, Invercargill, New Plymouth and Whangarei. It was placed second in two Māori electorates, and third in the other two.
The only minor party to win electorates was the Social Credit Party, which won East Coast Bays and Pakuranga (both in Auckland). It had held East Coast Bays before the election, but won Pakuranga for the first time. It did not manage to retain Rangitikei, which it had also held before the election. Social Credit candidates were placed second in six electorates, including Rangitikei.
The New Zealand Party, despite gaining more votes than Social Credit, did not win any seats. Some commentators have suggested that the party was not seeking to do so, and instead was merely acting as a spoiler for National. This impression has been backed up by comments by Bob Jones himself. The party was, however, placed second in the electorates of Remuera (an affluent part of Auckland), Kaimai (a region in the Bay of Plenty), and Tauranga.
The Values Party, an environmentalist group, managed to win 0.2% of the vote, substantially below previous efforts. The party, which was in slow decline, would eventually vanish, but its ideals and goals would be reborn in the Green Party.
In two of the Māori electorates, the Mana Motuhake party gained second place, but the party did not gain a substantial number of votes elsewhere.
No independent candidates won seats, but one independent candidate, Mel Courtney, was placed second in the electorate of Nelson.
|Count||Of total (%)|
The tables below shows the results of the 1984 general election:
|Social Credit||Mana Motuhake||Independent|
|Ashburton||Rob Talbot||472||G Stone|
|Auckland Central||Richard Prebble||8,876||Maureen Eardley-Wilmot|
|Avon||Mary Batchelor||7,771||Andrew Cowie|
|Awarua||Rex Austin||384||Bruce Raitt|
|Bay of Islands||Neill Austin||3,298||Les Hunter|
|Birkenhead||Jim McLay||1,717||John Course|
|Christchurch Central||Geoffrey Palmer||8,508||Tony Willy|
|Christchurch North||New electorate||Mike Moore||5,728||David Dumergue|
|Clutha||Robin Gray||4,522||M J Sheppard|
|Dunedin North||Stan Rodger||5,129||Barbara Henderson|
|Dunedin West||New electorate||Clive Matthewson||6,011||Derek Russell|
|East Cape||Duncan MacIntyre||Anne Fraser||755||Robyn J. Leeming|
|East Coast Bays||Gary Knapp||2,020||Murray McCully|
|Eastern Hutt||Trevor Young||6,005||Joy McLauchlan|
|Eden||Aussie Malcolm||Richard Northey||2,306||Aussie Malcolm|
|Fendalton||Philip Burdon||1,457||Murray Dobson|
|Franklin||New electorate||Bill Birch||5,210||Roy Haywood|
|Glenfield||New electorate||Judy Keall||809||David Schnauer|
|Gisborne||Bob Bell||Allan Wallbank||1,100||Bob Bell|
|Hamilton East||Ian Shearer||Bill Dillon||2,168||Ian Shearer|
|Hamilton West||Mike Minogue||Trevor Mallard||809||Mike Minogue|
|Hastings||David Butcher||4,273||P D Brown|
|Hauraki||Graeme Lee||3,432||Alisdair Thompson|
|Hawkes Bay||Richard Harrison||Bill Sutton||974||Richard Harrison|
|Heretaunga||Bill Jeffries||4,537||Anna MacFarlane|
|Horowhenua||Geoff Thompson||Annette King||447||Geoff Thompson|
|Invercargill||Norman Jones||1,279||David Soper|
|Island Bay||Frank O'Flynn||6,007||John Kananghinis|
|Kaimai||Bruce Townshend||3,696||Leslie Dickson|
|Kaipara||Peter Ian Wilkinson||Lockwood Smith||5,564||Bill Campbell|
|Kapiti||Margaret Shields||4,514||June Oakley|
|King Country||Jim Bolger||5,617||J E Simons|
|Lyttelton||Ann Hercus||4,963||D G Graham|
|Manawatu||Michael Cox||420||Dave Alton|
|Mangere||David Lange||8,375||Peter Saunders|
|Manurewa||Roger Douglas||4,933||Stuart Leenstra|
|Marlborough||Doug Kidd||612||G MacDonald|
|Matamata||Jack Luxton||5,785||Ross Clow|
|Miramar||Peter Neilsen||3,499||Don Crosbie|
|Mt Albert||Helen Clark||6,207||Rod Cavanagh|
|Napier||Geoff Braybrooke||6,399||M P Liddell|
|Nelson||Philip Woollaston||3,459||Mel Courtney|
|New Lynn||Jonathan Hunt||6,340||Ron Hanson|
|New Plymouth||Tony Friedlander||269||Ida Gaskin|
|North Shore||George Gair||3,710||Peter Harris|
|Ohariu||Hugh Templeton||Peter Dunne||1,371||Hugh Templeton|
|Onehunga||Fred Gerbic||4,508||Carol Freeman|
|Otago||Warren Cooper||1,375||David Polson|
|Otara||New electorate||Colin Moyle||6,519||Taua Michael Tafua|
|Pahiatua||John Falloon||5,478||Malcolm Brazendale|
|Pakuranga||Pat Hunt||Neil Morrison||172||Pat Hunt|
|Palmerston North||Trevor de Cleene||3,033||C G Singleton|
|Panmure||New electorate||Bob Tizard||5,979||Carolyn Tedesco|
|Papakura||Merv Wellington||1,447||D L John|
|Papatoetoe||Eddie Isbey||2,996||Peter O'Brien|
|Pencarrow||Fraser Colman||5,418||Barry Cranston|
|Porirua||Gerry Wall||5,418||A L Gadsby|
|Raglan||New electorate||Simon Upton||1,976||L Holmes|
|Rangiora||Derek Quigley||Jim Gerard||346||B C Tomlinson|
|Rangitikei||Bruce Beetham||Denis Marshall||5,799||Bruce Beetham|
|Remuera||Allan Highet||Doug Graham||3,483||Kenneth Sandford|
|Rodney||New electorate||Don McKinnon||3,876||Brian Dent|
|Roskill||Phil Goff||4,208||Chris Knowles|
|Rotorua||Paul East||811||Brian Arps|
|St Albans||David Caygill||6,172||Ian Wilson|
|St Kilda||Michael Cullen||5,594||Stewart Clark|
|Selwyn||Ruth Richardson||3,829||C E Manning|
|Sydenham||John Kirk||Jim Anderton||7,255||Ernest Lascelles Bonisch|
|Tamaki||Robert Muldoon||3,758||Robin Tulloch|
|Taranaki||David Thomson||Roger Maxwell||6,013||G N Waters|
|Tarawera||Ian McLean||3,377||Malcolm Moore|
|Tasman||Bill Rowling||Ken Shirley||1,854||Gerald Hunt|
|Tauranga||Keith Allen||Winston Peters||4,912||David Parlour|
|Te Atatu||Michael Bassett||4,991||F W G Diment|
|Timaru||Basil Arthur||2,219||Maurice McTigue|
|Tongariro||New electorate||Noel Scott||3,870||Nelson Rangi|
|Waikaremoana||New electorate||Roger McClay||1,737||John Harré|
|Waikato||Simon Upton||Rob Storey||1,658||Peter Cleave|
|Waipa||Marilyn Waring||Katherine O'Regan||5,667||A H Allen|
|Wairarapa||Ben Couch||Reg Boorman||394||Ben Couch|
|Waitakere||Ralph Maxwell||4,474||John McIntosh|
|Waitaki||Jonathan Elworthy||Jim Sutton||561||Jonathan Elworthy|
|Waitotara||Venn Young||3,314||Stuart Perry|
|Wallace||Derek Angus||5,663||Calvin Fisher|
|Wanganui||Russell Marshall||3,918||Terry Heffernan|
|Wellington Central||Fran Wilde||4,116||Rosemary Young-Rouse|
|West Auckland||New electorate||Jack Elder||2,229||Dail Jones|
|West Coast||Kerry Burke||4,293||J W Bateman|
|Western Hutt||John Terris||4,348||John Tanner|
|Whangarei||John Banks||2,003||Barbara Magner|
|Yaldhurst||Mick Connelly||Margaret Austin||2,970||H Joseph|
|Eastern Maori||Peter Tapsell||11,230||B R Kiwara|
|Northern Maori||Bruce Gregory||7,688||Matiu Rata|
|Southern Maori||Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan||10,495||Amster Reedy|
|Western Maori||Koro Wētere||10,110||Bill Katene|
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