Clutha (New Zealand electorate)

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Clutha was a New Zealand parliamentary electorate from 1866 to 1996.


Population centres

In the 1865 electoral redistribution, the House of Representatives focussed its review of electorates to South Island electorates only, as the Central Otago Gold Rush had caused significant population growth, and a redistribution of the existing population. Fifteen additional South Island electorates were created, including Clutha, and the number of Members of Parliament was increased by 13 to 70. [1]

This electorate covered South Otago and contained the settlements of Balclutha, Kaitangata, and Owaka. [2] It was later enlarged to include much of the Bruce electorate, Including the town of Milton.


The electorate was established in 1865 for the 1866 election. [3] The first representative was James Macandrew, who had served on all previous parliaments. [4] At the 1871 election, Macandrew successfully stood in the Port Chalmers, [4] and Clutha was won by James Thomson. [5] In the 1887 election, Thomson was defeated by Thomas Mackenzie. [6] Mackenzie retired from Parliament at the end of the third term for Clutha in 1996. [7]

The 1896 election was won by James Thomson, who thus started his second period of service. Thomson retired after three terms in 1905, and this was also the end of his political career. [5]

In the 1996 election, the first MMP election, the electorate was combined with the adjacent Wallace electorate into the Clutha-Southland electorate.

Members of Parliament

The electorate was represented by ten Members of Parliament: [3]


  Independent     Liberal     Conservative     Reform     National   

1866 election James Macandrew
1871 election James Thomson
1876 election
1879 election
1881 election
1884 election
1887 election Thomas Mackenzie
1890 election
1893 election
1896 election James Thomson
1899 election
1902 election
1905 election Alexander Malcolm
1908 election
1911 election
1914 election
1919 election
1922 election John Edie
1925 election Fred Waite
1928 election
1931 election Peter McSkimming
1935 election James Roy [nb 1]
1938 election
1943 election
1946 election
1949 election
1951 election
1954 election
1958 election [nb 2] [8]
1960 election Peter Gordon
1963 election
1966 election
1969 election
1972 election
1975 election
1978 election Robin Gray
1981 election
1984 election
1987 election
1990 election
1993 election
(Electorate abolished in 1996; see Clutha-Southland)
  1. James Roy was elected as an Independent supporting the United–Reform Coalition in 1935, and in 1936 he joined the National Party.
  2. Vote was postponed to 18 January 1958 as the original Labour candidate, Bruce Waters, died on 29 November 1957, one day before the election.

Election results

1958 supplementary election

1958 supplementary election: Clutha [8]
National James Roy 7,187 57.35 +9.09
Labour Joseph Fahey5,01540.02
Social Credit Colin Aberdeen3282.61-10.50
Turnout 12,53081.86-21.01
Registered electors 15,306

On 26 November 1957, Bruce Waters, the Labour candidate for Clutha was admitted to Balclutha Public Hospital after a car collision. As a result Waters was unable to engage in any further election campaigning. Due to this development the National and Social Credit candidates cancelled their remaining campaign meetings. [9] Waters died on 29 November causing the election to be delayed. [10] On December 4, after the general election, the outgoing Prime Minister (Keith Holyoake) and incoming Prime Minister (Walter Nash) agreed that the election for Clutha would be held on 18 January. [11] In the intervening time between when the election was scheduled for and the reassigned date one candidate withdrew, Harry Caldwell, who had previously intended to stand as an independent National candidate. [12] Labour selected Joseph Fahey, a farmer from Lawrence, as Waters' replacement to contest the seat on 20 December. [13] When the election was finally held, National candidate James Roy won by a margin of 2,172 votes. [8]

1931 election

1931 general election: Clutha [14]
Independent Peter McSkimming [nb 1] 4,751 59.60
Reform Fred Waite 3,22140.40-12.82
Informal votes1451.79
Turnout 8,11786.68-2.82
Registered electors 9,364
  1. McSkimming was affiliated with the United Party.

1928 election

1928 general election: Clutha [15]
Reform Fred Waite 4,318 53.22 +1.84
Liberal–Labour Joseph Stephens [16] 3,79546.78
Turnout 8,17589.50+6.92
Registered electors 9,134

1925 election

1925 general election: Clutha [17]
Reform Fred Waite 3,604 51.38
Liberal John Edie 2,09729.90
Labour John W Fenton1,31318.72

1899 election

1899 general election: Clutha [18] [19]
Conservative James William Thomson 1,809 48.55
Liberal Finlay McLeod1,31235.21
Independent Alexander Malcolm 60516.24
Turnout 3,72675.65
Registered electors 4,925

1893 election

1893 general election: Clutha [20] [21]
Liberal Thomas Mackenzie 1,971 63.38
Liberal James Burgh1,13936.62
Turnout 3,11075.50
Registered electors 4,119


  1. McRobie 1989, p. 36.
  2. McRobie 1989, p. 37.
  3. 1 2 Wilson 1985, p. 261.
  4. 1 2 Wilson 1985, p. 213.
  5. 1 2 Wilson 1985, p. 240.
  6. Wilson 1985, pp. 216, 240.
  7. Wilson 1985, p. 216.
  8. 1 2 3 Norton 1988, pp. 209.
  9. "Campaign Ends in Clutha - Candidates Cancel Meeting". The Press . Vol. XCVI, no. 28445. 27 November 1957. p. 16. Retrieved 18 February 2022.
  10. "Mr Waters' Death Makes Clutha By-election Necessary". The Press . Vol. XCVI, no. 28448. 30 November 1957. p. 16. Retrieved 18 February 2022.
  11. "Clutha Election for January 18". The Press . Vol. XCVI, no. 28452. 5 December 1957. p. 16. Retrieved 18 February 2022.
  12. "Clutha Seat - Mr Caldwell Withdraws". The Press . Vol. XCVI, no. 28468. 24 December 1957. p. 10. Retrieved 18 February 2022.
  13. "Labour Candidate For Clutha". The Press . Vol. XCVI, no. 28466. 21 December 1957. p. 12. Retrieved 18 February 2022.
  14. "Elections Recounts". The Evening Post . Vol. CXII, no. 142. 12 December 1931. p. 10. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  15. The General Election, 1928. Government Printer. 1929. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  16. "Labour's Candidates". Maoriland Worker . Vol. 12, no. 299. 22 November 1922. p. 12. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
  17. "Reform Triumph". The Northern Advocate . 5 November 1925. p. 6. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
  18. "The General Election, 1899". Wellington: Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives. 19 June 1900. p. 3. Retrieved 1 November 2012.
  19. "Clutha Electoral District". Mataura Ensign. No. 669. 2 December 1899. p. 3. Retrieved 11 February 2014.
  20. "The General Election, 1893". National Library. 1894. p. 3. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
  21. "The General Election". Otago Daily Times . 28 November 1893. p. 6. Retrieved 28 November 2013.

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