Palmerston North is a parliamentary electorate, returning one Member of Parliament to the New Zealand House of Representatives. The electorate was first formed for the 1890 election and was called Palmerston until 1938. The current MP for Palmerston North is Tangi Utikere of the Labour Party. He has held this position since the 2020 election.
In December 1887, the House of Representatives voted to reduce its membership from general electorates from 91 to 70. The 1890 electoral redistribution used the same 1886 census data used for the 1887 electoral redistribution. In addition, three-member electorates were introduced in the four main centres. This resulted in a major restructuring of electorates, and Palmerston was one of four electorates to be first created for the 1890 election.
Palmerston North reached its current approximate size at the expense of the old Manawatu electorate in the lead up to the introduction of mixed-member proportional (MMP) voting in 1996. The boundaries of the Palmerston North electorate were last adjusted in the 2007 redistribution, when the electorate became fully urban and covered all of the urbanised part of Palmerston North City, with the towns in its orbit such as Ashhurst and Linton becoming part of the neighbouring electorate of Rangitīkei. To counter the population loss on the Manawatu River's left bank, the section of the city on the right bank, including the suburb of Milson, was moved in at the same time.No boundary adjustments were undertaken in the subsequent 2013/14 redistribution.
At the 2013 census, the Palmerston North electorate reported the highest share of those working in the retail trade industry (11.4%); those whose occupation was a community and personal service worker (10.9%); and those whose households used mains (natural) gas as a heating fuel. Among general electorates, Palmerston North had the second-highest share of those working in the education and training sector (11.8%), and people affiliated with the Brethren religious denomination (1.2%).
The electorate has been loyal to the Labour Party, not having elected a National MP since 1975, and having not re-elected a National MP since 1966.
The first representative of the Palmerston electorate was James Wilson.Wilson previously represented the Foxton electorate until its abolition in 1890. In the 1890 election, Wilson beat Frederick Pirani by 61 votes. In the 1893 election, Wilson stood successfully in the Otaki electorate and Palmerston was won by Pirani, who was confirmed in 1896 and 1899, but defeated in 1902 when he contested the Hutt electorate. In the 1899 election, Prime Minister Richard Seddon expressed his opposition to Pirani (who had previously stood for the Liberal Party) by endorsing William Thomas Wood, who came second that year.
Wood was the successful candidate in the 1902 election, and he was confirmed in 1905.The 1908 election was held under the Second Ballot Act, contested by three candidates. David Buick, Wood and W. Milverton received 2675, 2626 and 123 votes, respectively. As Buick did not receive an absolute majority, a second ballot was required. Buick standing for the Reform Party was again successful in the second round of voting and was thus elected. Buick was re-elected in 1911 and 1914, but died in office on 18 November 1918 during the influenza epidemic.
Jimmy Nash, the sitting Mayor of Palmerston North, won the resulting by-election on 19 December 1918.Nash was confirmed at the next five general elections, but was defeated in the 1935 election by Joe Hodgens of the Labour Party in an election also contested by the then-mayor, Gus Mansford. Hodgens had previously contested the electorate in the 1922 and 1931 elections. He retired from the electorate at the 1946 election due to the deteriorating health of his wife.
The 1946 election was contested between Ormond Wilson for Labour and Mansford, whose relationship with the National Party was strained, since his 1935 election campaign had contributed to the defeat of Nash. Mansford failed to get nominated by the National Party for the 1938 and 1943 elections. So in 1946, the National Party decided not to stand a candidate, with Mansford running as an Independent. Wilson obtained a majority of 928 votes.
Wilson lost the subsequent election in 1949 against Blair Tennent of the National Party.Tennent was confirmed at the subsequent election, but then lost against the Labour candidate, Philip Skoglund, in the 1954 election. Skoglund contested the 1957 election against Bill Brown of the National Party and was confirmed by the voters. However, in the 1960 election, Brown beat Skoglund by the narrow majority of 123 votes. At the 1963 election, Brown had a 772-vote majority to Skoglund. The 1966 election was contested by Brown against Labour's Joe Walding, with Brown holding a 259-vote majority. Brown died in office on 16 October 1967 at a function in Kaiapoi.
The resulting 1967 by-election was contested by five candidates: Walding (Labour Party), Gordon Cruden (National Party), John O'Brien (Social Credit Party), Goldingham (Progress) and P. J. Wedderspoon (Democratic Labour). Walding obtained a majority of 592 votes.Walding represented the Palmerston North electorate until the 1975 election, when he was defeated by John Lithgow, and from 1978 to 1981. Six months prior to the 1981 election, he announced his retirement from Parliament.
The Labour nomination was hotly contested and Trevor de Cleene, a good friend of Walding, was the most experienced candidate who put his name forward for selection, and despite concerns about his often controversial nature, he was nominated by the party. The candidate put forward by National was his old foe Brian Elwood, with whom he had worked on the Palmerston North City Council for many years, and against whom he lost the mayoralty contest in 1974. Elwood and de Cleene received 8315 and 10425 votes, respectively (representing 35.7% and 48.5% of the vote), with de Cleene thus entering Parliament in 1981.De Cleene won the 1984 election, called early by Robert Muldoon, with an increased majority over National's candidate, C G Singleton. In the 1987 election, de Cleene raised his share of the vote to 56.2%, defeating National's Paul Curry. He did not seek re-election in the 1990 election.
Iain Lees-Galloway was selected by the Labour Party as successor to retiring MP Steve Maharey, who became Vice Chancellor of Massey University, in a contested Labour Party selection for the 2008 election.Lees-Galloway defeated the National Party candidate, Malcolm Plimmer, with a majority of 1,117 votes. In the 2011 election, Lees-Galloway was confirmed with an increased majority of 3,285 votes, defeating National's Leonie Hapeta. In the 2014 election, Lees-Galloway was challenged by the Mayor of Palmerston North, Jono Naylor, but remained successful. Lees-Galloway had a decreased majority of 2,212 votes over Naylor. Naylor was the lowest-ranked National MP who entered Parliament via their list. Ian Lees-Galloway retired before the 2020 election and was replaced by Tangi Utikere, the city's deputy mayor, as the electorate's MP.
Conservative Liberal Independent Liberal Reform Labour National NZ FirstIndependent
|1890 election||James Wilson|
|1893 election||Frederick Pirani|
|1902 election||William Wood|
|1908 election||David Buick|
|1918 by-election||Jimmy Nash|
|1935 election||Joe Hodgens|
|1946 election||Ormond Wilson|
|1949 election||Blair Tennent|
|1954 election||Philip Skoglund|
|1960 election||Bill Brown|
|1967 by-election||Joe Walding|
|1975 election||John Lithgow|
|1978 election||Joe Walding|
|1981 election||Trevor de Cleene|
|1990 election||Steve Maharey|
|2008 election||Iain Lees-Galloway|
|2020 election||Tangi Utikere|
Members of Parliament elected from party lists in elections where that person also unsuccessfully contested the Palmerston North electorate. Unless otherwise stated, all MPs terms began and ended at general elections.
|2014 election||Jono Naylor|
|2020 election||Teanau Tuiono|
|2020 general election: Palmerston North|
Blue background denotes the winner of the electorate vote.
|NZ First||Darroch Ball||875||2.31||-3.93||1157||2.98||-4.84|
|New Conservative||David Poppelwell||733||1.94||—||704||1.81||+1.48|
|Advance NZ||Sharon Lyon||430||1.14||—||332||0.86||—|
|Total Valid votes||37,803||38,829|
|2017 general election: Palmerston North|
Blue background denotes the winner of the electorate vote.
|NZ First||Darroch Ball||2,155||6.24||+2.66||2,767||7.82||−0.82|
|Money Free||Scott Andrew||142||0.41||—|
|Total Valid votes||34,551||35,406|
|2014 general election: Palmerston North|
Blue background denotes the winner of the electorate vote.
|NZ First||Darroch Ball||1,217||3.58||+3.58||2,973||8.64||+2.98|
|Total Valid votes||33,871||34,427|
|2011 general election: Palmerston North|
|United Future||Sultan Eusoff||109||0.34||-0.42||210||0.64||-0.60|
|Total Valid votes||32,201||33,038|
Electorate (as at 26 November 2011): 43,524
|2008 general election: Palmerston North|
|NZ First||Graham Odering||658||1.93||1,404||4.05|
|United Future||Frank Owen||259||0.76||430||1.24|
|Bill and Ben||338||0.97|
|Total Valid votes||34,125||34,682|
|2005 general election: Palmerston North|
|NZ First||Graham Odering||853||2.66||1,673||5.14|
|United Future||Gary Pedersen||627||1.96||1,071||3.29|
|Total Valid votes||35,460||35,983|
Refer to Candidates in the New Zealand general election 1999 by electorate#Palmerston North for a list of candidates.
|NZ First||Graham Odering||1,220||6.23|
|Christian Heritage||Kay Burgess||413||2.11||+1.44|
|Natural Law||Tony Martin||66||0.33|
|Independent||Evan Matthew Nattrass||40||0.20|
|Social Credit||Bruce Beetham||851||4.31|
|NewLabour||B J Short||701||3.55|
|Christian Heritage||Kay Burgess||359||1.81|
|Democrats||S A M Collins||107||0.54|
|Labour||Trevor de Cleene||11,192||56.20||+5.85|
|McGillicuddy Serious||N G Colless||170||0.85|
|NZ Party||E B Halford||90||0.45|
|Labour||Trevor de Cleene||10,341||50.35||+1.88|
|NZ Party||Carol Coupler||2,123||10.33|
|Social Credit||Bobbie Smith||765||3.72|
|Labour||Trevor de Cleene||10,425||48.47|
|Social Credit||Jacqueline Lush||2,567||11.93|
|Values||H T Kaa||113||0.52|
|Independent||W J Harris||87||0.40|
|Social Credit||Peter Edmonds||2,558||11.79||+4.63|
|Values||George Ferdinand Serrallich||551||2.54|
|Tory||Andrew John Smith||48||0.22|
|Social Credit||Peter Edmonds||1,453||7.16|
|Values||N W Rennie||1,378||6.79|
|National||Paul William Mitchell||7,122||40.51|
|Social Credit||B K Harper||694||3.94|
|Values||D J Woodhams||676||3.84|
|Mad Hatter's Tea Party||Mickey Mouse||76||0.43|
|New Democratic||L A Inglis||32||0.18|
|Social Credit||Les Hunter||1,229||6.80|
|Social Credit||John O'Brien||2,410||15.26|
|Democratic Labour||Jamie Wedderspoon||61||0.39|
|Progress||J. Q. Goldringham||34||0.22|
|Labour gain from National||Swing|
|Social Credit||George Thew||1,620||9.47|
|Social Credit||T A Greenwood||815||4.98|
|Liberal||R J Pedley||165||1.00|
|Social Credit||Roy Matheson Gunn||1,186||7.44|
|Communist||Frederick William Manning||79||0.49|
|Social Credit||Henry Harold Egmont Kensington||978||6.31|
|Social Credit||S W Wood||863||5.81|
|Democratic Labour||Sydney Hindmarsh||613||4.00|
|United||Charles Albert Loughnan||2,484||22.08|
|Liberal||Ernest Hugh Crabb||1,119||20.86|
|Independent Reform||A. Buchanan||101||1.88|
|Independent Liberal||Frederick Pirani||1,980||48.49||-2.30|
|Liberal||William Thomas Wood||1,465||35.88|
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