Wellington Central is an electorate, represented by a Member of Parliament in the New Zealand House of Representatives. Its MP since November 2008 has been Labour Party's Grant Robertson. In the 2020 election he was opposed by James Shaw (Greens) and Nicola Willis (National), both also entered parliament via their respective party lists.
Through the City Single Electorates Act, 1903, the three-member electorates of the four main centres were split again, and this became effective at the end of the 15th Parliament and was thus used for the 1905 election. The City of Wellington electorate split into the Wellington East, Wellington Central, and Wellington North electorates.
As of 1999 Wellington Central covered the central city and its immediate suburban periphery, stretching from Karori, Wilton and Wadestown in the west, to the summit of Mount Victoria in the east, and southwards to a boundary with the Rongotai electorate near Wellington Hospital. Prior to the 1999 election, its boundaries extended further north to include the affluent suburbs of Ngaio and Khandallah.
Wellington Central has one of the most affluent and well-educated constituencies in New Zealand. It is home to many government agencies, as well as to the New Zealand Parliament Buildings and to two universities.
Following the 2014 boundary review, Wellington Central lost the suburb of Wadestown to the Ōhāriu electorate.
Wellington Central was established in 1905 when the multi-member urban electorate City of Wellington was replaced by three new seats: Wellington East, Wellington North and Wellington Central. A prominent holder of the seat was Labour Party leader Peter Fraser, who was Prime Minister from 1940 to 1949. Wellington Central was nominally abolished in 1993, when a redistribution moved its boundary west, resulting in the new name of Wellington-Karori. Pauline Gardiner won the Wellington-Karori seat in 1993. Three years later, a new, larger Wellington Central was created as one of the 65 original MMP constituencies in time for the 1996 election.
The first elected MMP representative was ACT Party leader Richard Prebble, controversially elected in 1996 after National Party leader Jim Bolger indicated that National voters should give their electorate vote to Prebble, rather than to National candidate Mark Thomas, in order for ACT to get into parliament. Prebble would eventually become the third representative from Wellington Central in three elections to face defeat after a single term in office. Labour's Marian Hobbs held the seat from 1999, when she defeated Prebble, until 2008, when she retired. Grant Robertson retained Labour's hold on the seat in 2008 and has held the seat since.
A documentary, Campaign, directed by Tony Sutorius, highlighted the events surrounding the 1996 campaign in the electorate.
|1905 election||Francis Fisher|
|1914 election||Robert Fletcher|
|1918 by-election||Peter Fraser|
|1946 election||Charles Henry Chapman|
|1954 election||Frank Kitts|
|1960 election||Dan Riddiford|
|1972 election||Ken Comber|
|1981 election||Fran Wilde|
|1992 by-election||Chris Laidlaw|
|(electorate abolished 1993–1996, see Wellington-Karori)|
|1996 election||Richard Prebble|
|1999 election||Marian Hobbs|
|2008 election||Grant Robertson|
Members of Parliament elected from party lists in elections where that person also unsuccessfully contested the Wellington Central electorate. Unless otherwise stated, all MPs terms began and ended at general elections.
|1999 election||Richard Prebble|
|2002 election||Stephen Franks|
|2005 election||Mark Blumsky|
|2008 election||Sue Kedgley|
|2013||Paul Foster-Bell 1|
|2014 election||James Shaw|
|2017 election||James Shaw|
|2018||Nicola Willis 2|
|2020 election||James Shaw|
|Brooke van Velden|
1Foster-Bell was elected from the party list in May 2013 following the resignation of Jackie Blue.
2Willis was elected from the party list in April 2018 following the resignation of Steven Joyce.
|2020 general election: Wellington Central|
Blue background denotes the winner of the electorate vote.
|ACT||Brooke van Velden||865||1.81||+1.5||2,339||4.86||+4.09|
|Legalise Cannabis||Michael George Appleby||401||0.84||—||132||0.27||+0.7|
|New Conservative||Liam Richfield||401||0.45||204||0.42||+0.35|
|Advance NZ||Rose Greally||108||0.23||103||0.21|
|Total Valid votes||47,787||48,090|
|2017 general election: Wellington Central|
Blue background denotes the winner of the electorate vote.
|NZ First||Andy Foster||797||1.88||+0.37||972||2.26||−1.32|
|Total Valid votes||42,374||43,094|
|2014 general election: Wellington Central|
Blue background denotes the winner of the electorate vote.
|NZ First||Hugh Barr||580||1.51||+0.78||1,399||3.58||+0.70|
|Legalise Cannabis||Alistair Gregory||353||0.92||-0.13||127||0.32||-0.09|
|Total Valid votes||38,353||39,131|
|2011 general election: Wellington Central|
|Legalise Cannabis||Michael Appleby||404||1.05||+0.05||161||0.41||+0.15|
|NZ First||Ben Craven||279||0.73||+0.73||1,132||2.88||+1.35|
|New Economics||Laurence Boomert||44||0.11||+0.11|
|Total Valid votes||38,326||39,372|
Electorate (as at 26 November 2011): 48,316
|2008 general election: Wellington Central|
|Legalise Cannabis||Michael Appleby||407||1.01||108||0.26|
|United Future||Vaughan Smith||226||0.56||412||1.00|
|Workers Party||Don Franks||171||0.42||38||0.09|
|Bill and Ben||215||0.52|
|Total Valid votes||40,411||41,200|
|2005 general election: Wellington Central|
|United Future||Fiona McKenzie||593||1.45||1,068||2.58|
|Legalise Cannabis||Michael Appleby||426||1.04||98||0.24|
|Anti-Capitalist Alliance||Stephen Hay||107||0.26|
|Total Valid votes||40,954||41,459|
The National party did not stand a candidate in this election because of the events of the 1996 Wellington Central election where then leader Prime Minister Jim Bolger withdrew support for National’s candidate Mark Thomas just before the election in preference for Act leader Richard Prebble.
The absence of a National candidate in this election did not help Richard Prebble and he lost the seat to new Labour candidate Marian Hobbs.
|1999 general election: Wellington Central|
|ACT||N Richard Prebble||15,988||44.27||+9.49||2,807||7.68||+1.07|
|Legalise Cannabis||Michael Appleby||787||2.18||+0.93||582||1.59||-0.63|
|Future NZ||Anthony Walton||394||1.09||297||0.81|
|United NZ||Kent Clark||324||0.90||-4.64||394||1.08||-1.72|
|NZ First||Jonathan Mosen||308||0.85||+0.66||507||1.39||-0.32|
|Christian Heritage||Leona Emberson-Ready||226||0.63||-0.10||315||0.86||-1.51|
|McGillicuddy Serious||Amy Ross||218||0.60||+0.23||69||0.19||-0.10|
|Asia Pacific||Bihua Fu||56||0.16||+0.02||0||0.00||-0.07|
|Natural Law||Daniel Meares||50||0.14||+0.01||36||0.10||-0.01|
|The People's Choice||2||0.01|
|Total Valid votes||36,115||36,562|
|Labour gain from ACT||Majority||1,482||4.10||+13.81|
The 1996 election, the first under the new electoral system MMP, saw ACT candidate and former Labour Cabinet Minister Richard Prebble compete against former National Party Wellington-Karori MP Pauline Gardiner now standing for United New Zealand, the National party candidate Mark Thomas, Labour's Alick Shaw and Danna Glendining for the Alliance.
The election campaign saw Prime Minister Jim Bolger endorse Richard Prebble shortly before the election in preference to Thomas. The events were captured in the movie Campaign.The electorate was won by Richard Prebble.
|1996 general election: Wellington Central|
|United NZ||N Pauline Gardiner||2,233||5.54||1,151||2.80|
|Legalise Cannabis||Michael Appleby||513||1.25||912||2.22|
|NZ First||Sarah Porter||480||1.17||707||1.71|
|Christian Coalition||Robin Corner||300||0.73||973||2.37|
|McGillicuddy Serious||Ross Gardner||151||0.37||121||0.29|
|Progressive Green||Alison Davis||137||0.33||121||0.29|
|Asia Pacific||Rama Ramanathan||59||0.14||27||0.07|
|Natural Law||Daniel Meares||54||0.13||47||0.11|
|Mana Māori||Waiariki Grace||27||0.13||47||0.11|
|Independent||Peter Franklin Robinson||11||0.03|
|Superannuitants & Youth||14||0.03|
|Total Valid votes||41,026||41,120|
|ACT win new seat||Majority||1,860||15.09|
|Natural Law||Ian Douglas||263||1.68|
|Christian Heritage||Wayne Chapman||154||0.98|
|Wizard Party||Tony Catford||40||0.26|
|Communist League||Felicty Coggan||14||0.09|
|Christ's Ambassadors Union||Victor Bryers||1||0.01|
|McGillicuddy Serious||P P Clarke||175||0.80|
|Communist League||Janet Roth||29||0.13|
|Democrats||M D Binney||398||1.66|
|McGillicuddy Serious||Mark Servian||160||0.66|
|Wizard Party||Tony Catford||84||0.35||+0.04|
|NZ Party||John Feast||4,501||18.76|
|Social Credit||Murray Belchamber||314||1.30|
|Wizard Party||Tony Catford||76||0.31||-0.03|
|Social Credit||Malcolm Ross||1,898||8.52|
|Independent||W R A Manson||90||0.40|
|Wizard Party||Tony Catford||76||0.34|
|Independent||J F Stuart||43||0.19|
|Social Credit||Ron England||1,893||8.70||+6.35|
|Tory||Mark Gregory Robinson||51||0.23|
|Progressive Kiwi||David Mitchell||29||0.13||+0.07|
|Social Credit||Ron England||467||2.35|
|Progressive Kiwi||David Mitchell||13||0.06||-0.47|
|Social Credit||William Roy Hill||455||2.52|
|New Democratic||David Mitchell||97||0.53|
|Independent||Kevin Alan Brown||87||0.48|
|Social Credit||Godfrey Healy||842||5.13||-0.15|
|Socialist Action||George Fyson||76||0.46|
|Social Credit||Godfrey Healy||799||5.28|
|Social Credit||D T Grooby||409||2.43|
|Social Credit||Arthur Henry Norris||526||3.50||-0.61|
|Social Credit||Arthur Henry Norris||699||4.11|
|Social Credit||Eric Elliot||791||5.04|
|Labour||Charles Henry Chapman||4,463||51.61||-1.40|
|Labour||Charles Henry Chapman||5,078||53.01||-4.82|
|Labour||Charles Henry Chapman||6,201||57.83|
|National||Agnes Louisa Weston||4,521||42.17|
|Independent||Edward William Nicolaus||688||6.25|
|Communist||Richard Francis Griffin||183||1.66|
|Independent Labour||Margaret Young||843||6.97|
|Independent Labour||Joe Mack||1,044||22.12|
|Independent||Lindsay John Frederick Garmston||29||0.61|
|Independent||William Cyril Tanner||9||0.19|
|Labour gain from Liberal||Swing|
|New Liberal||Francis Fisher||3,142||48.63|
|Ind. Labour League||Albert Cooper||243||3.76|
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