3 New Zealand general election, 1990

New Zealand general election, 1990

1990 general election
New Zealand
1987 ←
27 October 1990
→ 1993

All 97 seats in the New Zealand House of Representatives
49 seats were needed for a majority
  First party Second party Third party
  Jim Bolger at press conference cropped.jpg Mike Moore.jpg Jim Anderton.jpg
Leader Jim Bolger Mike Moore Jim Anderton
Party National Labour NewLabour
Leader since 1986 1990 1989
Leader's seat King Country Christchurch North Sydenham
Last election 40 seats, 44.0% 57 seats, 48.0% Not yet founded
Seats won 67 29 1
Seat change increase 27 decrease 28 increase 1
Popular vote 872,358 640,915 94,171
Percentage 47.82% 35.14% 5.16%
Swing increase 3.82% decrease 12.86% increase 5.16%

Prime Minister before election

Mike Moore

Elected Prime Minister

Jim Bolger

The 1990 New Zealand general election was held on 27 October to determine the composition of the 43rd New Zealand parliament. The governing Labour Party was defeated, ending its controversial two terms in office. The National Party, led by Jim Bolger, won a landslide victory and formed the new government.



The Labour Party had taken office after defeating the National Party under Robert Muldoon in the 1984 election. David Lange became Prime Minister and Roger Douglas became Minister of Finance. The economic program outlined by Douglas was deeply unpopular with Labour's traditional supporters, however — deregulation, privatisation, and free trade, all opposed by the party's more left-wing members, were a key part of the so-called "Rogernomics" platform. This internal dissent was off-set somewhat by new social legislation and a strong stance against nuclear weapons.

Labour was re-elected in the 1987 election by a slightly reduced margin, and the internal disputes continued. Eventually Lange forced Douglas to resign, but the crisis had weakened Lange's position such that he resigned soon afterwards. He was replaced as Prime Minister by Geoffrey Palmer, but Palmer failed to revive Labour's falling popularity. Several months before the election, Palmer was replaced by Mike Moore. The National Party was performing strongly — its leader, Jim Bolger, spoke repeatedly of "the Decent Society", saying that the reforms were doing significant damage to the social fabric of the country. The government was also being challenged by the NewLabour Party, founded by renegade MP Jim Anderton.

The election

The date for the 1990 election was 27 October. 2,202,157 people were registered to vote, and 85.2% of these people turned out. The number of seats being contested was 97 — this was the same as in the previous election, which had the largest number of seats for any Parliament until that point.

Summary of results

The 1990 election eventually saw a victory for the National Party, then in opposition. National won nearly half (48%) of the vote and 67 (69%) of the seats, becoming the fourth National government. This was the highest number of seats the party had ever won, either in absolute terms or as a percentage. The governing Labour Party, by contrast, suffered its worst-ever electoral defeat since it first won power in the 1935 election, winning only 29 (30%) of the seats and 35% of the vote, and losing 27 seats. The new Green Party gained the third-highest number of votes, but won no seats. The NewLabour Party won a single seat, due to Jim Anderton retaining the Sydenham seat he originally won as a Labour candidate.

Detailed results

National results

Party Candidates Total votes Percentage Seats won
National Party 97 872,358 47.82% 67
Labour Party 97 640,915 35.14% 29
Green Party 71 124,915 6.85% -
NewLabour Party 93 94,171 5.16% 1
Democratic Party 91 30,455 1.67% -
Social Credit Party (Beetham revival) 68 17,897 0.98% -
Mana Motuhake 4 10,869 0.60% -
McGillicuddy Serious Party 59 9,918 0.54% -
Christian Heritage Party 18 9,591 0.53% -
Legalise Marijuana Party 2 611 0.03% -
New Zealand Party 5 402 0.03% -
Pencarrow Liberation Party 1 374 0.02% -
Wall of Surf 1 281 0.02% -
Communist League 9 210 0.01% -
Blokes' Liberation Front 3 209 0.01% -
People's Party 4 184 0.01% -
New Zealand Representative 2 173 0.01% -
Proportional Representation Party 1 160 0.01% -
United Party 1 124 0.01% -
Gordon Dinosaur Party 1 107 0.01% -
Imperial British Conservative Party 1 53 0.00% -
Economic Euthenics Party 1 37 0.00% -
Economic Democracy Party 1 31 0.00% -
Free Access Socialism 1 22 0.00% -
Private Enterprise Party 1 17 0.00% -
Dominion Workers 1 13 0.00% -
Consensus Party 1 10 0.00% -
Independents 39 8,291 0.45% -
Total 677 1,824,092 97

Electorate results


Held by Don McKinnon (National)
Don McKinnon (National)
2nd: J Allen (Labour)
Held by Jenny Shipley (National)
Jenny Shipley (National)
2nd: Basil Moskovis (Labour)
Auckland Central
Held by Richard Prebble (Labour)
Richard Prebble (Labour)
2nd: K Hill (National)
Held by Larry Sutherland (Labour)
Larry Sutherland (Labour)
2nd: W Rush (National)
Held by Jeff Grant (National)
Jeff Grant (National)
2nd: H A Russell (Labour)
Bay of Islands
Held by John Carter (National)
John Carter (National)
2nd: B R Dent (Labour)
Held by Jenny Kirk (Labour)
Ian Revell (National)
2nd: Jenny Kirk (Labour)
Christchurch Central
Held by Geoffrey Palmer (Labour)
Lianne Dalziel (Labour)
2nd: R Gluer (National)
Christchurch North
Held by Mike Moore (Labour)
Mike Moore (Labour)
2nd: P Yarrell (National)
Held by Warren Kyd (National)
Warren Kyd (National)
2nd: A Stubbs-Batten (Labour)
Held by Robin Gray (National)
Robin Gray (National)
2nd: J Buchanan (Labour)
Held by Graeme Lee (National)
Graeme Lee (National)
2nd: Margaret Hawkeswood (Labour)
Dunedin North
Held by Stan Rodger (Labour)
Pete Hodgson (Labour)
2nd: G Donoghue (National)
Dunedin West
Held by Clive Matthewson (Labour)
Clive Matthewson (Labour)
2nd: Ian McMeeking (National)
East Cape
Held by Anne Collins (Labour)
Tony Ryall (National)
2nd: Anne Collins (Labour)
East Coast Bays
Held by Murray McCully (National)
Murray McCully (National)
2nd: Gary Knapp (Democrats)
Eastern Hutt
Held by Trevor Young (Labour)
Paul Swain (Labour)
2nd: R F Thomas (National)
Held by Richard Northey (Labour)
Christine Fletcher (National)
2nd: Richard Northey (Labour)
Held by Philip Burdon (National)
Philip Burdon (National)
2nd: T Day (Labour)
Held by Allan Wallbank (Labour)
Wayne Kimber (National)
2nd: Allan Wallbank (Labour)
Held by Judy Keall (Labour)
Peter Hilt (National)
2nd: Judy Keall (Labour)
Hamilton East
Held by Bill Dillon (Labour)
Tony Steel (National)
2nd: Bill Dillon (Labour)
Hamilton West
Held by Trevor Mallard (Labour)
Grant Thomas (National)
2nd: Trevor Mallard (Labour)
Held by David Butcher (Labour)
Jeff Whitaker (National)
2nd: David Butcher (Labour)
Hawkes Bay
Held by Bill Sutton (Labour)
Michael Laws (National)
2nd: Bill Sutton (Labour)
Held by Bill Jeffries (Labour)
Peter McCardle (National)
2nd: Bill Jeffries (Labour)
Held by Ross Meurant (National)
Ross Meurant (National)
2nd: H Henry (Labour)
Held by Annette King (Labour)
Hamish Hancock (National)
2nd: Annette King (Labour)
Held by Rob Munro (National)
Rob Munro (National)
2nd: B G Rait (Labour)
Island Bay
Held by Elizabeth Tennet (Labour)
Elizabeth Tennet (Labour)
2nd: A Nolan (National)
Held by Robert Anderson (National)
Robert Anderson (National)
2nd: G L Dickson (Labour)
Held by Lockwood Smith (National)
Lockwood Smith (National)
2nd: W K Sellwood (Labour)
Held by Margaret Shields (Labour)
Roger Sowry (National)
2nd: Margaret Shields (Labour)
King Country
Held by Jim Bolger (National)
Jim Bolger (National)
2nd: C Gordon (Labour)
Held by Peter Simpson (Labour)
Gail McIntosh (National)
2nd: Peter Simpson (Labour)
Held by David Robinson (Labour)
Hamish McIntyre (National)
2nd: David Robinson (Labour)
Held by David Lange (Labour)
David Lange (Labour)
2nd: B Archer (National)
Held by Roger Douglas (Labour)
George Hawkins (Labour)
2nd: P Baker (National)
Held by Bill Birch (National)
Bill Birch (National)
2nd: Charles Chauvel (Labour)
Held by Doug Kidd (National)
Doug Kidd (National)
2nd: B Hutchinson (Labour)
Held by John Luxton (National)
John Luxton (National)
2nd: W J Pepperell (Labour)
Held by Peter Neilson (Labour)
Graham Reeves (National)
2nd: Peter Neilson (Labour)
Mt Albert
Held by Helen Clark (Labour)
Helen Clark (Labour)
2nd: L Bellshaw (National)
Held by Geoff Braybrooke (Labour)
Geoff Braybrooke (Labour)
2nd: C M Pritchard (National)
Held by Philip Woollaston (Labour)
John Blincoe (Labour)
2nd: L Baigent (National)
New Lynn
Held by Jonathan Hunt (Labour)
Jonathan Hunt (Labour)
2nd: M A Bishop (National)
New Plymouth
Held by Harry Duynhoven (Labour)
John Armstrong (National)
2nd: Harry Duynhoven (Labour)
North Shore
Held by George Gair (National)
Bruce Cliffe (National)
2nd: G Ransom (Labour)
Held by Peter Dunne (Labour)
Peter Dunne (Labour)
2nd: G Mathew (National)
Held by Fred Gerbic (Labour)
Grahame Thorne (National)
2nd: Fred Gerbic (Labour)
Held by Warren Cooper (National)
Warren Cooper (National)
2nd: T Cooke (Labour)
Held by Colin Moyle (Labour)
Trevor Rogers (National)
2nd: P T Field (Labour)
Held by John Falloon (National)
John Falloon (National)
2nd: M Martindale (Labour)
Held by Maurice Williamson (National)
Maurice Williamson (National)
2nd: P C Grant (Labour)
Palmerston North
Held by Trevor de Cleene (Labour)
Steve Maharey (Labour)
2nd: P L Sherriff (National)
Held by Bob Tizard (Labour)
Judith Tizard (Labour)
2nd: G Bartlett (National)
Held by Merv Wellington (National)
John Robertson (National)
2nd: James Stubbs,(Labour)
Held by Ross Robertson (Labour)
Ross Robertson (Labour)
2nd: A W Brewster (National)
Held by Sonja Davies (Labour)
Sonja Davies (Labour)
2nd: R Wallace (National)
Held by Graham Kelly (Labour)
Graham Kelly (Labour)
2nd: P Faulkner (National)
Held by Simon Upton (National)
Simon Upton (National)
2nd: O Scaletti-Longley (Labour)
Held by Jim Gerard (National)
Jim Gerard (National)
2nd: J A McLachlan (Labour)
Held by Denis Marshall (National)
Denis Marshall (National)
2nd: P Barton (Labour)
Held by Doug Graham (National)
Doug Graham (National)
2nd: C Harding (Labour)
Held by Phil Goff (Labour)
Gilbert Myles (National)
2nd: Phil Goff (Labour)
Held by Paul East (National)
Paul East (National)
2nd: B Raitt (Labour)
Held by Ruth Richardson (National)
Ruth Richardson (National)
2nd: V Elley (Labour)
St Albans
Held by David Caygill (Labour)
David Caygill (Labour)
2nd: D Dumergue (National)
St Kilda
Held by Michael Cullen (Labour)
Michael Cullen (Labour)
2nd: B Alexander (National)
Held by Jim Anderton (NewLabour)
Jim Anderton (NewLabour)
2nd: L S Constable (Labour)
Held by Robert Muldoon (National)
Robert Muldoon (National)
2nd: M C Johnston (Labour)
Held by Roger Maxwell (National)
Roger Maxwell (National)
2nd: S Dalziel (Labour)
Held by Ian McLean (National)
Max Bradford (National)
2nd: M R Moore (Labour)
Held by Ken Shirley (Labour)
Nick Smith (National)
2nd: Ken Shirley (Labour)
Held by Winston Peters (National)
Winston Peters (National)
2nd: W K Delaney (Labour)
Te Atatu
Held by Michael Bassett (Labour)
Brian Neeson (National)
2nd: Dan McCaffrey (Labour)
Held by Maurice McTigue (National)
Maurice McTigue (National)
2nd: G J Clarke (Labour)
Held by Ralph Maxwell (Labour)
Marie Hasler (National)
2nd: Ralph Maxwell (Labour)
Held by Noel Scott (Labour)
Ian Peters (National)
2nd: Noel Scott (Labour)
Held by Roger McClay (National)
Roger McClay (National)
2nd: D Davies (Labour)
Held by Rob Storey (National)
Rob Storey (National)
2nd: G Middleton (Labour)
Held by Katherine O'Regan (National)
Katherine O'Regan (National)
2nd: M Apiata-Wade (Labour)
Held by Wyatt Creech (National)
Wyatt Creech (National)
2nd: P Morgan (Labour)
Held by Jim Sutton (Labour)
Alec Neill (National)
2nd: Jim Sutton (Labour)
Held by Venn Young (National)
Peter Gresham (National)
2nd: D T O'Sullivan (Labour)
Held by Derek Angus (National)
Bill English (National)
2nd: David Soper (Labour)
Held by Russell Marshall (Labour)
Cam Campion (National)
2nd: Jill Pettis (Labour)
Wellington Central
Held by Fran Wilde (Labour)
Fran Wilde (Labour)
2nd: Pauline Gardiner (National)
West Auckland
Held by Jack Elder (Labour)
Jack Elder (Labour)
2nd: L Wicks (National)
West Coast
Held by Kerry Burke (Labour)
Margaret Moir (National)
2nd: Kerry Burke (Labour)
Western Hutt
Held by John Terris (Labour)
Joy McLauchlan (National)
2nd: John Terris (Labour)
Held by John Banks (National)
John Banks (National)
2nd: E E Tait (Labour)
Held by Margaret Austin (Labour)
Margaret Austin (Labour)
2nd: J Connelly (National)
Eastern Maori
Held by Peter Tapsell (Labour)
Peter Tapsell (Labour)
2nd: W K Kaa (Mana Motuhake)
Northern Maori
Held by Bruce Gregory (Labour)
Bruce Gregory (Labour)
2nd: Matiu Rata (Mana Motuhake)
Southern Maori
Held by Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan (Labour)
Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan (Labour)
2nd: T R Stevens (Mana Motuhake)
Western Maori
Held by Koro Wetere (Labour)
Koro Wetere (Labour)
2nd: Eva Rickard (Mana Motuhake)

Summary of seat changes

  • Electoral redistributions:
    • There was no redistribution of electoral boundaries between the 1987 and 1990 elections.
  • Seats captured:
    • By National: Birkenhead, East Cape, Eden, Gisborne, Glenfield, Hamilton East, Hamilton West, Hastings, Hawkes Bay, Heretaunga, Horowhenua, Kapiti, Lyttelton, Manawatu, Miramar, New Plymouth, Onehunga, Otara, Roskill, Tasman, Te Atatu, Titirangi, Tongariro, Waitaki, Wanganui, West Coast and Western Hutt (27 seats) were captured from Labour.
  • Seats transferred from departing MPs to new MPs:
    • The seats of North Shore, Papakura, Tarawera, Waitotara and Wallace, all held by departing National MPs, were won by new National candidates.
    • The seats of Christchurch Central, Dunedin North, Eastern Hutt, Manurewa, Nelson, Palmerston North and Panmure, all held by departing Labour MPs, were won by new Labour candidates.


  • Vowles, Jack & Aimer, Peter (1993). Voters’ Vengeance: The 1990 Election in New Zealand and the fate of the Fourth Labour Government. Auckland: University Press. ISBN 186940078X. 

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