New Zealand general election, 1954

New Zealand general election, 1954
New Zealand
1951 ←
November 13, 1954 (1954-11-13)
→ 1957

All 80 seats in the Parliament of New Zealand
41 seats were needed for a majority
Turnout 1,096,877 (91.4%)
  First party Second party
  Sidney George Holland (1953).jpg Walter Nash (ca 1940s).jpg
Leader Sidney Holland Walter Nash
Party National Labour
Leader since 1940 1951
Leader's seat Christchurch North Hutt
Last election 50 seats, 54.0% 30 seats, 45.8%
Seats won 45 35
Seat change decrease 5 increase 5
Popular vote 485,630 484,028
Percentage 44.3% 44.1%
Swing decrease 9.7% decrease1.7%

Prime Minister before election

Sidney Holland
National

Elected Prime Minister

Sidney Holland
National

The 1954 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of the New Zealand Parliament's 31st term. It saw the governing National Party remain in office, but with a slightly reduced majority. It also saw the debut of the new Social Credit Party, which performed well but won no seats.

Background

The National Party had formed its first administration after the 1949 elections. It had then been re-elected by a large margin amid the industrial disputes of the 1951 election. The Prime Minister, Sidney Holland, was popular in many sectors of society for his strong line against striking dockworkers and coalminers, while Labour's leader, Walter Nash, had been criticised for his failure to take a firm stand on the issue. Labour was troubled by internal disputes, with Nash subjected to an unsuccessful leadership challenge only a few months before the election. For the election, the National government adopted a "steady as she goes" approach, saying that the country was in good hands and did not need any major policy realignments.

The election

The date for the main 1954 elections was 13 November. 1,209,670 people were registered to vote, and turnout was 91.4%. The number of seats being contested was 80, a number which had been fixed since 1902.

Results

The 1954 election saw the governing National Party re-elected with a ten-seat margin, a drop from the twenty-seat margin it previously held. National won forty-five seats to the Labour Party's thirty-five. The popular vote was much closer, however, with the two parties separated by only 0.2%. No seats were won by minor party candidates or by independents, but the new Social Credit Party managed to win 11.2% of the vote.

Party Leader Votes Percentage Seats won change
National Sidney Holland 485,630 44.3% 45 -5
Labour Walter Nash 484,028 44.1% 35 +5
Social Credit Wilfrid Owen 122,573 11.2% 0 new party
Communist 1,134 0.1% 0
Others (including independents) 3,474 0.4 0 0
National re-elected 1,096,877 100% 80

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