New Zealand general election, 1975

New Zealand general election, 1975
New Zealand
29 November 1975 (1975-11-29)

All 87 seats for New Zealand House of Representatives
44 seats were needed for a majority
  First party Second party
Leader Robert Muldoon Bill Rowling
Party National Labour
Leader since 1974 1974
Leader's seat Tamaki Tasman
Last election 32 seats, 41.5% 55 seats, 48.4%
Seats won 55 32
Seat change Increase 23 Decrease 23
Percentage 47.6% 39.6%
Swing Increase 6.1% Decrease 8.8%

Prime Minister before election

Bill Rowling

Elected Prime Minister

Robert Muldoon

The 1975 New Zealand general election was held on 29 November to elect MPs to the 38th session of the New Zealand Parliament. It was the first general election in New Zealand where 18- to 20-year-olds[1] and all permanent residents of New Zealand were eligible to vote, although only citizens were able to be elected.


The incumbent Labour Party, following the sudden death of Labour leader Norman Kirk, was led by Bill Rowling, a leader who was characterised as being weak and ineffectual by some political commentators. Labour's central campaign was the so-called "Citizens for Rowling" petition which attacked National leader Robert Muldoon's forthright leadership style. This campaign was largely seen as having backfired on Labour.

The National Party responded with the formation of "Rob's Mob". As former Minister of Finance in the previous National government, Muldoon focused on the economic impact of Labour's policies. National's campaign advertising suggested that Labour's recently introduced compulsory personal superannuation scheme would result in the Government owning the New Zealand economy using the workers's money (akin to a communist state). Muldoon argued that his New Zealand superannuation scheme could be funded from future taxes rather than an additional tax on current wages.

The campaign achieved notoriety due to an infamous television commercial featuring "Dancing Cossacks" which was produced by Hanna Barbera on behalf of National's ad agency Colenso.[2]

A consummate orator and a skilled television performer, Muldoon's powerful presence on screen increased his popularity with voters.[3]


The final results of election: National won 55 seats, and Labour 32 seats. Thus Robert Muldoon replaced Bill Rowling as Prime Minister, ending the term of the Third Labour government, and beginning the term of the Third National government. The party seat numbers were an exact opposite of the 1972 election. No minor parties won seats. There were 1,953,050 electors on the roll, with 1,603,733 (82.11%) voting.

Notable electorate results included the election of two Māori MPs to general seats; the first time that any Māori had been elected to a non-Māori seat since James Carroll in 1893. The MPs in question were Ben Couch in Wairarapa and Rex Austin in Awarua.

In Palmerston North and Western Hutt, Labour was first on election night but lost when special votes were counted.

Party Candidates Total votes Percentage Seats won Change
National 87 763,136 47.59 55 +23
Labour 87 634,453 39.56 32 -23
Social Credit 87 119,147 7.43 0 ±0
Values 87 83,241 5.19 0 ±0
Independent 67 3,756 0.23 0 ±0
Total 415 1,603,733 87

    Votes summary

    Popular Vote
    Social Credit
    Parliament seats

    The table below shows the results of the 1975 general election:


     National    Labour    Social Credit  

    Electorate results for the New Zealand general election, 1975[4]
    Electorate Incumbent Winner Majority Runner up
    General electorates
    Auckland Central Norman Douglas Richard Prebble 289 Murray McCully
    Avon Mary Batchelor 5,503 T P George
    Awarua Aubrey Begg Rex Austin 2,150 Aubrey Begg
    Bay of Plenty Percy Allen Duncan MacIntyre 3,960 R F McKee
    Birkenhead Norman King Jim McLay 2,816 Norman King
    Christchurch Central Bruce Barclay 2,973 T G B Armitage
    Clutha Peter Gordon 4,735 F A O'Connell
    Coromandel Leo Schultz 4,724 R L Bradley
    Dunedin Central Brian MacDonell 1,428 A R Bright
    Dunedin North Ethel McMillan Richard Walls 958 B K Arnold
    East Coast Bays Frank Gill 5,594 L R Stanton
    Eden Mike Moore Aussie Malcolm 1,331 Mike Moore
    Egmont Venn Young 4,120 D W Duggan
    Franklin Bill Birch 7,605 R Waishing
    Gisborne Trevor Davey Bob Bell 1,321 Trevor Davey
    Grey Lynn Eddie Isbey 2,839 J Meder
    Hamilton East Rufus Rogers Ian Shearer 2,246 Rufus Rogers
    Hamilton West Dorothy Jelicich Mike Minogue 2,069 Dorothy Jelicich
    Hastings Richard Mayson Robert Fenton 491 Richard Mason
    Hawkes Bay Richard Harrison 3,805 David Butcher
    Henderson Martyn Finlay 401 W A Adams
    Heretaunga Ron Bailey 336 Julie Cameron[5]
    Hobson Logan Sloane Neill Austin 4,101 Howard Manning [nb 1]
    Hutt Trevor Young 1,019 B R Newell
    Invercargill J. B. Munro Norman Jones 2,533 J. B. Munro
    Island Bay Gerald O'Brien 1,274 W C Nathan
    Kapiti Frank O'Flynn Barry Brill 2,222 Frank O'Flynn
    Karori Jack Marshall Hugh Templeton 4,830 Margaret Shields
    King Country Jim Bolger 4,316 T D Varnam
    Lyttelton Tom McGuigan Colleen Dewe 999 Tom McGuigan
    Manawatu Allan McCready 2,918 A C Eyles
    Mangere Colin Moyle 1,604 S A Lawson
    Manukau Roger Douglas 678 B R Leaming
    Manurewa Phil Amos Merv Wellington 1,358 Phil Amos
    Marlborough Ian Brooks Edward Latter 3,010 Ian Brooks
    Miramar Bill Young 1,749 John Wybrow
    Mt Albert Warren Freer 247 Frank Ryan
    Napier Gordon Christie 931 J K W Isles
    Nelson Stanley Whitehead 1,093 I D McWhannel
    New Lynn Jonathan Hunt 890 B J O'Connor
    New Plymouth Ron Barclay Tony Friedlander 1,935 Ron Barclay
    North Shore George Gair 5,247 Mrs W N Hoadley
    Oamaru Bill Laney Jonathan Elworthy 2,196 W R Laney
    Onehunga Hugh Watt Frank Rogers 1,044 K A O'Brien
    Otago Central Ian Quigley Warren Cooper 2,371 Ian Quigley
    Otahuhu Bob Tizard 3,785 Mrs L E Morris
    Pahiatua Keith Holyoake 6,769 R A Garden
    Pakuranga Gavin Downie 7,016 Geoff Braybrooke
    Palmerston North Joe Walding John Lithgow 142 Joe Walding
    Papanui Bert Walker 2,985 R A Garden
    Petone Fraser Colman 2,834 B R Gluyas
    Piako Jack Luxton 6,174 Helen Clark
    Porirua Gerard Wall 2,265 R A Doughty
    Raglan Douglas Carter Marilyn Waring 3,756 W D Pickering
    Rakaia Colin McLachlan 5,237 G W Lowrie
    Rangiora Kerry Burke Derek Quigley 1,386 Kerry Burke
    Rangitikei Roy Jack 1,756 Bruce Beetham
    Remuera Allan Highet 8,656 G B Mead
    Riccarton Eric Holland 4,766 D A Johnson
    Rodney Peter Wilkinson 7,817 J Prebble
    Roskill Arthur Faulkner 530 John Maurice Priestley[6]
    Rotorua Harry Lapwood 3,605 Peter Tapsell
    Ruahine Les Gandar 2,763 R J Willing
    St Albans Roger Drayton 1,570 Ms P R Rotherberg
    St Kilda William Fraser 1,890 G B Heslop
    South Canterbury Rob Talbot 4,301 N B Lambert
    Stratford David Thomson 5,667 P P Hopkins
    Sydenham John Kirk 3,817 P K Matheson
    Tamaki Robert Muldoon 6,735 C T Kaye
    Tasman Bill Rowling 529 Peter Malone
    Taupo Jack Ridley Ray La Varis 1,614 Jack Ridley
    Tauranga Keith Allen 4,843 R J Hendry
    Timaru Basil Arthur 1,011 D A J Walker
    Waikato Lance Adams-Schneider 7,073 B G West
    Wairarapa Jack Williams Ben Couch 1,468 Jack Williams
    Waitemata Michael Bassett Dail Jones 1,385 Michael Bassett
    Wallace Brian Talboys 6,978 I D Lamont
    Wanganui Russell Marshall 1,244 J G Rowan
    Wellington Central Ken Comber 1,076 D A Shand
    West Coast Paddy Blanchfield 2,401 Barry Dallas
    Western Hutt Henry May Brian Lambert 109 Henry May
    Whangarei Murray Smith John Elliott 2,710 Murray Smith
    Wigram Mick Connelly 1,967 P N Russell
    Māori electorates
    Eastern Maori Paraone Reweti 6,261 M Searancke
    Northern Maori Matiu Rata 4,151 Winston Peters
    Southern Maori Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan 6,452 W K Amaru
    Western Maori Koro Wētere 8,925 E. S. Rangi

    Table footnotes:

    1. David Lange came third for Labour in Hobson



    External links

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