General elections 1853-2014 - dates and turnout

Dates and turnout of New Zealand General Elections from 1853 to 2014

Date of general election[1] Date of Maori election[2] Total no. of MPs[3] Total registered electors[4] Official turnout (%)[5]
1853 14 Jul-1 Oct   37 5,849  
1855 26 Oct-28 Dec   37 9,891[6]  
1860-1 12 Dec-28 Mar   53 13,196  
1866 12 Feb-6 Apr   70 29,320  
1868   15 Apr, 6 May 76    
1871 14 Jan-23 Feb 1, 15 Feb 78 41,527  
1875-6 20 Dec-29 Jan 4, 15 Jan 88 56,471  
1879 28 Aug-15 Sep 1, 8 Sep 88 82,271 66.5
1881 9 Dec (Fri) 8 Dec (Thu) 95 120,972 66.5
1884 22 Jul (Tue) 21 Jul (Mon) 95 137,686 60.6
1887 26 Sep (Mon) 7 Sep (Wed) 95 175,410 67.1
1890 5 Dec (Fri) 27 Nov (Wed) 74 183,171 80.4
1893 28 Nov (Tue) 20 Dec (Wed) 74 302,997 75.3
1896 4 Dec (Wed) 19 Dec (Thu) 74 337,024 76.1
1899 6 Dec (Wed) 19 Dec (Tue) 74 373,744 77.6
1902 25 Nov (Tue) 22 Dec (Mon) 80 415,789 76.7
1905 6 Dec (Wed) 20 Dec (Wed) 80 476,473 83.3
1908 17, 24 Nov & 1 Dec (Tue)[7] 2 Dec (Wed) 80 537,003 79.8
1911 7, 14 Dec (Thu) 19 Dec (Tue) 80 590,042 83.5
1914 10 Dec (Thu) 11 Dec (Fri) 80 616,043 84.7
1919 17 Dec (Wed) 16 Dec (Tue) 80 683,420 80.5
1922 7 Dec (Tue) 6 Dec (Mon) 80 700,111 88.7
1925 4 Nov (Wed) 3 Nov (Tue) 80 754,113 90.9
1928 14 Nov (Wed) 13 Nov (Tue) 80 844,633 88.1
1931 2 Dec (Wed) 1 Dec (Tue) 80 874,787 83.3
1935 27 Nov (Wed) 26 Nov (Tue) 80 919,798 90.8
1938 15 Oct (Sat) 14 Oct (Fri) 80 995,173 92.9
1943 25 Sep (Sat) 24 Sep (Fri) 80 1,021,034[8] 82.8
1946 27 Nov (Wed) 26 Nov (Tue) 80 1,081,898 93.5
1949 30 Nov (Wed) 29 Nov (Tue) 80 1,113,852 93.5
1951 1 Sep (Sat hereafter)   80 1,205,762 89.1
1954 13 Nov   80 1,209,670 91.4
1957 30 Nov   80 1,252,329 92.9
1960 26 Nov   80 1,310,742 89.8
1963 30 Nov   80 1,345,836 89.6
1966 26 Nov   80 1,409,600 86.0
1969 29 Nov   84 1,519,889 88.9
1972 25 Nov   87 1,583,256 89.1
1975 29 Nov   87 1,953,050 82.5
1978 25 Nov   92 2,487,594 69.2[9]
1981 28 Nov   92 2,034,747 91.4
1984 14 Jul   95 2,111,651 93.7
1987 15 Aug   97 2,114,656 89.1
1990 27 Oct   97 2,202,157 85.2
1993 6 Nov   99 2,321,664 85.2
1996 12 Oct   120 2,418,587 88.3
1999 27 Nov   120 2,509,365 84.8
2002 27 Jul   120 2,670,030 77.0
2005 17 Sep   121 2,847,396 80.9
2008 8 Nov   122 2,990,759 79.5
2011 26 Nov   121 3,070,847 74.2
2014 20 Sep   121 3,140,417 77.9

[1] From 1853 to 1879 general elections took place over a period of weeks or months. As many members were returned unopposed in these years, the range of dates given covers both nomination day and (where required) the day of polling. From 1881 a single day was specified for voting in all general (European) seats, although Maori voting was held on a different day. Since 1951 elections in general and Maori seats have taken place on the same day, and always on a Saturday.

[2] Between 1868 and 1879 dates are given for both nomination and (if required) polling in the four Maori seats. At the first elections in 1868 three of the four members were elected on nomination day (15 Apr), two without opposition and one by show of hands; the fourth was returned in a poll on 6 May. From 1881 only the day of Maori polling is given.

[3] From 1868 includes Maori MPs.

[4] Includes electors enrolled in uncontested seats, who are excluded when calculating turnout (note that all seats have been contested since 1943). Figures from 1860-1 to 1879 exclude gold miners, who were entitled to vote without registration. In 1864 there were 11,838 males aged over 21 on the Otago goldfields, while in 1869-70 20,300 miners throughout New Zealand were entitled to vote under this provision. Maori are excluded until 1951. Rolls for the Maori seats were not compiled until 1949, and those used for that election were clearly incomplete (more votes were cast than electors enrolled). If the official figures for Maori were included, the 1949 turnout would be 94.6%.

[5] Uncontested seats are excluded. Maori are excluded until 1951. Note that the method of calculating official turnout has changed several times: until 1954 it was valid votes plus informal votes as a percentage of total enrolled electors; from 1957 to 1978 valid votes plus informal votes as a percentage of total enrolled electors plus allowed special votes; from 1981 valid votes, informal votes and disallowed special votes as a percentage of total enrolled electors.

[6] Includes an estimated 485 electors enrolled in the New Plymouth, Grey & Bell and Omata electorates, for which figures are not available.

[7] The Second Ballot Act 1908 provided for second ballots (where required) to be held seven days after the first ballot except in ten large rural seats, where fourteen days was allowed. In 1908, 22 second ballots were held on 24 Nov and one (Bay of Plenty) on 1 Dec. At the 1911 election, all 30 second ballots were held seven days later. The Second Ballot Act, which did not apply to the Maori seats, was repealed in 1913. The figures for turnout in these years are for first ballots only.

[8] The figures for enrolled electors and turnout are for civilians only; an additional 92,934 military votes were cast.

[9] This figure is misleading because the electoral rolls in 1978 contained a large number of outdated and duplicate entries. If the 361,000 names deleted in 1979-80 are subtracted, the turnout was 79.9%.

 

 

Last updated: 30 August 2016