Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
New Zealand general election 1984
The 1984 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of the New Zealand Parliament. It marked the beginning of the Fourth Labour Government, with David Lange's Labour Party defeating long-serving Prime Minister Robert Muldoon of the National Party. It was also the last election in which the Social Credit Party won seats as an independent entity. The election was also the only one in which the New Zealand Party, a protest party, played any substantial role.
Before the election, the National Party governed with forty-seven seats, a small majority. The opposition Labour Party held forty-three seats, and the Social Credit Party held two. Although National theoretically commanded a two seat lead over the other parties, dissent within the National caucus (particularly by Marilyn Waring and Mike Minogue ) resulted in serious problems for National leader Robert Muldoon.
The 1984 election was called when Marilyn Waring told Muldoon that she would not support his government in the vote over an opposition-sponsored anti-nuclear bill. Muldoon, visibly drunk, announced a snap election on national television. There is debate over whether the election was necessary - Waring had not threatened to block confidence and supply , meaning that the government could still have continued on even if it had lost the anti-nuclear vote. Nevertheless, Muldoon appears to have wanted an election to reinforce his mandate (just as Sidney Holland had sought and won a mandate to oppose striking dock-workers with the 1951 snap election).
Muldoon's government, which had been growing increasingly unpopular in its third term, was seen as rigid, inflexible, and increasingly unresponsive to public concerns. The Labour Party had actually gained a majority of the vote in the previous two elections, but had narrowly missed out on getting a majority of the seats. Labour's primary campaign message was one of change - Muldoon's government, which employed wage and price controls in an attempt to "guide" the economy, was widely blamed for poor economic performance. Labour also campaigned to reduce government borrowing.
The New Zealand Party, founded by property tycoon Bob Jones, was launched primarily to oppose the Muldoon government (although it did not support Labour). A right-wing liberal party, it promoted free market economic policies that contrasted sharply with the paternalist and somewhat authoritarian policies of National, the other significant right-wing party.
The election was held on the 14th of July. 2,111,651 people were registered to vote in the elections. Turnout was 93.7%, the highest turnout ever recorded in a New Zealand election. Most political scientists attribute the high turnout to a desire by voters for change.
Summary of results
The 1984 election saw the Labour Party win fifty-six of the ninety-five seats in parliament, a gain of thirteen. This was enough for it to hold an outright majority. The National Party won only thirty-seven seats, a loss of ten. The New Zealand Party, despite winning 12.2% of the vote, failed to gain any seats at all. Social Credit managed to win two seats, the same number as it had held previously. The Values Party, an environmentalist group, gained fifth place, but no seats.
|Party||Candidates||Total votes||Percentage||Seats won|
|New Zealand Party||95||236,385||12.2%||-|
|Social Credit Party||95||147,162||7.6%||2|
There were ninety-five seats being contested in the 1984 elections, three more than were in the previous parliament. All but two of these seats were won by one of the two major parties.
The Labour Party, previously in opposition, won fifty-six seats, an outright majority. Most of the seats won by Labour were in urban areas, following the party's typical pattern. Exceptions to this general trend include the eastern tip of the North Island and the western coast of the South Island. Labour's strongest regions were the Wellington area (where the party won every seat), as well as Auckland, Christchurch, and Dunedin (cities in which it won most seats). Smaller cities such as Hamilton, Nelson, Napier, Hastings, and Palmerston North were also won by Labour. As expected, Labour also won all four Maori seats, maintaining its traditional strength there.
The National Party, the incumbent government, was (as expected) strongest in rural areas. Most of the rural North Island was won by National, as were a most of the rural areas on the South Island's eastern coast. In the larger cities, the party fared poorly, with Auckland and Christchurch being the only places that the party won seats. It was more successful in smaller cities, however, winning Rotorua, Tauranga, Invercargill, New Plymouth, and Whangarei. It placed second in two Maori electorates, and third in the other two.
The only minor party to win electorates was the Social Credit Party, which won East Coast Bays and Pakuranga (both in Auckland). It had held East Coast Bays before the election, but won Pakuranga for the first time. It did not manage to retain Rangitikei, which it had also held before the election. Social Credit candidates placed second in six electorates, including Rangitikei.
The New Zealand Party, despite gaining more votes than Social Credit, did not win any seats. Some commentators have suggested that the party was not seeking to do so, and instead was merely acting as a spoiler for National. This impression has been backed up by comments by Bob Jones himself. The party did, however, place second in the electorates of Remuera (an affluent part of Auckland), Kaimai (a region in the Bay of Plenty), and Tauranga.
The Values Party, an environmentalist group, managed to win 0.2% of the vote, substantially below previous efforts. The party, which was in slow decline, would eventually vanish, but its ideals and goals would be reborn in the Green Party.
In two of the Maori electorates, the Mana Motuhake party gained second place, but the party did not gain a substantial number of votes elsewhere.
No independent candidates won seats, but one independent candidate placed second in the electorate of Nelson.
|MPs Elected in 1984|
|Key:||Labour Party||National Party||New Zealand Party|
|Social Credit Party||Mana Motuhake||Independent|
|Ashburton||Rob Talbert||G Stone|
|Auckland Central||Richard Prebble||M Eardley-Wilmot|
|Avon||Mary Batchelor||A P Cowie|
|Awarua||Rex Austin||B G Raitt|
|Bay of Islands||Neil Austin||L W Hunter|
|Birkenhead||Jim McLay||J E T Course|
|Christchurch Central||Geoffrey Palmer||A A P Willy|
|Christchurch North||New Electorate||Mike Moore||D J L Dumergue|
|Clutha||Robin Gray||M J Sheppard|
|Dunedin North||Stan Rodger||B Henderson|
|Dunedin West||New Electorate||Clive Matthewson||D G P Russell|
|East Cape||Duncan MacIntyre||Anne Fraser||R J Leeming|
|East Coast Bays||Gary Knapp||Murray McCully|
|Eastern Hutt||T J Young||M J McLauchlan|
|Eden||A G Malcolm||Richard Northey||A G Malcom|
|Fendalton||Philip Burdon||M J Dobson|
|Franklin||New Electorate||Bill Birch||R Haywood|
|Gisborne||R L Bell||Allan Wallbank||R L Bell|
|Glenfield||New Electorate||Judy Keall||D L Schnauer|
|Hamilton West||Ian Shearer||B Dillon||Ian Shearer|
|Hamilton West||Mike Minogue||Trevor Mallard||Mike Minogue|
|Hastings||David Butcher||P D Brown|
|Hauraki||Graeme Lee||A D T Thompson|
|Hawkes Bay||Richard Harrison||Bill Sutton||Richard Harrison|
|Heretaunga||Bill Jeffries||A J MacFarlane|
|Horowhenua||Geoff Thompson||Annette King||Geoff Thompson|
|Invercargill||Norman Jones||D E H Soper|
|Island Bay||Frank O'Flynn||J Kananghinis|
|Kaimai||Bruce Townshend||L J B Dickson|
|Kaipara||P I Wilkinson||Lockwood Smith||W J Campbell|
|Kapiti||Margaret Shields||I J Oakley|
|King Country||Jim Bolger||J E Simons|
|Lyttelton||Ann Hercus||D G Graham|
|Manawatu||Michael Cox||D C Alton|
|Mangere||David Lange||P L Saunders|
|Manurewa||Roger Douglas||S Leenstra|
|Marlborough||Doug Kidd||G MacDonald|
|Matamata||John Luxton||R I Clow|
|Miramar||Peter Nielson||D Crosbie|
|Mount Albert||Helen Clark||R O Cavanagh|
|Napier||Geoff Braybrooke||M P Liddell|
|Nelson||Philip Woollaston||Mel Courtney|
|New Lynn||Jonathan Hunt||R A Hanson|
|New Plymouth||Tony Friedlander||Ida Gaskin|
|North Shore||George Gair||P J Harris|
|Ohariu||Hugh Templeton||Peter Dunne||Hugh Templeton|
|Onehunga||Fred Gerbic||C A Freeman|
|Otago||Warren Cooper||J D Polson|
|Otara||New Electorate||Colin Moyle||M M M Tahia|
|Pahiatua||John Falloon||M Brazendale|
|Pakuranga||Pat Hunt||Neil Morrison||Pat Hunt|
|Palmerston North||Trevor De Cleene||C G Singleton|
|Panmure||New Electorate||Bob Tizard||C Tedesco|
|Papakura||Merv Wellington||D L John|
|Papatoetoe||Eddie Isbey||P F O'Brien|
|Pencarrow||F M Colman||K J B Cranston|
|Porirua||Gerard Wall||A L Gadsby|
|Raglan||New Electorate||Simon Upton||L Holmes|
|Rangiora||Derek Quigley||Jim Gerard||B C Tomlinson|
|Rangitikei||Bruce Beetham||Dennis Marshall||Bruce Beetham|
|Remuera||Doug Graham||K L Sandford|
|Rodney||New Electorate||Don McKinnon||B R Dent|
|Roskill||Phil Goff||C N Knowles|
|Rotorua||Paul East||B D Arps|
|St Albans||David Caygill||I G B Wilson|
|St Kilda||Michael Cullen||J S Clark|
|Selwyn||Ruth Richardson||C E Manning|
|Sydenham||John Kirk||Jim Anderton||E L Bonisch|
|Tamaki||Robert Muldoon||R Tulloch|
|Taranaki||D S Thomson||Roger Maxwell||G N Waters|
|Tarawera||Ian McLean||M R Moore|
|Tasman||Bill Rowling||Ken Shirley||G H Hunt|
|Tauranga||K R Allen||Winston Peters||D J Parlour|
|Te Atatu||Michael Bassett||F W G Diment|
|Timaru||Basil Arthur||Maurice McTigue|
|Tongariro||New Electorate||Noel Scott||N F Rangi|
|Waikaremoana||New Electorate||Roger McClay||J N Hare|
|Waikato||Simon Upton||Rob Storey||P J Cleave|
|Waipa||Marilyn Waring||Katherine O'Regan||A H Allen|
|Wairarapa||Ben Couch||Reg Boorman||Ben Couch|
|Waitakere||Ralph Maxwell||J C McIntosh|
|Waitaki||Jonathan Elworthy||Jim Sutton||Jonathan Elworthy|
|Waitotara||Venn Young||S C Perry|
|Wallace||Derek Angus||C J Fisher|
|Wanganui||Russell Marshall||Terry Heffernan|
|Wellington Central||Fran Wilde||R A Young Rouse|
|West Auckland||New Electorate||Jack Elder||D M J Jones|
|West Coast||Thomas Burke||J W Bateman|
|Western Hutt||John Terris||J W Tanner|
|Whangarei||John Banks||B C Magner|
|Yaldhurst||M A Connelly||Margaret Austin||H Joseph|
|Eastern Maori||Peter Tapsell||B R Kiwara|
|Northern Maori||Bruce Gregory||Matiu Rata|
|Southern Maori||Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan||N A Reedy|
|Western Maori||Koro Wetere||W S Katene|
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