New Zealand general election 1987

From Academic Kids

The 1987 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of the New Zealand Parliament. The governing New Zealand Labour Party, led by Prime Minister David Lange, was re-elected for a second term, although the Opposition National Party made gains. The election also saw the elimination of the Democratic Party (formerly known as the Social Credit Party) from Parliament, leaving Labour and National as the only parties with representation.

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Contents

Background

Before the election, the Labour Party (in government) held 56 seats, giving it an absolute majority in Parliament. The National Party (in opposition) held 37 seats. The Democrats, a small party devoted to the principles of Social Credit, held two seats.

Of particular importance in the election were the economic reforms being undertaken by Roger Douglas, the Minister of Finance. These reforms, sometimes known as "Rogernomics", involved monetarist approaches to controlling inflation, the sale of state assets, and the removal of tariffs and subsidies. All these things were strongly opposed by many traditional Labour supporters, who saw them as a betrayal of the party's left-wing principles. Many commentators believed that public anger over Rogernomics could cost the government the election.

Another matter of importance, and perhaps one which enabled Labour to survive public dissatisfaction, was the nuclear issue. In the previous parliamentary term, New Zealand had adopted legislation which prevented nuclear weapons or nuclear-powered ships entering New Zealand, a move which provoked an angry reaction from New Zealand's allies in the ANZUS treaty. The National Party intended to revoke the ban, but the New Zealand public were supportive of it. Labour's support for the ban is often considered to be an important factor in the party's re-election.

The election

The election was held on 15 August. 2,114,656 people were registered to vote. Turnout was 89.1%, somewhat lower than the 1984 election.

Summary of results

The 1987 election saw the Labour Party win 57 seats in parliament, enough for it to retain its outright majority. Labour held one more seat than after the previous elections. The National Party won 40 seats, an increase of three. It was possible for both parties to increase their number of seats partly due to the disappearance of the Democrats and partly due to the increase in the total number of seats.

Although Labour emerged from the elections with a 17-seat lead over National, the actual difference between each party's vote count was considerably smaller. Labour's share of the total vote was 48.0% (up from 43.0% in 1984), while National's was 44.0% (up from 35.5%). While Labour did retain its lead, the gap between Labour and National closed by a larger extent than the seat count would indicate.

The Democrats, despite winning 5.7% of the total vote, did not win any electorates, including the two which they had held before the election. The Democrats have not regained parliamentary represenation under their own name since losing it in these elections, although did manage to enter parliament as part of the larger Alliance.

The New Zealand Party, which had gained 12.2% of the vote in the previous election, performed poorly, gaining less that 0.1% support.

Detailed results

Displayed on the table are:

  • The number of candidates the party put forward.
  • The total number of votes received by all the party's candidates.
  • The percentage of the whole that these votes make up.
  • The number of seats that the party won.
Party Candidates Total votes Percentage Seats won
Labour Party 97 878,448 48.0% 59
National Party 97 806,305 44.0% 40
Democratic Party 97 105,091 5.7% -
Others 133 41,933 2.3% -

There were 97 seats being contested, two more than were in the previous parliament. All of these seats (and thus all representation in parliament) were won by one of the two major parties.

The Labour Party, which was in government, won 57 seats, giving it a majority. Most of the seats won by Labour were in urban areas, following the party's typical pattern. Labour was particularly strong in the Wellington region, where it won all ten urban seats. It was also strong in Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin, the other three urban centres, as well as smaller cities such as Hamilton, New Plymouth, Nelson, Napier, Hastings and Palmerston North. Labour also retained its traditional dominance in the Maori seats, winning all four by large margins.

The National Party, also following its traditional patters, was strongest in rural areas, winning the vast majority of seats in these regions. The party's primary wins in urban areas were in Auckland, with the party taking six seats. The party also won a number of seats in smaller cities, such as Rotorua, Tauranga, Invercargill and Whangarei. The party performed poorly in the Maori electorates, coming third in all four.

While no minor parties managed to win an electorate, several did manage to gain second place, outperforming one of the major parties but being defeated by the other. The Democrats (formerly Social Credit) was the strongest of the minor parties, coming second in five electorates. Two electorates, East Coast Bays and Pakuranga, were held by the Democrats prior to the election, but were narrowly lost to National candidates. In the other electorates (Coromandel, Rangitikei and Wanganui) the Democrats were the challengers. In the four Maori electorates, the Mana Motuhake party gained second place. Its best result, 31.6%, was obtained in Northern Maori. The New Zealand Party also performed strongly in some electorates, although not as strongly as in the previous election.

Independent candidates did not perform well in the 1987 elections, with none of them winning a seat or even placing second.

MPs Elected in 1987 Papatoetoe:
Ross Robertson
Titirangi:
Ralph Maxwell
Albany:
Don McKinnon
Gisborne:
Allan Wallbank
Maramarua:
Bill Birch
Pencarrow:
Sonja Davies
Tongariro:
Noel Scott
Ashburton:
Jenny Shipley
Glenfield:
Judy Keall
Marlborough:
Doug Kidd
Porirua:
Graham Kelly
Waikaremoana:
Roger McClay
Auckland Central:
Richard Prebble
Hamilton East:
B Dillon
Matamata:
John Luxton
Raglan:
Simon Upton
Waikato:
Rob Storey
Avon:
Larry Sutherland
Hamilton West:
Trevor Mallard
Miramar:
P Neilson
Rangiora:
Jim Gerard
Waipa:
Katherine O'Regan
Awarua:
Jeff Grant
Hastings:
D J Butcher
Mount Albert:
Helen Clark
Rangitikei:
Dennis Marshall
Wairarapa:
Wyatt Creech
Bay of Islands:
John Carter
Hawkes Bay:
W D Sutton
Napier:
Geoff Braybrooke
Remuera:
Doug Graham
Waitaki:
Jim Sutton
Birkenhead:
Jenny Kirk
Heretaunga:
Bill Jeffries
Nelson:
Philip Woollaston
Roskill:
Phil Goff
Waitotara:
Venn Young
Christchurch Central:
Geoffrey Palmer
Hobson:
Ross Meurant
New Lynn:
Jonathan Hunt
Rotorua:
Paul East
Wallace:
D A Angus
Christchurch North:
Mike Moore
Horowhenua:
Annette King
New Plymouth:
Harry Duynhoven
St Albans:
David Caygill
Wanganui:
Russell Marshall
Clevedon:
Warren Kyd
Invercargill:
Rob Munro
North Shore:
George Gair
St Kilda:
Michael Cullen
Wellington Central:
Fran Wilde
Clutha:
Robin Gray
Island Bay:
Elizabeth Tennet
Ohariu:
Peter Dunne
Selwyn:
Ruth Richardson
West Auckland:
Jack Elder
Coromandel:
Graeme Lee
Kaimai:
R A Anderson
Onehunga:
Fred Gerbic
Sydenham:
Jim Anderton
West Coast:
Thomas Burke
Dunedin North:
Stan Rodger
Kaipara:
Lockwood Smith
Otago:
Warren Cooper
Tamaki:
Robert Muldoon
Western Hutt:
John Terris
Dunedin West:
Clive Matthewson
Kapiti:
Margaret Shields
Otara:
Colin Moyle
Taranaki:
Roger Maxwell
Whangarei:
John Banks
East Cape:
Anne Fraser
King Country:
Jim Bolger
Pahiatua:
James Falloon
Tarawera:
Ian McLean
Yaldhurst:
Margaret Austin
East Coast Bays:
Murray McCully
Lyttelton:
P A Simpson
Pakuranga:
Maurice Williamson
Tasman:
Ken Shirley
Eastern Maori:
Peter Tapsell
Eastern Hutt:
T J Young
Manawatu:
D J Robinson
Palmerston North:
Trevor De Cleene
Tauranga:
Winston Peters
Northern Maori:
Bruce Gregory
Eden:
Richard Northey
Mangere:
David Lange
Panmure:
Bob Tizard
Te Atatu:
Michael Bassett
Southern Maori:
Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan
Fendalton:
Philip Burdon
Manurewa:
Roger Douglas
Papakura:
Merv Wellington
Timaru:
Maurice McTigue
Western Maori:
Koro Wetere
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