Story: Voting rights

British elections

British elections

New Zealand elections were based on the British model with which almost all of the colonists were familiar. Along with the model came the vigorous assertion of a programme of reforms known as chartism. In the late 1830s and 1840s calls for universal male suffrage, the secret ballot, electorates of equal size, annual elections, the abolition of the property qualification for parliamentary candidates and the payment of members of Parliament were the key demands of a mass movement. The great waves of migration from Britain brought these ideas to the Australasian colonies. New Zealand settlers’ desire to create a better Britain included leaving behind the violence and corruption that were commonplace during elections. This 1801 engraving by Thomas Cook (based on a work by William Hogarth), shows an English polling place.

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Auckland Art Gallery – Toi o Tāmaki
Engraving after a painting by William Hogarth

Permission of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Neill Atkinson, 'Voting rights - First voting rights, 1852', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/artwork/36420/british-elections (accessed 19 November 2019)

Story by Neill Atkinson, published 20 Jun 2012, reviewed & revised 17 Feb 2015