Story: Electoral systems

Seats in the House of Representatives, 1890–1905

This interactive diagram shows the distribution of seats in the House of Representatives in successive elections from 1890 to 1905. The 1890 election was the first time a formal party – the Liberal Party – emerged on the political scene in New Zealand. At that time the House of Representatives was elected using plurality voting systems – first-past-the-post in either single-member or multi-member districts. A winning candidate simply needed to get more votes than any other candidate. Smaller groupings and minority interests were not very likely to win seats and, as a result, the winning party was likely to gain a majority in the House of Representatives. This happened consistently during these years, when the Liberal Party always won a majority of the seats in the House.

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Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Sources: Dieter Nohlen, Florian Grotz, and Christof Hartmann, Elections in Asia and the Pacific: a data handbook. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001, p. 731–734; New Zealand Election Results

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How to cite this page:

Nigel S. Roberts, 'Electoral systems - First-past-the-post and two-round elections', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 25 October 2021)

Story by Nigel S. Roberts, published 20 Jun 2012, updated 1 Feb 2015