Story: Electoral systems

1951 election: National Party poster (1st of 2)

1951 election: National Party poster

The period from 1938 to 1951 was the high-water mark for the first-past-the-post electoral system in New Zealand. In four of the five general elections held during this period, a single party not only won an absolute majority of the seats in Parliament, but also more than half the votes cast by electors. This campaign poster from the 1951 election urges electors to vote National for ‘a strong Government’. They did, but 1951 was to be the last time in New Zealand that a political party won more than half the votes cast in a general election.

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Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: Eph-B-LABOUR-UFS-1951-01

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Nigel S. Roberts, 'Electoral systems - Back to first-past-the-post', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 24 May 2022)

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