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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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