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 – using 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. The effect of this was that 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