New Zealand general election, 1960

New Zealand general election, 1960
New Zealand general election, 1960
New Zealand
1957 ←
November 26, 1960 (1960-11-26)
→ 1963

All 80 seats in the Parliament of New Zealand
41 seats were needed for a majority
Turnout 1,170,503 (89.8%)
  First party Second party
  Keith Holyoake (1960).jpg Walter Nash (ca 1940s).jpg
Leader Keith Holyoake Walter Nash
Party National Labour
Leader since 1957 1951
Leader's seat Pahiatua Hutt
Last election 39 seats, 44.2% 41 seats, 48.3%
Seats won 46 34
Seat change increase 7 decrease 7
Popular vote 557,046 508,179
Percentage 47.6% 43.4%
Swing increase 3.4% decrease 4.9%

Prime Minister before election

Walter Nash

Elected Prime Minister

Keith Holyoake

The 1960 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of the New Zealand Parliament's 33rd term. It saw the governing Labour Party defeated by the National Party, putting an end to the short second Labour government.


The Labour Party had won the 1957 elections by a narrow margin, beginning New Zealand's second period of Labour government. However, the new administration soon lost its narrow lead in public opinion, with its financial policies being the principal cause of dissatisfaction. The so-called "Black Budget", introduced by Arnold Nordmeyer, increased taxes substantially, with particularly large increases for alcohol and tobacco taxes — Labour became widely seen as both miserly and puritanical. The government defended its tax increases as a necessary measure to avert a balance of payments crisis, but the opposition, led by Keith Holyoake, made substantial gains out of the issue.

The election

The date for the main 1960 elections was 26 November. 1,310,742 people were registered to vote, and turnout was 89.8%. This turnout was slightly lower than what had been recorded in the previous elections. The number of seats being contested was 80, a number which had been fixed since 1902.


The 1960 election saw the governing Labour Party defeated by a twelve-seat margin. It had previously held a two-seat majority. Labour won a total of thirty-four seats, while the National Party won forty-six. In the popular vote, Labour won 43.4% to National's 47.6%, becoming the second National government.

The Social Credit Party won 8.6% of the vote, but no seats. Three of their candidates missed the nomination deadline, and the opening address of P.H. Matthews was not noteworthy.

Three new National members of parliament were called the Young Turks: Peter Gordon, Duncan MacIntyre and Robert Muldoon.

Party Leader Votes Percentage Seats won change
National Keith Holyoake 557,046 47.6% 46 +7
Labour Walter Nash 508,179 43.4% 34 -7
Social Credit P H Matthews 100,905 8.6% 0
Communist 2,423 0.2% 0
Others (including independents) 1,950 0.2 0
National win 1,170,503 100% 80

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