New Zealand general election, 1963

New Zealand general election, 1963
New Zealand general election, 1963
New Zealand
1960 ←
30 November 1963 (1963-11-30)
→ 1966

All 80 seats in the Parliament of New Zealand
41 seats were needed for a majority
Turnout 1,196,631 (89.6%)
  First party Second party
  Keith Holyoake (1960).jpg Arnold Nordmeyer (1950).jpg
Leader Keith Holyoake Arnold Nordmeyer
Party National Labour
Leader since 1957 1963
Leader's seat Pahiatua Island Bay
Last election 46 seats, 47.6% 34 seats, 43.4%
Seats won 45 35
Seat change decrease 1 increase 1
Popular vote 524,066 524,066
Percentage 47.1% 43.7%
Swing decrease 0.5% increase 0.6%

Prime Minister before election

Keith Holyoake

Elected Prime Minister

Keith Holyoake

The 1963 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of the New Zealand Parliament's 34th term. The results were almost identical to those for the previous election, and the governing National Party remained in office.


The 1960 elections had been won by the National Party, beginning New Zealand's second period of National government. Keith Holyoake, who had briefly been Prime Minister at the end of the first period, returned to office. The elderly leader of the Labour Party, Walter Nash, had agreed to step down following his government's defeat, but disliked the prospect of being succeeded by his Minister of Finance, Arnold Nordmeyer. Nash instead backed first Clarence (Gerry) Skinner and then, after Skinner's death, Fred Hackett. In the end, however, Nordmeyer was victorious. Nordmeyer, however, was unpopular with the general public, being remembered with hostility for the tax hikes in his so-called 'Black Budget'. Labour struggled to overcome this negative perception of its leader, and was only partially successful.

The election

The date for the main 1963 elections was 30 November. 1,345,836 people were registered to vote, and turnout was 89.6%. This turnout was around average for the time. The number of seats being contested was 80, a number which had been fixed since 1902.


The 1963 election saw the governing National Party retain office by a ten-seat margin. It had previously held office by a twelve-seat margin. National won a total of forty-five seats, while the Labour Party won thirty-five. In the popular vote, National won 47.1% to Labour's 43.7%. The Social Credit Party won 7.9% of the vote, but no seats. Four of their candidates also missed the nomination deadline.

Party Leader Votes Percentage Seats won change
National Keith Holyoake 563,875 47.1% 45 -1
Labour Arnold Nordmeyer 524,066 43.7% 35 +1
Social Credit Vernon Cracknell 95,176 7.9% 0
Liberal Party 10,339 0.9% 0
Communist 3,167 0.3% 0
Others (including independents) 1,422 0.1 0
National re-elected 1,196,631 100% 80

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