New Zealand general election, 2002

New Zealand general election, 2002
New Zealand
27 July 2002 (2002-07-27)

120 seats in the New Zealand House of Representatives
61 seats needed for a majority
Turnout 2,055,404 (76.98%) Decrease7.79%
  First party Second party Third party
Leader Helen Clark Bill English Winston Peters
Party Labour National NZ First
Leader since 1993 2001 1993
Leader's seat Mount Albert Clutha-Southland Tauranga
Last election 49 seats, 38.74% 39 seats, 30.50% 5 seats, 4.26%
Seats won 52 27 13
Seat change Increase 3 Decrease 12 Increase 8
Popular vote 838,219 425,310 210,912
Percentage 41.26% 20.93% 10.38%
Swing Increase 2.52% Decrease 9.57% Increase 6.12%

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
Leader Richard Prebble Rod Donald / Jeanette Fitzsimons Peter Dunne
Party ACT Green United Future
Leader since 1996 1995 / 1995 2000
Leader's seat List List / List Ohariu-Belmont
Last election 9 seats, 7.04% 7 seats, 5.16% 1 seat, 1.65%a
Seats won 9 9 8
Seat change Steady 0 Increase 2 Increase 7
Popular vote 145,078 142,250 135,918
Percentage 7.14% 7.00% 6.69%
Swing Increase 0.10% Increase 1.84% Increase 5.04%

  Seventh party Eighth party
Leader Jim Anderton Laila Harré
Party Progressive Alliance
Leader since 2002 (party foundation) 2002
Leader's seat Wigram List (lost seat)
Last election Not yet founded 10 seats, 7.74%
Seats won 2 0
Seat change Increase 2 Decrease 10
Popular vote 34,542 25,888
Percentage 1.70% 1.27%
Swing Increase 1.70% Decrease 6.47%

Prime Minister before election

Helen Clark

Subsequent Prime Minister

Helen Clark

The 2002 New Zealand general election was held on 27 July 2002 to determine the composition of the 47th New Zealand Parliament. It saw the reelection of Helen Clark's Labour Party government, as well as the worst-ever performance by the opposition National Party.

Arguably the most controversial issue in the election campaign was the end of a moratorium on genetic engineering, strongly opposed by the Green Party. Some commentators have claimed that the tension between Labour and the Greens on this issue was a more notable part of the campaign than any tension between Labour and its traditional right-wing opponents. The release of Nicky Hager's book Seeds of Distrust prior to the election also sparked much debate. The book examined how the government handled the contamination of a shipment of imported corn with genetically modified seeds. Helen Clark called the Greens "goths and anarcho-feminists" during the campaign.


On 12 June the government announced that the country would have a general election on 27 July. This was several months earlier than was required, a fact which caused considerable comment. The Prime Minister, Helen Clark, claimed that an early poll was necessary due to the collapse of her junior coalition partner, the Alliance. Critics, however, claimed that Clark could have continued to govern, and that the early election was called to take advantage of Labour's strong position in the polls.[1] Some commentators believe that a mixture of these factors was responsible.

Before the election, the Labour Party held 49 seats in parliament. It governed in coalition with the smaller (and more left-wing) Alliance, which had 10 seats. It also relied on support from the Greens, but this was a largely informal arrangement, and the Greens were not a part of the administration itself. Opposing Labour were the National Party (centre-right), New Zealand First (radical centrist and nationalist), ACT New Zealand (strongly supportive of the free market), and United Future (centrist). Many opinion polls, indicated that Labour was popular enough to conceivably win an absolute majority, leaving it able to govern without the support of smaller parties. Labour's dominance over National was such that for many people, the question was not whether Labour would win, but whether Labour would receive the absolute majority it sought.

The election

There were 2,670,030 registered voters, the highest number for any election in New Zealand. However, only 77% of these registered voters chose to cast a vote, a considerable drop from previous elections. Many commentators cited Labour's dominance in the polls as a reason for this lack of voting. Many people saw the outcome as inevitable, and so did not bother to vote at all.

In the election 683 candidates stood, and there were 14 registered parties with party lists. Of the candidates, 433 were electorate and list, 160 were electorate only, and 90 were list only. 71% of candidates (487) were male and 29% (196) female.[2][3]

Summary of results

As most people expected, Labour was victorious. It did not, however, receive an absolute majority, gaining only 52 seats (eight seats short of the half-way mark). Labour's former coalition partner, the Alliance (which had splintered shortly before the election), was not returned to parliament. However, the new Progressive Coalition (now the Progressive Party) started by former Alliance leader Jim Anderton won two seats, and remained allied with Labour. The Greens, who were now distanced from Labour over the genetic engineering controversy, gained nine seats (an increase of two).

In general, it was a bad election for the parties of the right. The National Party, once referred to as "the natural party of government", suffered its worst-ever electoral defeat, gaining only 21% of the vote. ACT New Zealand, National's more right-wing neighbour, failed to capitalize on the exodus of National supporters, retaining the same number of seats as before. Instead, the most notable gains among opposition parties were made by two centrist parties. One of these was Winston Peters's New Zealand First party, a radical centrist and nationalist party opposed to immigration. Strong campaigning by Peters allowed the party to recover from its serious losses in the 1999 election. The other was United Future New Zealand party, a centrist party based on a merger of the United Party and the Future New Zealand party - primarily due to the performance of leader Peter Dunne, the party shot from having one seat to having eight seats.

Once the final distribution of seats was determined, it was clear that Labour would be at the centre of the government, and that it would be allied with the Progressives. However, this still left Labour needing support in matters of confidence and supply, as the two parties together fell short of an absolute majority. Labour expressed a preference for an "agreement" rather than a full coalition, hoping to establish an arrangement similar to the one that existed with the Greens prior to the election. Three realistic choices existed for a partner - the Greens, United Future, and New Zealand First. Labour had repeatedly ruled out deals with New Zealand First during the election campaign, and reaffirmed this soon after the election, leaving just the Greens and United Future as candidates. After a period of negotiation, Labour opted to ally with United Future, being unwilling to change their genetic engineering policies to secure the Green Party's support.

Labour and the Progressives remained in power, with support in confidence and supply votes from United Future.

Detailed results

Parliamentary parties

  Summary of the 27 July 2002 New Zealand House of Representatives election results
party votes % of votes seats
% change electorate list total change
Labour 838,219 41.26 +2.52 45 7 52 +3
National 425,310 20.93 -9.57 21 6 27 -12
NZ First 210,912 10.38 +6.12 1 12 13 +8
ACT 145,078 7.14 +0.10 0 9 9 0
Green 142,250 7.00 +1.84 0 9 9 +2
United Future 135,918 6.69 +5.04a 1 7 8 +7
Progressive 34,542 1.70 +1.70 1 1 2 +2
other parties 99,388 4.89 -7.76 0 0 0 -10b
total 2,031,617 100.00 69 51 120 0
informal votes 8,631
disallowed special votes 15,156
total votes cast 2,055,404
turnout 76.98%

a Increase over the combined 1999 results of United and Future parties.
b Loss of ten seats by 'other parties' entirely due to disintegration of Alliance.

Non-parliamentary parties

  Summary of MMP vote for minor
unrepresented registered parties.
Party Votes % Change
Christian Heritage 27,492 1.35 -1.03
Outdoor Recreation 25,985 1.28
Alliance 25,888 1.27 -6.47
Legalise Cannabis 12,987 0.64 -0.46
Mana Māori 4980 0.25 0.00
One New Zealand 1782 0.09 +0.03
NMP 274 0.01 -0.04
Minor parties, total 99,388 4.89

Party vote by electorate

Votes summary

Popular Vote
NZ First
United Future
Parliament seats
NZ First
United Future

Electorate results

Party affiliation of winning electorate candidates.

Of the 69 electorates in the 2002 election, a majority (45) were won by the Labour Party. The opposition National Party won 21 electorate seats. Labour dominated the urban areas, where it has traditionally been strongest, while National performed best in rural areas. However, Labour's strong position in this election led to National losing ground in a number of its traditional strongholds. The loss of Otago electorate, a rural area, was one notable example.

Labour also dominated in the seven Maori seats. National gained second place in only one Maori electorate, with Labour's main rivals being the Mana Maori Movement, the Greens, and the Alliance.

Of the minor parties, only three managed to win electorates, mostly due to the strong personal following of the incumbents. United Future leader Peter Dunne retained his strong support in the Wellington electorate of Ohariu-Belmont, while New Zealand First leader Winston Peters retained Tauranga. Progressive leader Jim Anderton retained the Christchurch seat of Wigram, which he had formerly held as leader of the Alliance.

The table below shows the results of the 2002 general election:


 Labour    National    NZ First    Green    United Future  
 Alliance    Progressive    Mana Māori    Independent  
Electorate results for the New Zealand general election, 2002[4]
Electorate Incumbent Winner Majority Runner up
Aoraki Jim Sutton 6,453 Wayne Marriott
Auckland Central Judith Tizard 5,205 Pansy Wong
Banks Peninsula Ruth Dyson 4,057 David Carter
Bay of Plenty Tony Ryall 5,597 Peter Brown
Christchurch Central Tim Barnett 10,353 Nicky Wagner
Christchurch East Lianne Dalziel 14,864 Stephen Johnston
Clevedon New electorate Judith Collins 3,127 Dave Hereora
Clutha-Southland Bill English Lesley Soper
Coromandel Jeanette Fitzsimons Sandra Goudie 5,958 Max Purnell
Dunedin North Pete Hodgson 10,637 Katherine Rich
Dunedin South David Benson-Pope Paul Foster-Bell
East Coast Janet Mackey Leanne Jensen-Daines
East Coast Bays New electorate Murray McCully 1,534 Hamish McCracken
Epsom Richard Worth Di Nash
Hamilton East Tony Steel Dianne Yates 614 Tony Steel
Hamilton West Martin Gallagher 5,574 Bob Simcock
Helensville New electorate John Key 1,705 Gary Russell
Hutt South Trevor Mallard Richard Townley
Ilam Gerry Brownlee 3,872 Richard Pole
Invercargill Mark Peck Eric Roy
Kaikoura Lynda Scott Brendon Burns
Mana Graham Kelly Winnie Laban Sue Wood
Mangere Taito Phillip Field Sylvia Taylor
Manukau East Ross Robertson Arthur Anae
Manurewa George Hawkins Enosa Auva'a
Maungakiekie Mark Gosche Belinda Vernon
Mount Albert Helen Clark 16,024 Raewyn Bhana
Mount Roskill Phil Goff Brent Trewheela
Napier Geoff Braybrooke Russell Fairbrother Anne Tolley
Nelson Nick Smith John Kennedy
New Lynn New electorate David Cunliffe Brendan Beach
New Plymouth Harry Duynhoven Geoff Horton
North Shore Wayne Mapp Helen Duncan
Northcote Ann Hartley Jeremy Sole
Northland John Carter Rachel Rose
Ohariu-Belmont Peter Dunne Gil Boddy-Greer
Otago Gavan Herlihy David Parker 694 Gavan Herlihy
Otaki Judy Keall Darren Hughes Nathan Guy
Pakuranga Maurice Williamson Michael Wood
Palmerston North Steve Maharey Dave Scott
Piako New electorate Lindsay Tisch Sue Moroney
Port Waikato Paul Hutchison Lesley Harry
Rakaia Jenny Shipley Brian Connell Tony Milne
Rangitikei Simon Power Margaret Hayward
Rimutaka Paul Swain Mike Leddy
Rodney Lockwood Smith Grant Duffy
Rongotai Annette King Glenda Hughes
Rotorua Steve Chadwick Malcolm Short
Tamaki Clem Simich 1,407 Leila Boyle
Taranaki-King Country Shane Ardern Judy Hawkins
Taupo Mark Burton Weston Kirton
Tauranga Winston Peters 10,742 Margaret Wilson
Te Atatu Chris Carter Tau Henare
Tukituki Rick Barker Craig Foss
Waimakariri Clayton Cosgrove Dan Gordon
Wairarapa Georgina Beyer Ian Buchanan
Waitakere Brian Neeson Lynne Pillay 2,333 Laila Harré
Wellington Central Marian Hobbs Mark Blumsky
West Coast-Tasman Damien O'Connor Barry Nicolle
Whanganui Jill Pettis Chester Borrows
Whangarei Phil Heatley David Shearer
Wigram Jim Anderton Jim Anderton Mike Mora
Māori electorates
Electorate Incumbent Winner Majority Runner-up
Ikaroa-Rāwhiti Parekura Horomia Glenis Philip-Barbara
Tainui New electorate Nanaia Mahuta Willie Jackson
Tāmaki Makaurau New electorate John Tamihere 9,444 Metiria Turei
Te Tai Hauāuru Tariana Turia Ken Mair
Te Tai Tokerau Dover Samuels Mere Mangu
Te Tai Tonga Mahara Okeroa Bill Karaitiana
Waiariki Mita Ririnui 6,707 Rihi Vercoe


  1. James, Colin (14 June 2011). "John Key, modest constitutional innovator". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 6 December 2011.
  2. The Baubles of Office: The New Zealand General Election of 2005 p87, edited by Stephen Levine & Nigel S Roberts (2007, Victoria University Press, Wellington) ISBN 978-0-86473-539-3
  3. Boston, Jonathan (2003). New Zealand Votes: The General Election of 2002. Wellington: Victoria University Press. p. 22. ISBN 0-86473-468-9. Retrieved 9 October 2014.
  4. "Official Count Results -- Electorate Status". Electoral Commission. Retrieved 26 August 2013.

List results

Highest polling party in each electorate.

MPs returned via party lists, and unsuccessful candidates, were as follows:[1][2]

Labour Michael Cullen
Jonathan Hunt1
Margaret Wilson
Graham Kelly1
Helen Duncan
Dave Hereora
Ashraf Choudhary
Unsuccessful: Moana Mackey2, Lesley Soper2, Carol Beaumont, Max Purnell, David Shearer, Gill Boddy-Greer, Brendon Burns, Louisa Wall, David Maka, Hamish McCracken, Eamon Daly, Lesley Harry, Brenda Lowe-Johnson, Steven Ching, Leila Boyle, John Cheesman, Richard Pole, Paul Gibson, Margaret Hayward, Di Nash, Denise Mackenzie, Judy Hawkins, Dinesh Tailor, Kath Peebles, Mike Mora, Yani Johanson, Nathan Saminathan, Ola Kamel, Jan Noonan, Maureen Waaka, Lyndsay Rackley, Wayne Hawker
National Roger Sowry
David Carter
Don Brash
Georgina Te Heuheu
Pansy Wong
Katherine Rich
Unsuccessful: Hekia Parata, Gavan Herlihy, Bob Simcock, Allan Peachey, Sue Wood, Guy Salmon, Alec Neill, Belinda Vernon, Anne Tolley, Eric Roy, Arthur Anae, Ian Buchanan, Greg White, Marie Hasler, Annabel Young, Eric Liu, Tau Henare, Chester Borrows, Nicky Wagner, Leanne Jensen-Daines, Tim Macindoe, Wayne Marriott, Dan Gordon, Jeremy Sole, George Ngatai, Dale Stephens, Craig Foss, Glenda Hughes, Dave Scott, Weston Kirton, Hamuera Mitchell, Enosa Auva'a, Sylvia Taylor, Barry Nicolle, Paul Foster, Mita Harris, Brent Trewheela, Raewyn Bhana, Bill Karaitiana, Geoff Horton, Rodney Williams, Alan Delamere, Peter O'Brien, Rod O'Beirne
New Zealand First Peter Brown
Brian Donnelly
Ron Mark
Doug Woolerton
Barbara Stewart
Pita Paraone
Craig McNair
Jim Peters
Dail Jones
Edwin Perry
Bill Gudgeon
Brent Catchpole
Unsuccessful: Rob Harris, Dawn Mullins, Brett Webster, Gordon Stewart, Fletcher Tabuteau, Bob Daw, Dave Mackie, John Riley, John Bryce Geary
ACT Richard Prebble
Rodney Hide
Muriel Newman
Stephen Franks
Donna Awatere Huata2
Deborah Coddington
Ken Shirley
Gerry Eckhoff
Heather Roy
Unsuccessful: Kenneth Wang1, Paul King, Owen Jennings, Penny Webster, Andrew Davies, Dick Quax, Nigel Mattison, David Edward Olsen, Willie James Martin, Mary Hackshaw, John Thompson, Lech Beltowski, Joanne Reeder, Nicholas Cairney, Bruce Williams, Gerald Trass, Andrew Jollands, Bryce Bevin, Ron Scott, Dianne Mulcock, Shirley Marshall, Juanita Angell, John Peters, Glen Snelgar, Matt Ball, Ray Bassett, Carl Beentjes, Michael Coote, Brian George Dawson, Dianne Dawson, Ted Erskine-Legget, Simon Anthony Ewing-Jarvie, Ted Howard, Elizabeth Hurley, Dorothy King, Chris Newman, Chris O'Brien, Julie Pepper, Peter Phiskie, John Riddell, Robin Roodt, Ian Sage, Greg Sneddon, Graham Douglas Steenson, Ian Swan, Peter Talbot-King, Anthony Watson, John Waugh, Roland Weber, Trevor West, Smilie Wood
Greens Jeanette Fitzsimons
Rod Donald
Sue Bradford
Nandor Tanczos
Sue Kedgley
Ian Ewen-Street
Keith Locke
Metiria Turei
Mike Ward
Unsuccessful: Catherine Delahunty, Roland Sapsford, Meriel Anne Watts, Jon Carapiet, Richard Davies, Celia Wade-Brown, Cathy Olsen, Russel Norman, Janine McVeagh, Steffan Browning, Dayle Belcher, Kei Clendon, Craig Potton, David Musgrave, Deborah Martin, Te Ruruanga Te Keeti, Steve Abel, Sarah Millington, Calvin Green, Caro Henckels, Fliss Butcher, Peter Berger, Hana Blackmore, Gareth Bodle, Paul Bruce, Craig Carson, Terry Creighton, Jan Davey, Paul de Spa, Pip Direen, Ian Douglas, Gaye Dyson, Jeanette Elley, Don Fairley, Nick Fisher, Jo Francis, Richard Green, Caroline Greig, Lois Griffiths, Perce Harpham, David Hill, Laurie Hoverd, Stephen Lee, Kate Lowe, Paul Lowe, Rachel Mackintosh, Mary McCammon, Margaret McKenzie, Olivia Mitchell, Matt Morris, Chris Norton-Brown, Fraser Palmer-Hesketh, Di Pennell, David Rose, Christiaan Briggs, Jane Williams
United Future Gordon Copeland
Bernie Ogilvy
Marc Alexander
Murray Smith
Larry Baldock
Judy Turner
Paul Adams
Unsuccessful: Kelly Chal*, Wayne Chapman, Andrew Kubala, Gray Eatwell, Bruce McGrail, Hassan Hosseini, Craig Hunt, Kevin Harper, Russell Judd, Anne Drake, Ian McInnes, Graham Butterworth, Andrea Deeth, Cindy Ruakere, Chris Bretton, Susanne Fellner, Jim Howard, Martyn Seddon, Tom Smithers, Ross Tizard, Grant Bowater, Steve Taylor, Graham Turner, Dave Fitness, Paul Duxbury, Richard Carter, Lee Edmonds, Stephen Russell, Sharee Adams, Lee Robertson, Rachel Smithers, Rob Moodie, Witana Murray, Frank Owen, Graeme Torckler, Denis Gilmore, Andrew Smith, Tony Bunting, Graeme Barr, James Te Kahupuku Hippolite, Mike Mitcalfe, Stephanie McEwin, Bruce Settle, Peter Collins, Todd Whitcombe, Joy Lietze, Gray Phillips, Chris Collier, Allan Smellie, Jesse O'Brien, Julee Smith-Mischeski, Vince Smith, Dennis Wells
Progressive Matt Robson
Unsuccessful: Grant Gillon, John Wright, Stephnie de Ruyter, Peter Campbell, Rosie Brown, Meng Ly, Susi Pa'o Williams, Jill Henry, Phil Clearwater, David Angus Wilson, Sue Elizabeth Wharewaka-Topia Watts, Pasene Tauialo-o-Lilimaiava, Nong Li, John Pemberton, Bruce Parr, Vivienne Shepherd, Trevor Lance Barnard, Russell Franklin, Annette Anderson, Adrian James Bayly, Victor Bradley, Lyndsay Brock, Robert Bryan, Christine Cheesman, Fleur Churton, David Culverhouse, Jamie Daly, Clare Dickson, Bob Fox, Russell Edwards, David Espin, Bill Henderson, Steven Charles Ihaia, Frede Jorgensen, Te Pare Joseph, Doreen Henderson, Toni Jowsey, Peter David Kane, C Kerr, John Kilbride, Martin Lawrence, Doug McCallum, Philippa Main, John Neill, Garry Oster, Ram Parkash, Dawn Patchett, Bob Peck, Jim Medland, Rob Shirley, Lynley Simmons, Heather Marion Smith, Arthur Toms, Gillian Dance, Hessel Van Wieren, Ross Weddell, Roger White, Barry Pulford
Christian Heritage Unsuccessful: Graham Capill, Merepeka Raukawa-Tait, Vic Pollard, Dick Holland, Vic Jarvis, Gerald Barker, Ken Munn, Roger Payne, Ruth Jarvis, Nick Barber, Gavin Denby, Chris Salt, Ian Cummings, Grant Bradfield, McGregor Simpson, Rod Harris, Margaret Burgess, Mike Ferguson, Matthew Flannagan, Madeline Jane Flannagan
Outdoor Recreation Unsuccessful: Lester Phelps, David O'Neill, Paul Check, Warren Sinclair, Henry Willems, Peter Ellery, Edwin Sylva, James Cook, Peter Gibbons, Michael Holmes, James Rudd, Harry Bimler
Alliance Unsuccessful: Laila Harré, Willie Jackson, Matt McCarten, Liz Gordon, Tricia Cutforth, Gerard Hehir, Vern Winitana, Rebecca Matthews, Mike Treen, Naida Glavish, Robert Reid, Jill Ovens, Sam Huggard, Janice Panoho-Smith, Vernon Iosefa Tile, Julie Fairey, Gavin MacLean, Carolyn Payne-Harker, Kamaka Manuel, Mary-Ellen O'Connor, Maxine Boag, Moira Lawler, Len Richards, Ravaani Ghaemmaghamy, John Tuwhakairiora Tibble, Anna McMartin, Anna Sutherland, Hayley Rawhiti, Joseph Randall, Sean Gourley, Peter Wheeler, Val McClimont, Margaret Jeune, Dion Martin, Paula Henderson, Brendon Lane, Peter Jamieson, Fiona McLaren, Solly Southwood, Michael Gilchrist, Paul Protheroe, Justin Wilson, Karl Bartleet, Richard Wallis, Simon Shields, Craig Willis, Helen Mackinlay, Robert Van Ruyssevelt
Legalise Cannabis Unsuccessful: Michael Appleby, Michael Britnell, Irinka Britnell, Dave Moore, Christine Mitchell, Jeanette Saxby, Paul John Michael McMullan, Judy Daniels, Judy Matangi, Paula Lambert, Sugra Morley, Peter Green
Mana Maori Unsuccessful: Angeline Greensill, Ken Mair, Glenis Philip-Barbara, Tame Iti, Jacqui Amohanga, Rihi Vercoe, Mere Takoko, Tanima Bernard, Colleen Skerrett-White, Piripi Haami, Ngahape Lomax, Sharon Pehi-Barlow
One New Zealand Unsuccessful: John Porter, Jim White, Alan McCulloch, Janet White, Richard Fisher, David Moat, Walter Christie, Gill Edwards, Peter Grove, John Bull
NMP Unsuccessful: Mark Atkin, Brett Kenneth Gifkins

*Chal was ranked fifth on the United Future list and was declared elected, serving as an MP for 17 days. However, it emerged that Chal was not actually eligible to stand for election, as she was not a New Zealand citizen. As a result, she was removed from the party list.

  1. These party list members later entered parliament in the term as other list MPs elected resigned from parliament.
  2. These party list members later resigned during the parliamentary term.

Summary of seat changes


Further reading

External links

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