1892 City of Wellington by-election

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City of Wellington by-election, 1892

← 1890 general 15 January 1892 (1892-01-15) 1893 general →
Turnout 75.50%
  William McLean.jpg Francis Bell 1914.jpg
Candidate William McLean Francis Bell
Party Liberal Conservative
Popular vote 3,388 3,245
Percentage 51.08% 48.92%

MP before election

Kennedy Macdonald

Elected MP

William McLean

The City of Wellington by-election of 1892 was a by-election held on 15 January 1892 during the 11th New Zealand Parliament in the urban seat of the City of Wellington.


The election was triggered due to the resignation of sitting Member Kennedy Macdonald amidst a bankruptcy claim.[1] The contest was won by William McLean of the Liberal Party. McLean narrowly beat the conservative Francis Bell by 3,388 votes to 3,245.[2]

The election was marred by a scandal over double voting. Over twenty cases of people casting votes more than once were discovered in a subsequent investigation.[3] In his congratulatory speech to McLean, Prime Minister John Ballance also made reference to the scandal, alleging that the Tory Party had brought in outsiders to vote who had long ceased to be residents in the electorate.[4]


The following table gives the election results:

1892 City of Wellington by-election[2][5]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal William McLean 3,388 51.08 +30.97
Conservative Francis Bell 3,245 48.92 +5.31
Majority 143 2.16 -1.32
Turnout 6,633 75.50 +15.49
Registered electors 8,786

McLean held the seat until the 1893 general election, when he was defeated.[6] Bell won a seat in Parliament for the Wellington electorate in 1893 and would go on to become Prime Minister more than three decades later.[7] Macdonald was cleared of his bankruptcy charges but was not re-elected in 1893. He was later appointed to the Legislative Council in 1903.[8]


  1. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 215.
  2. ^ a b "New Zealand". The Marlborough Express. XXVIII (17). 21 January 1892. p. 2. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  3. ^ "Dual Voting". Wairarapa Daily Times. XIII (4016). 19 January 1892. p. 2. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  4. ^ "Speech by the Premier". Auckland Star. XXIII (18). 22 January 1892. p. 4. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  5. ^ "Wellington City Election". Wanganui Herald. XXVI (7620). 16 January 1892. p. 2. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  6. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 217.
  7. ^ Gardner, William James. "Bell, Francis Henry Dillon". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
  8. ^ Alington, Margaret. "Macdonald, Thomas Kennedy". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 17 November 2012.


  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First published in 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.

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