1917 Hawkes Bay by-election

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1917 Hawkes Bay by-election

← 1914 general 8 March 1917 1919 general →
Turnout 4,858 (48.82%)
  John George Findlay.jpg No image.png
Candidate Sir John Findlay H. Ian Simpson
Party Liberal Liberal–Labour
Popular vote 2,635 2,164
Percentage 54.24 44.54

Member before election

Robert McNab

Elected Member

Sir John Findlay

The 1917 Hawkes Bay by-election was a by-election held in the eastern North Island electorate of Hawkes Bay during the 19th New Zealand Parliament, on 8 March 1917.

It was caused by the death of incumbent MP Robert McNab,[1] and was won by fellow party Liberal Party member Sir John Findlay with a majority of 471 votes.


Under the terms of the coalition agreement between Reform and the Liberals a condition was made not to oppose each other in by-elections for deceased or retiring MPs from their own parties. As the deceased MP for this electorate was a Liberal the Reform Party did not contest the seat, and endorsed the Liberal's official candidate as a sign of goodwill and wartime unity. The newly formed Labour Party chose not to stand a candidate, but there was rumour that former MP for Nelson, Harry Atmore was considering standing in "Labour" interests.[2] This did not eventuate.

Sir John Findlay was chosen by the Liberal Party to contest the seat, he was a former Legislative Councillor and served in Sir Joseph Ward's cabinet from 1906 to 1911 as Attorney-General and later as Minister of Justice.[3] Former Napier MP Alfred Fraser previously sought the Liberal nomination, however he retired from the contest,[2] yet 9 votes were still cast for him.

H. Ian Simpson also stood in support of the National Government and was Findlay's only real competition for the seat.[2]


The following table gives the election results:

1917 Hawkes Bay by-election[4]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Sir John Findlay 2,635 54.24
Liberal–Labour H. Ian Simpson 2,164 44.54
Liberal Alfred Fraser 9 0.18
Informal votes 50 1.02
Majority 471 9.69
Turnout 4,858 48.82
Registered electors 9,950

Findlay held the seat until the next general election and then retired.[3]


  1. ^ Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First published in 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.
  2. ^ a b c "Hawke's Bay Seat". Wanganui Herald. LI (15152). 22 February 1917. p. 5. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  3. ^ a b Hall, Geoffrey G. "Findlay, John George". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
  4. ^ "The Final Figures". Sun. IV (960). 9 March 1917. p. 11. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
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