Invercargill by-election, 1930

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Invercargill by-election, 1930

← 1928 general 13 August 1930 (1930-08-13) 1931 general →
  Vincent Ward James Hargest
Candidate Vincent Ward James Hargest
Party United Reform
Popular vote 5,194 4,623

Member before election

Joseph Ward

Elected Member

Vincent Ward

The 1930 Invercargill by-election was a by-election during the 23rd New Zealand Parliament in the Southland electorate of Invercargill. The by-election occurred following the death of Sir Joseph Ward on 8 July 1930. The by-election, which was held on 13 August, was won by the late Prime Minister's second son, Vincent Ward against James Hargest.


Sir Joseph Ward had suffered a defeat in the 1919 election, was ageing and often of poor health. It was generally expected that his political career was over. He attempted a comeback but suffered a humiliating defeat in the 1923 by-election in the Tauranga electorate. He managed to get re-elected in the Invercargill electorate in the 1925 election, when he had a "wafer-thin 159-vote victory" over James Hargest of the Reform Party.[1]

Sir Joseph contested the 1928 election as the new leader of the United Party[1] against the solicitor Stanley Morell Macalister (known as Morell Macalister), who stood for Reform.[2][3] Soon after the 1928 election, Sir Joseph became Prime Minister for the second time. Under pressure from party colleagues, he resigned as Prime Minister due to ill health in May 1930. Sir Joseph died less than two months later on 8 July.[1]


Over the last years, Vincent Ward had acted as a political assistant to his father.[1] He was nominated by the United Party in the resulting by-election, which was held on 13 August.[4] His selection was not supported by all, and some had preferred William Hinchey, a former Mayor of Bluff.[5][6]

Ward Jr. was opposed by James Hargest, who had been narrowly beaten by Ward Sr. in the 1925 general election.[7] Hargest was regarded as a capable candidate, and he dealt with being heckled in large meetings quite well.[5] Hargest claimed that as a director of a North Island company, Ward as an absentee could not effectively represent the Invercargill electorate. Hargest also appealed to Labour voters that he worked as hard as they did. He defended himself against the view that it should be Ward's right to succeed his father.[8]

Just before nominations closed, the independent candidate William Hinchey withdrew from the contest.[9] The local Labour Party branch apparently had decided on the Rev John Archer, at the time the Mayor of Christchurch, as their first choice. Second choice was W. C. Denham from Invercargill. Then, Tom O'Byrne was considered as a candidate. It is unclear why the decision was made not to stand a candidate.[10][11]

Election meetings were well attended. Hargest had over 2000 attendees at his last meeting in the town hall.[12]

Election results

Previous election

1928 general election: Invercargill[13]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
United Joseph Ward 7,309 63.89 +16.98
Reform Morell Macalister 4,131 36.11
Majority 3,178 27.78 +26.27
Informal votes 88 0.76 +0.25
Turnout 11,528

By-election results

Hargest was beaten in by Ward Jr., who had a majority of 571 votes (5.82%).[14]

Invercargill by-election, 1930[14]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
United Vincent Ward 5,194 52.91
Reform James Hargest 4,623 47.09
Majority 571 5.82
Informal votes 25 0.25 -0.51
Turnout 9,842 79.50 -13.62
Registered electors 12,380

Vincent Ward retired at the end of the term in 1931.[4] Hargest won the 1931 election in the Invercargill electorate and remained an MP until his death in 1944.[15] Ward was called to the Legislative Council in 1934 and served there until his death in 1946.[16]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Bassett, Michael. "Ward, Joseph George". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  2. ^ Johnston, Alexa M. "Molly Morell Macalister". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 23 April 2017. 
  3. ^ "Political Quips". Auckland Star. LIX (268). 12 November 1928. p. 11. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Wilson 1985, p. 244.
  5. ^ a b "Invercargill Seat". The Evening Post. CX (36). 11 August 1930. p. 10. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  6. ^ "Mr. W. Hinchey". The Evening Post. CXXI (115). 16 May 1936. p. 5. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  7. ^ "Amended Results". The Evening Post. CX (117). 13 November 1925. p. 6. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  8. ^ "Right to Stand". The Evening Post. CX (31). 5 August 1930. p. 10. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  9. ^ "Only two Candidates". Auckland Star. LXI (180). 1 August 1930. p. 9. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  10. ^ "Invercargill Seat". The Evening Post. CX (32). 6 August 1930. p. 9. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  11. ^ "Labour's Attitude". The Evening Post. CX (33). 7 August 1930. p. 10. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  12. ^ "Invercargill Seat". The Evening Post. CX (38). 13 August 1930. p. 13. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  13. ^ "General Election". The Evening Post. CVI (121). 27 November 1928. p. 14. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  14. ^ a b "Invercargill Seat". The Evening Post. CX (44). 20 August 1930. p. 10. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  15. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 203.
  16. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 166.


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