Path: Table of Contents > Essay on Party Politics > Party 031
New Zealand National Party, 031
Variables and Codes for 1950-1962
For the concepts and variables below, use these links to Political Parties: A Cross-National Survey:
Governmental Status
Issue Orientation
Goal Orientation
Organizational Complexity
Organizational Power
Organizational Coherence
Membership Involvement
The "ac" code is for "adequacy-confidence"--a data quality measure ranging from 0 (low) to 9 (high)

Institutionalization Variables, 1.01-1.06
1.01 year of origin and 1.02 name changes
1935, AC9
0, AC9
There are three relevant events in the formation of the New Zealand National Party. One is the 1931 coalition between the United and Reform Parties, the second is the 1935 coalition in which the two parties that had maintained separate organizations adopted the name "National Political Federation" to contest an election, and the last occurred in 1936, when the National Party name was adopted with its formal organization. Utilizing the definition of "year in which the activists organized for the purpose of pursuing their goal," the year of 1935 seemed most precise. Citations exist for most years, and there is no indication of any name changes.
1.03 organizational discontinuity
0, AC5
After a thorough search of all relevant codes, it became apparent that the National Party experienced no organizational discontinuity of any significance between 1941 and 1962.
1.04 leadership competition
11, AC8
The leader of the parliamentary party is regarded as the effective leader of the party, although there is also a party president. During our time period, Holland was party leader (and prime minister) until 1957, when Holyoake took over as party leader (and leader of the opposition) upon Labour's victory in the election. McKenzie was president of the party throughout.
1.05 legislative instability
Instability is .06, AC8
The National Party's legislative representation produces considerable stability, ranging between 49 per cent in 1958 and 1959 and 62 percent in 1952 and 1953.
1.06 electoral instability
Instability is .07, AC9
Legislative elections were held in 1949, 1951, 1954, 1957, and 1960. The National Party's proportion of votes won ranged between 44 per cent in 1957 and 1960 and 54 per cent in 1951.

Governmental Status Variables, 2.01-2.07
 2.01 government discrimination
3 for 1950-56, AC6
3 for 1957-62, AC6
Electoral discrimination against minor parties is well documented with no disagreements. One source for each time period indicates that access to the mass media may be freer for the National Party. That point, however, is not well documented.
2.02 governmental leadership
7 out of 7 for 1950-56, AC9
3 out of 6 for 1957-62, AC9
Except for the three years between 1957 and 1960, the National Party was in power from 1949 to 1963. With the exception of the election in 1951, which occurred two years after the previous one, elections were held regularly every three years during our time period. There was good documentation and no discrepancies in our data collection.
2.03 cabinet participation
7 out of 7 for 1950-56, AC9
3 out of 6 for 1957-62, AC9
No source explicitly mentioned possible coalitions or single individuals from another party serving in cabinet, and our consultant reports that none occurred during our time period. Cabinets were chosen by the prime minister, and the years of cabinet participation were equal to the number of years the party held the government.
2.04 national participation
6 for 1950-56, AC8
6 for 1957-62, AC8
There is no discrepancy between the two coders with respect to the variable code. The National Party does have a national orientation in all areas of the country.
2.05 legislative strength
Strength is .59 for 1950-56, AC7 and .53 for 1957-62, AC9
The National Party's legislative representation produces considerable stability, ranging between 49 per cent in 1958 and 1959 and 62 percent in 1952 and 1953.
2.06 electoral strength
Strength is .49 for 1950-56, AC9 and .45 for 1957-62, AC9
Legislative elections were held in 1949, 1951, 1954, 1957, and 1960. The National Party's proportion of votes won ranged between 44 per cent in 1957 and 1960 and 54 per cent in 1951.

2.07 outside origin

4, AC8
The party was founded by some parliamentarians and former government officials of two rather major parties, the United and the Reform Parties. These two parties merged their organizations. This is documented by two sources.

Issue Orientation Variables, 5.01-5.15
 5.01 ownership of means of production
-2, AC8
Although the National Party policy advocated giving up most of the government means of production, it only sold two companies.
5.02 government role in economic planning
-1, AC8
The National Party policy has advocated reduction of controls in economic planning. However, it has taken no steps to eliminate them. Generally, the party has accepted controls introduced by Labour.
5.03 redistribution of wealth
-2, AC3
The National Party is traditionally conservative in matters regarding the distribution of wealth, for example, it abolished a 1/3 surtax on unearned income.
5.04 social welfare
-1, AC4
The National Party accepted the social security system as it existed and did not propose new benefits. However, it has not sought to repeal any of the existing social legislation.
5.05 secularization of society
-1, AC5
The National Party is benevolent toward religion. Polls in New Zealand have shown a direct relationship between religious affiliation and voting behavior. Some members of the National Party propose to give state aid to parochial schools. The National Party also promised to exempt donations to schools from taxes.
5.06 support of the military
1, AC5
There is very little mentioned about the armed forces in the literature. However, it was stated that the National Party is more concerned with national defense than is the Labour Party. There is much stress on the importance of New Zealand's commitment to the united nations, especially by the Labour Party which, like the Australian Labor Party, is probably more internationalist in outlook than its conservative counterpart or rival.
5.07 alignment with east-west blocs
-5, AC3
Politically, New Zealand and the National Party agree with the west and have accepted aid from the united states. The national government executed the Anzus Defense Agreement of 1951.
5.08 anti-colonialism
1, AC6
The National Party has not advocated any disruption of relations with great britain, but it has found a market in Japan as well as in England. It always supports England, in any matter.
5.09 supranational integration
0, AC3
The National Party believes in a strong United Nations obligation. It is stated that one of the objects of the party is "loyalty to and promotion of the commonwealth.". However, there was very little information in the literature on the party's attitude toward supranational integration in the pacific area. It supported the Colombo Plan, but that was essentially a technical assistance program.
5.10 national integration
1, AC5
The National Party is essentially nationalistic but accepts the distinctiveness of the maori subculture. The party allowed maori control of maori schools, and guaranteed maori representation in parliament.
5.11 electoral participation
5, AC9
Universal manhood suffrage was introduced in 1879, and women were enfranchised in 1893. The National Party has made no attempt to change this. The maoris were granted universal manhood suffrage even earlier, in 1867.
5.12 protection of civil rights
2, AC5
The maoris, who constitute between 5 and 10 percent of the New Zealand population, are the most likely targets of discrimination and thus most in need of government protection of civil rights. The National Party has lagged behind the Labour Party in formulating policies to combat discrimination, as in the area of housing. Moreover, the National Party supports restrictions on immigration of asians.
5.13 interference with civil liberties
-1 for 1950-56, AC6
-3 for 1956-62, AC3
The National Party declared an emergency in a 1951 dock strike, muzzled newspapers, and did not permit the labor leader to use facilities for speaking. Very little else could be found on this variable. There was virtually no mention made of control of the press. However, in 1960 the National Party did propose to make the television industry independent.
5.14 / 5.15 US--Soviet experts left-right ratings
U.S. says, 1, conservative.
Soviets say, 1, union of conservative, liberal, anti-labor elements. Serves interests of major bourgeoisie and wealthy farmers. Capitalist, anti-socialist, anti-communist.

Goal Orientation Variables, 6.01-6.55
 6.00 open competition in the electoral process
4, AC9
All information, and this variable is well documented, indicates that the National Party relies exclusively on open competition in the electoral process. There was no implication of the contrary.
6.10 restricting party competition
0, AC8
Nothing in the literature indicated that the National Party tried in any way to restrict party competition.
6.20 subverting the political system
0, AC8
There is no evidence that the National Party ever subverted the political process during our time period.
6.30 propagandizing ideas and program
6.31 1, AC5 the party operates some mass communications. The National Party attempts to operate a weekly paper, but the circulation is small. The government in power allocates radio time for election broadcasts.
6.32 0, AC9 there was no mention of any type of party schools.
6.33 2, AC8 one of the main functions of the National Party is the passing of resolutions and platforms. Policy formulation occurs continuously. The party leader announces the "fighting policy" of the party for elections.
6.34 2, AC9 the National Party is quite active in publishing position papers, and most campaign activities rely heavily on them. The official organ of the party is "Freedom."
6.50 providing for welfare of party members
6.51, 6.52, and 6.54 0, AC5 there was no mention of the National Party providing these social welfare services.
6.53 2, AC8 the literature states that one of the main tasks of the party president is to assist citizens in favors and advices. This appears to be a common practice.
6.55 1, AC5 the National Party has very active junior and womens organizations that provide a wide scope of social activities for its members. The party has also built a new headquarters building resembling a club, that has facilities for social activities.

Autonomy Variables, 7.01-7.05
 7.01 sources of funds
4 (sectors 02, 04), AC7
About half of the party's support comes from farmers and business and commercial interests.
7.02 source of members
5, AC8
Membership in the National Party is entirely direct. There are no provisions for membership through affiliated organizations.
7.03 sources of leaders
3 (sector 04), AC5
Between one third and two thirds of the the leaders come from business and commercial interests.
7.04 relations with domestic parties
7, AC6
During our time period, the National Party was the dominant party in a two party system and did not have to negotiate with the opposition labor party.
7.05 relations with foreign organizations
5, AC6
No mention is made of the National Party's membership in any international organization. It definitely did not belong to the liberal international, the most likely one.

Organizational Complexity Variables, 8.01-8.07
 8.01 structural articulation
10, AC7
There are four national organs which are powerful--the Annual Conference, the Caucus, the Dominion Council, and the Dominion Executive Council. The functions are overlapping.
8.02 intensiveness of organization
4, AC8
The smallest unit is the branch, which is also the most basic unit.
8.03 extensiveness of organization
5, AC8
The geographical coverage is far from complete. Membership is only forty percent of the voting strength of the party. There are over 1300 widely scattered branches, many of which are virtually inactive.
8.04 frequency of local meetings
3, AC8
The branches meet only once a year. However, the branch executive meets every three months.
8.05 frequency of national meetings
2, AC7
The dominion conference, which meets annually, was the only organization documented in the literature.
8.06 maintaining records
8, AC7
The National Party publishes propoganda, and maintains membership lists and a party archive.
8.07 pervasiveness of organization
11, AC7
There is some party penetration by ancillary organizations, for example the farmers and business groups. However, it is not strong enough to be very meaningful.

Organizational Power Variables, 9.01-9.08
 9.01 nationalization of structure
4, AC5
There is not a single peaked hierarchy of the national organs, for the parliamentary organization effectively challenges the leadership of the national executive.
9.02 selecting the national leader
4, AC8
The party president is selected by the party organization outside parliament, but the parliamentary party leader is the effective leader and he is selected by the parliamentary delegation.
9.03 selecting parliamentary candidates
4, AC7
Selections are made by a selections committee composed of delegates elected by branch general meetings.
9.04 allocating funds
2, AC5
All funds, whether collected locally (as most are) or by a higher level, are sent to dominion headquarters and are then distributed.
9.05 formulating policy
6, AC8
The parliamentary party organization remains in control of policy. Also the party leadership almost always dominates policy determination.
9.06 controlling communications
All the major daily newspapers in New Zealand are editorially in favor of the National Party, but there is no evidence of organizational direction and control of newspaper content.
9.07 administering discipline
3, AC5
The national parliamentary party organization controls discipline through parliamentary pressure for conformity. Discipline is effective because of the power of the top level administrators.
9.08 leadership concentration
6, AC7
The party leader is regarded as the authoritative spokesman of the party.

Coherence Variables, 10.01-10.06
 10.01 legislative cohesion
.95, AC5
The party is very highly disciplined and cohesive, but it does allow some free votes to its members.
10.02 ideological factionalism
3, AC6
At National Party conferences the right wing has stigmatized the center, whose proposals were seen as a sacrifice of principle.
10.03 issue factionalism
1, AC5
There is a remarkable lack of any relevant information. However, it was observed that some issue factionalism has occurred, but it is rather insignificant.
10.04 leadership factionalism
0, AC8
Since 1940 the National Party has had few leadership problems. The leader is elected by caucus.
10.05 strategic or tactical factionalism
No information.
10.06 party purges
0, AC5
There were no party purges.

Involvement Variables, 11.01-11.06
11.01 membership requirements
3, AC7
There is a regular annual membership fee, and presumably membership registration.
11.02 membership participation
1, AC4
There are really few active members of the party. One source mentions that some 3000 members existed at the 1960 election, however. In a 1962 by- election, the National Party mainly depended on the efforts of its local branch.
11.03 material incentives
0, AC5
The active members desire jobs in the parliament. However, reward is in the form of influence over party policy.
11.04 purposive incentives
1, AC5
Some of the militants do work because they want to see the party's philosophy enacted, especially anti-socialism. However, much of it is merely for social reasons.
11.05 doctrinism
0, AC5
There is a reference to a party constitution. However, none of the other literature indicates its existence, and there are no references to party doctrine.
11.06 personalism
0, AC5
Personalism does not seem to motivate any party militants.